Writing up a Parents’ Guide for Game Pro Family today brought to mind my friends and colleagues on GeekDad. The game was Imagine: Teacher and while reviewing it I had enjoyed taking it through its paces with my kids. It had been a while since I had found a game that engaged my offspring whilst impressing me with its execution.
It’s also interesting to see how Ubisoft’s Imagine range are received by the parental public. Their early investment in the family gaming brand seems to be paying dividends already. With more titles out between now and the holidays, it’s a critical period for these titles.
Parents’ Guide to Imagine: Teacher
Ubisoft decided early on to support the DS’s casual market with some bespoke games. The Imagine series is for younger games, what their My Coach series is for teens. Imagine: Teacher is an education themed game in this series.
What Sort of Game is This?
Edu-gaming titles combine the fun of play with the self improvement of education. As recent research and educational approach in schools shows, these two bedfellows work very well together. Titles usually consist of a series of mini-tasks around a particular subject. Some games in this genre simply use the topic as a theme for its games, whilst others are more obviously education or coaching based.
They all track various stats from the player’s performance each day. This enables the game to provide feedback and advice about their progress or lack thereof.
What Does This Game Add to the Genre?
Imagine: Teacher wraps up its education credentials with some impressive proper game presentation. The selection screens and environments are all fully fleshed out – just as much as other purely fun focused titles. Whereas some other edu-games focus on a particular area of education, Imagine: Teachers provides activities in each part of the modern curriculum. This takes in not just the science
subject (as in other games) but also the arts.
What do People Play this Game To Experience?
Players will be attracted to being able to play teacher (rather than just the student). They can track the progress of pupil in their class, assign them work and sit them on particular seats in the classroom. This provides a novel distraction from the fact that the mini-games have the player performing each of the assigned teaching tasks themselves.
The teacher focus and great game visuals, sound and controls make this game much more fun than if it had turned out as a simple School Simulator – not what your average seven year old wants to play when they get home from a hard day in the classroom.
How Much Free Time is Required to Play It?
Lessons are divided into morning and afternoon sessions, and although you can jump in a play a single activity, the game intends for you to complete a morning or afternoon in a single sitting. Apart from this you are free to spend as much or as little time on the game as you like.
What Factors Impact on Suitability for Novice/Expert Young/Old Players?
Super Young gamers will find some of the games a little beyond them. Younger players not yet confident at reading will not be able to play a raft of activities that are word driven. There are however some excellent drawing and pottery activities that they will be able to play and should really enjoy.
Younger players who have a few years schooling under their belt are the most likely group to ‘get’ the game. The chance to play teacher combined with the variety of mini-games really makes for an attractive package.
Intermediate players, particular those who are older, will probably find the game aesthetic a little beneath them. While fun for while as a curiosity it won’t be long before they hand it onto younger siblings or offspring – particularly if they are caught playing it in public.
Expert players are unlikely to get very much out of this title, and should probably opt for one of the many adult education games – such as Nintendo’s own Brain Training series for their edu-gaming kicks.