Title: Reading Blaster, ages 9-12
Overall Rating: B
Source: Knowledge Adventure, Distributed by GreatSource Education Group
Playing Time: 1 hour
Software Release Date: 2002
Cost: $ 12.95 Surplus CD-Rom Family Software
Operating System: Windows 95 or 98-Compatible sound card
Number of Players: 1
Special Equipment/Facilities Needed: CD-ROM
Subject Area: Reading Comprehension
Objectives: To improve grammar, reading for comprehension, and problem solving skills.
Brief Description: Reading Blaster is a mystery game where the player must make decisions on how to solve a total of seven unique mysteries. The player takes on the role of Rave and explores Dr. Dabbles mansion for clues and hints on how to solve the problems by choosing different clues. After the player solves the mystery they are rewarded with a scary story.
Entry Capabilities Required: Reading ability on a third grade level. The player would also have to have basic computer skills.
Relevance to objectives: (3) The game involves the player to read messages of text and understand them in order to make the correct decision.
Provides practice of relevant skills: (4) The game provides practice of sentence structure, parts of speech, grammar, definitions, synonyms and antonyms, reading for detail, drawing conclusions, and using context clues.
Likely to arouse/maintain interest: (3) I found the game to be boring at times. It got predictable on what the outcomes would be by the choices I made. It had excellent sound effects and graphics.
Likely to be comprehended clearly: (4) Reading Blaster was very easy to understand for all ages or reading ability it pertained to.
Technical quality (durable, attractive): (4) Great animation, very colorful and full of energy. It downloaded pretty easily with only a few steps to follow. A relatively easy game to play.
Game: Winning dependent on player actions (rather than chance): (4) The player has to solve the clue in order to win. It takes chance by repeating the choices until the correct answer is chosen.
Simulation: Validity of game model (realistic, accurate depiction): (3) I felt it was not real enough for this age group. The characters and setting were in animated or cartoon style. I asked several 9 and 10 year olds what they thought. “It wasn’t scary at all!”, says Carrigan Lamb-ABGC member, age 9.
Evidence of effectiveness (e.g. field-test results): 4
Clear directions for play: 5
Effectiveness of debriefing: (1)This game offered no feedback to the player at the end of the mystery or game. The player doesn’t receive any debriefing on the stories plot or explanations on their right and wrong answers except to look back on the story tips page.
Strong Points: Reading for detail and comprehension. The game offered a list of top books for each grade level. The player can also click and find explanations on text or the the game. The
Weak Points: It offered no debriefing to the player.
Reviewer: Gabe Hinkley
Position: Education Coordinator
Date Reviewed: 6-7-04
Computer System Reviewed on: Dell Pentium 4, IBM Windows 2000