A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about what Cheyenne culture was like in the late 1800s, as well as the relationships Native Americans had with white settlers and the U.S. government at the time. Players will experience tribal life, trading, and migration -- and they'll need to make difficult choices about how best to help the tribe. They'll discover how the choices they make shape their futures and that sometimes there may be a situation without a right answer. They also can see that historical issues often have many points of view. Kids can learn some key vocabulary words and practice their ability both to ask questions and absorb what they're reading. This isn't the most traditional game experience, but it's a great supplementary tool for classroom lessons. As kids relive history in Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey, they'll find plenty of critical-thinking opportunities, decisions to be made, and moral dilemmas to solve.
Kids receive badges for making brave, wise, generous choices, but otherwise the game stays relatively neutral. Kids are expected to make tough choices (including violent options) that may not reflect the types of decisions they'd make in their own lives.
Positive Role Models
Your character has friends and family members who are supportive and generous with their time, but many other characters behave in less positive ways, just like in real life.
Ease of Play
Simple play mechanics; mainly consists of "follow your own adventure" multiple choice decisions.
Violence & Scariness
Kids can use guns and arrows against other people and destroy or steal others' property. Discussion of acts such as burning down teepees and raiding. People die, but there's nothing graphic shown on-screen. Kids don't pull any triggers. They make choices about how a character will act. The website includes suggestions on discussing the game's violence with kids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey is a first-person adventure that asks kids to take on the role of a young Cheyenne boy in the late 1800s as he grows to adulthood. This game-ified learning experience is intended to be used as part of an integrated curriculum on Native American culture (resources are provided on the publisher's website), not necessarily as a stand-alone experience. Although not visually explicit, the scenarios are true to the time period and involve some violence, including the use of guns and arrows; death by war, starvation, and other means; and raids and attacks. Kids will have to make decisions that would be morally questionable by today's standards, and some kids may find the content to be upsetting. They will be challenged to put themselves in the character's shoes as he attempts to survive and help his people. They can earn "badges" for generosity, bravery, wisdom, and impulsiveness. These aren't rewards so much as representations of personality traits within the experience. The game itself doesn't choose sides, but, because of the perspective, kids may understandably feel most sympathetic toward the main character. Parents also should know that the game presents another cultural way of life, including a different religion. As an example, the adventure begins with a telling of the Cheyenne creation story.
Is It Any Good?
Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey compellingly brings to life many of the challenges and choices that faced the Cheyenne people in the late 1800s. Life wasn't easy, and that's reflected in the game's scenarios. This is a way for kids to understand the perspective of Native Americans as they fought to retain their way of life. Also, the game presents a clear point of view that isn't always captured in the classroom. Since each decision affects the character, the player has a personal and meaningful experience. It's a great starting point for dialogue and a chance for kids to do a lot of critical thinking.
The experience can go even deeper as you replay with different choices. Since your decisions result in different "badges," or personality traits, they can subtly or radically change Little Fox's fate. Kids can experience how each choice they make can affect Little Fox's life, a lesson that's valuable even beyond the constraints of the activity. Although "fun" isn't the right word to describe the simulation, it's certainly engaging in a way that typical history lessons aren't. This means that kids will connect more deeply with the subject matter and gain a greater understanding of the challenges of the time. Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey also offers a complete set of teacher materials, including activities, historical context, vocabulary, and primary sources, which make it useful for school and after-school programs as well.
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Our Editors Recommend
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