Dinosaur Discovery last edited by deathwombat on 05/15/18 06:34AM View full history

Dinosaur Discovery is an Australian educational game intended for use in the classroom. Aim of the program (taken directly from the manual):

Dinosaur Discovery is a problem-solving and experiential learning activity that requires a number of reading skills to be applied to a game.

The player/s are tasked with finding the ways and means of hatching a dinosaur's egg. The game is designed so that children should eventually be able to solve it through their own experimentation and the manual advises that teachers not to provide specific help as it would hamper the experiential learning. The player's only resources are a print-out of the diary left by the scientist who made the original discovery, an information log for the player to write notes in and some blank map grids. Without the diary, the game is practically impossible to beat as it contains what is effectively a lookup table that the player will need to reference in order to complete certain tasks. As this was designed to be used in a classroom, included with the game was a teacher's manual which would list the educational aims for each screen of the game as well as extension activities that could be used to reinforce concepts in the game such as 'having children construct and exchange crossword', 'make a three-dimensional model of the mine as an art or craft activity' and 'students develop a flowchart/algorithm to solve any maze'. Also included were master copies of the blank maps, certificates and a screen print master.

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The game consists of a number of screens that range from text adventure prompts with simple graphics, word puzzles, a series of different styled mazes and simple overworld maps. Many of the puzzles and solutions are randomised each time a new game is started. Therefore, memorisation can only get the players so far on repeat playthroughs. However, most answers to the word problems are taken from locations and objects key to gameplay i.e. 'MUSEUM', 'FOREST', 'TORCH', etc.

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The player starts in a shed containing 6 typical adventure game items and the option to pick up individual items or leave the shed. The player can only hold one item at a time, although one of the items is a bag which itself can hold 4 items. This means the player always has to leave at least 1 item behind while they explore the world. To exit shed the player must complete a word puzzle. Upon completing the puzzle, the player finds themself at an almost entirely blank world map and has the typical adventure game options of 'East, South, West, Into the Shed'.

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At this point the player is free to navigate the world. Progress is gated by requiring the player to have certain items in certain areas i.e. needing the axe to go through the forest or the torch to go through the caves. The key information the player needs to find is the requirements for hatching the dinosaur, the date, a navigational chart and combination for laboratory. Once the player has all the information and items they need to cross the sea to the island where laboratory is, they can set off at the right time and hope to sail the ship without crashing into rocks and attempt to hatch the egg.

Upon completion of the game, the teacher would reward the student a completion certificate and possibly a t-shirt.

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