What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that PowerUp is a free, downloadable game that allows players to connect online and work with others to restore power to a world that became desolate after it ran out of fossil fuels. The game is marketed as an educational product and encourages teachers and schools to allow students to play it in class, but kids can also explore it at home. It provides an interactive experience to teach the impact of relying exclusively on expendable resources, and explains how to use natural energy sources to prevent those negative impacts from occurring. Players are tasked with finding fuel sources and exploring the environment, all of which is accompanied by text book-like dialogue about energy efficiency.
What's it about?
POWERUP tells players the story of a planet similar to Earth in which the residents, despite at one point trying to develop a renewable energy system, exhausted the entire planet's source of fossil fuels, resulting in a bleak, desolate environment that can only be saved by introducing solar, wind, and water power. Players achieve this by engaging in mini-games and tasks, and interacting with other players to discuss the best way to lay out new cities. It's largely focused on the online aspect, though unlike many online games, PowerUp has restricted chats that block out profanity, and because it is used in educational environments, it's meant to be a learning experience rather than encouraging any sort of trash talk or overly competitive spirit.
Is it any good?
PowerUp is a good educational game. The gameplay mechanics and missions are relatively bland, but the vast amount of information about the history of energy usage is peppered throughout the game to provide a genuine educational message to players in a fun and interactive way. Most "fun" games are not very educational, and most "educational" games are not very fun. It's usually very easy to tell the difference between the two, but this title does a commendable job at trying to deliver a strong, informative message within a game that doesn't feel like an "educational game."
Online interaction: This downloadable game allows players to connect online and interact with others in a non-threatening environment. In fact, according to the information on the game's official website, professional engineers may log on from time to time and engage players about different energy sources and how the game can be used to better understand their impacts on the environment.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how this game brings to life the lessons learned in school. What have you learned in school about the difference between fossil fuels and renewable resources?
How does playing online help you better understand the game's message?
What do you think would happen to Earth if we didn't invest in renewable energy?