Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Genius:  TheTech Tycoon Game

Genius: TheTech Tycoon Game

Spring 2006 Software
Ages: 10 & Up
Publisher: Viva Media
Price: $29.99
Platform: windows 98/2000/XP
In the game, the user is a young entrepreneur who becomes a partner with the owner of a small bicycle shop business in the year 1850. By capitalizing on opportunities, you try to expand the business and grow it into a multinational technology firm. You must plan your facilities, invest money and resources wisely, and stay on the leading edge of technology. If you do not keep up in this industrial revolution you go bankrupt and fail.

Both problem solving and logical thinking skills are huge necessities in this game. You must correctly answer a series of physics challenges to generate capital, solve business problems, establish a customer base, and improve employee morale. Logical thinking is critical to planning and sequencing construction, expanding the business, and properly managing resources.

A wealth of physics instructional material is presented in the form of subscription technical journals and correspondence with distinguished scientists from around the globe. Knowledge areas include engineering, thermodyamics, optics, electricity, and astronomy. The ability to apply these concepts to real-life situations and solve problems is the key to success in the game. But even if physics is your thing, you may still fail at the game if you do not have good business sense including how to improve employee morale, productivity, and profits.

Another skill area not immediately obvious is the need for careful urban planning. The business is initially very small, but as it grows there must be space for manufacturing, housing, research, fire departments, schools, roads, rail access, etc. Increased levels of difficulty in the game focus more on the planning aspects rather than problem solving.

Because the DVD covers advancements in science and technology during the industrial revolution, there is certainly a lot of history covered here as well.

This game is more of the “learn as you go” type. Although a narrator explains the basics and helps a bit with navigation, you must figure out the best approach and details yourself. In addition, during play there are six characters that speak to you and direct your attention to areas of concern. The jewel case insert instructions provide very little assistance.

The game is appropriate for children with an interest in science and in the recommended age range. This software may be a challenge for children on the lower end of that range.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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