If your kids like exploring ruins and ancient Mayan culture, I think they'd love MayaQuest. However, if your kids would rather play computer games instead of digging into the collapse of the ancient Mayan civilization, then don't read any farther!
MayaQuest is highly educational and would fit perfectly into a social studies (history, geography and culture) curriculum in school. It contains a wealth of information including ancient Mayan facts and over 1,500 photos and video clips from the actual world-record holding 3,224 mile MayaQuest bicycle expedition. This virtual field trip lets kids explore seven different archeological sites while they study messages from experts.
Kids start their adventures at a high-tech headquarters, which was confusing to efficiently navigate due to lack of instructions or help options. To leave for one of the sites, click the flashing red elevator button (the elevator is located in the middle of the room). A multi-functional helmet doubles as a camera, maps, e-mail system,and compass. The object of the game is to find as many clues, solve tasks and ride rugged bike paths before an impending natural disaster hits the land so that you can solve the mystery of the collapse of the Mayan culture.
My software testers, Stefanie (11) and Justin (13) were only interested in the virtual bicycle expedition. Wonderful graphics with 3-D renderings simulate what it is like to steer a bicycle through the harsh, insect-infested rainforests and dusty ruins of Central America. The goal is to uncover clues along the journey to solve the mysterious collapse of the Mayan civilization.
Steering the bike with the cursor, you can move towards the top of the screen to make the bike go faster, or move to the bottom of the screen to go slower. By putting the bike on autopilot (select Biking from the Options menu), the bike moves slower ("way boring" according to the kids) without the risk of accidents (running off the road, colliding with a rock, etc.). I think the kids enjoyed deliberately running off the road and crashing the bike. Of course, once you crash the bike, it will cost you money or time (virtual, of course). The kids didn't seem to mind.
I enjoyed the Bookshelves section, where you can click on journals of each of the original MayaQuest members. You can read journal entries and leaf through the pages of photos of the actual MayaQuest bicycle expedition and hear haunting musical melodies in the background.
If your kids are doing a report on ancient Mayan civilization, be sure to check out the Multimedia Resource Tool in MayaQuest. Here, you'll find five different sections including artifacts, site media, topic overviews, sounds and movies and photos with captions. The artifacts section was my favorite. I clicked on photos and text of dozens of ancient artifacts and tools.
The biggest question in my mind about MayaQuest is replayability. Will kids play this game more than once for entertainment?
Studing the ancient Mayan civilization and its collapse, you go on a virtual field trip of ancient ruins as captured on film by the world-record holding MayaQuest bicycle team. As interactive trip progresses you gain more information about Mayan warfare, natural disasters, Mayan math, Mayan astronomy, and connections to other ancient civilizations. English and Spanish content allows to learn the language.
People who downloaded MayaQuest: The Mystery Trail have also downloaded:
Yukon Trail, The, Oregon Trail Deluxe, Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time, Amazon Trail 3rd Edition: Rainforest Adventures, Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego CD-ROM, Africa Trail, Amazon Trail, The, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego CD-ROM
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