Friday, February 4, 2011

TOS Review - Dig It Games Roman Town

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We have been talking a lot about dinosaurs and paleontologists lately. We've discussed fossils and how carefully you must excavate a site. So, I was excited to be chosen to review a computer game, Roman Town from Dig It Games. Roman Town is obviously not about dinosaurs, but it was a perfect way to expand their understanding of archaeology. Their familiarity with digging up fossils prepared them for a move into human archaeology.


Roman Town is not a difficult game to master and any child can successfully complete the game, although non-readers will definitely need help. Maggie, FRitW, and I played it all the way through. I, of course, did it purely for um, research- yes, that's it, research. ~grin~ Ok, so I had a little fun too and only had to ask Maggie for help once or twice. We all learned something. I learned what an impluvium was, that families often had garbage mosaics or frescoes (I can't remember which right now!) and that a 'Beware of Dog' mosaic in the Fauces (entryway) was to help discourage thieves.

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The game is fun and was played extensively in our house. I liked that it was not an overwhelming, fast computer game, but more of a puzzle, think about it type of game. There are six levels to explore and each reveals a room of a typical Roman home. The player assigns diggers to work at various spots of a dig site and waits for a green speech bubble to appear (this means your digger found something). A click on the bubble takes you to a screen of dirt. Your mouse pointer becomes a trowel with which you must uncover the artifact hidden in the dirt. Once uncovered the object is identified - usually by one of the two Roman children that once lived in the home. The player can choose to L.E.A.R.N. (Locate Engrossing And Remarkable kNowledge) more about the object or return to digging. We really enjoyed reading on to L.E.A.R.N. more.


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The descriptions were not just mere descriptions, for example, when you find an amphora you are told that it is a specially shaped jar with two handles and a foot on the bottom, but you also discover exactly what fluids would have been stored inside and what materials the amphora would have been made of. The word amphora is explained too - amphi means 'on both sides' in Greek.

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This is an interesting and fun part of the game, but I, ahem, the kids really liked the other part of the game. Once all of the artifacts in the dig site are uncovered, it is time to go to the lab. In the lab players must sort all of the artifacts into crates - pottery in one, glass in another, metal in a third, fresco pieces in crate number 4 - etc. Once sorted, you can play a number of games each level. We enjoyed piecing together the pottery, mosaics, and frescos most of all. Thank goodness no pieces were missing - it must be so much harder for a real archaeologist! Other games included finding objects that didn't belong - I'm thankful for Maggie's sharp eyes on this one - many modern things were included in a picture of a Roman home and I struggled to find all of them. She also excelled at the memory game - the player looks at a picture then objects are removed and have to be replaced in the correct spot.

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The lab also included a tour of the room you excavated and a final lab report with words missing. The missing words are at the bottom and needed to be put in the right blank. Once the report was complete a new room was unlocked for play.

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We really enjoyed playing this game and found it appealed to all ages. Although several descriptions will be repeated in each game, that just further cements the knowledge for the player. The artifacts change from room to room and game to game. The same item, like an mortar and pestle might be found in several rooms, as long as it is a room it would be used in.

To keep the game interesting and encourage the player to complete all six levels, there is a bit of a mystery presented. The purpose of the archaeology trip is to determine what happened in the Roman town that caused it to be deserted and not rebuilt. I won't solve the mystery for you though - you'll have to finish the game yourself.

The only thing about the game that was an issue for me, was that there was no sound. Someone had to read every comment to the little boys and while that is not too big a deal since there was someone sitting with them anyway, I'm pretty sure our southern accents did not do justice to the pronunciation of Impluvium or Amphorae! I would love to see this game have sound added.

Roman Town is offered by Dig-It Games and priced at $39.95, BUT use coupon code TOS2011 to receive the game for just $19.96! Snap this up quickly because the coupon is only good until February 21, 2011.

See what other TOS Crew members thought about Roman Town by clicking here.

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1 comment:

Lisa said...

I was not on this review but really enjoyed reading what you thought of it!