Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island

Common Sense Media says

Learn about birds by solving a fun mystery.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

You spend all of your time helping others so that they will provide you with clues about your missing grandfather.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a game that is violence-free. It teaches kids about birds and their environments by having them solve a mystery that requires them to photograph birds using the computer mouse as the camera's shutter. The mystery involves a missing grandfather, which could be upsetting to kids who are close to their own grandparents. This is a game all family members will enjoy, regardless of whether they are bird-lovers or not.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Science

  • animals

Social Studies

  • geography

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Self-Direction

  • self-reflection
  • achieving goals
  • effort

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Snapshot Adventures caters to a specific niche (bird watchers, photographers, and casual gamers) but appeals to that niche perfectly. Graphics are a little dated, but the audio - a blend of realistic bird calls - is wonderful.

Learning Approach

Players can easily transfer the skills they've learned about bird watching and photography to the real world. Kid can also design and share their own bird species.

 

Support

Kids receive photography tips, detailed feedback about their photographs, and extra praise for particularly good shots.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Science

  • animals

Social Studies

  • geography

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Self-Direction

  • self-reflection
  • achieving goals
  • effort

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Kids can learn to identity 100 species of birds and their habitats, and hone basic photography skills in this casually-paced bird watching sim. Players will need to follow directions carefully to take superb photos and satisfy specific criteria, such as "photograph 3 red cardinals in flight." Kids can also create their own bird species. Snapshot Adventures encourages kids to develop their powers of observation as they learn about 100 species of birds and how to take great photos of them.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

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Kids say

What's it about?

Computer games have the unique ability to take us places we could otherwise not go. They can combine disparate elements into an intriguing gaming experience. With SNAPSHOT ADVENTURES: SECRET OF BIRD ISLAND, kids will photograph over 100 species of wild birds while traveling the country and solving a mystery. The setup is that your grandfather, a famous naturalist and bird photographer, has mysteriously disappeared leaving you his camera, his half-empty field journal, and a map of his most recent travels. As you retrace his steps and meet many of the people he worked with, you will travel to the 50 locations around America. At each location, you are asked to take pictures of birds in exchange for information about your grandfather.

Your cursor becomes your camera viewer as you scroll through the on-screen environments looking for birds. You take a photo by clicking your left mouse-button. Each of your grandfather's cohorts teaches you something new about photographing birds. For example, Colonel Perkins explains how the game uses a point system to grade photos, based on the size of the bird in the frame, centering, orientation, if there are extra birds in the photo, and whether the bird is doing something like singing, preening, flying or eating. The point system translates to a 5-star evaluation system that is applied to each photo at the end of your photo shoots. If you do well taking photos for others, they reward you with helpful equipment like a zoom lens.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This game is fun as well as being educational. It was developed in conjunction with the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the repository of the world's largest bird sound collection. The game features over 100 realistic-looking and -sounding birds found in 50 different locations, including forests, urban environments, deserts, swamps, oceans, and lakes. The characters you meet are entertaining, informative, and weave a good story. They discuss environmental issues that affect birds. The story requires you to think logically when planning a photo shoot.

Another great feature of this game is the user-generated content. After you finish an assignment and review the photos that you have taken, you can choose to send those photos to a friend via email. You can also create your own custom bird to release into the "wilds" of the Internet, and download fantasy birds created by other people to appear within your game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether, after playing this game, they noticed more birds in their environment. Did this game turn you into a bird-lover? What was your favorite bird to photograph?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:$20
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:iWin
Release date:May 3, 2007
Genre:Edutainment
ESRB rating:E for (Windows)

This review of Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 8 years old May 12, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

its educational

its fun
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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