Christmas Countdown 1 – Phone apps and games!

So recently I have been looking through the Google play store and I thought to myself “Hey! I wonder if there are any Archaeology (or maybe some museum) games”.

I was very pleased to see so many, but the closer I looked the more I despaired… Now, I will say this, there are some useful apps out there for Archaeology, but I will not delve into them here (I will save that for a different blog).

There was the usual issue with people confusing archaeology and palaeontology, how many times does it have to be said, we do not do dinosaurs! But even when you find one that does not confuse archaeology with paleontology, I fell that most are sending out the wrong kind of message, especially the ones aimed at kids.

There are a lot of games out there that portray archaeology as the stereotypical/ Hollywood Indiana Jones/Laura Croft explorer, adventurer, treasure hunter figure. Whilst in principal there is not anything wrong with this, after all these ideas have inspired many to get into the field (For me it was the Rugrats parody of Indiana Jones, but hey!), but we can we also not get past that? There are too many games that focus on monetary side of things – Including some of the muse games that I found.

But then there was a glimmer of hope, as I was searching through the game listings (looking for my own treasure of a ‘real’ archaeology game) I found one that looked promising – Archaeologist Ancient Egypt by Magister App Educational Games for Kids (with Archaeology spelt the British way!). The screen shots looked encouraging, as did some of the reviews (there were a few about how the developers later charge for the game, but I won’t get too much into that just here). It was advertised as a free game, but you have to pay £1.99 after the first five levels.

Here is the info from the Google Play Store –

So I decided to download it, and play the free levels to see what it is like. To see if we do have a good ‘archaeology’ game, and the answer is… Almost! Now before I go any further, I would just like to say that I am not saying it is not a good game, on the contrary I think it is a good game (for the most part, there are a few issues and I will touch on those later).

The different levels:

So why almost? Well it has the components of a good archaeology game, it does what it says in the description above. You do excavate(ish), you do clean, you do reconstruct (it just had to use the word treasure. Grr…).

Here are some screenshots of each step:

Step 1 – Excavating the site

Step 2 – Locate the hidden room

Step 3 – Excavate the artifact

Step 4 – Clean the artifact (Brush, Scalpel/mini trowel, Air/water spray).

Step 5 – Reconstruct the artifact

Step 6 – Learn about the artifact

So the steps are ok, although some may cringe at the the cleaning methods. But for me it falls down in one important detail, and that is detail. The app does not address the issue of what an archaeologist is, what they do, how they find sites, how they set up an excavation, how they dig, why they clean they way they do, how things are reconstructed and what happens afterwards. And I know what you are going to say “Hey, wait a minute Coffee Break Archaeology, did you not say this was a kids game? What were you expecting, it is game and you got to keep it interesting”, to which my response would be “I know! And that is not my real name…”. I am not expecting it to be a simulator (I have one of those), but it basically gives no information about Archaeology! The only information it gives is on Ancient Egypt. Which is fine, but it it claims to be an educational game and s game about archaeology. I expected a little bit more!

However, I played all five of the free levels and payed £1.99 for the rest of the game. Do it must be doing sonething right, especially since archaeologist do not like paying anything. The graphics are nice and colourful, the character/sprites are cute and run away if you hit them with the pickaxe/mattock. The sound effects are ok, could get annoying after a while, but my major gripe with the game is that it tells you nothing! Does not tell you what to do, you sort of have to figure it out for yourself. Kids may find this difficult, took me a while to figure out. A little tutorial would be nice…

Would I recommend it? Short answer yes, long answer ummmm… Maybe, if you like s bright colourful game and to learn a little bit more about Ancient Egypt, but if you don’t then this is probably not the game for you.

So, what are your experiences with archaeology apps and games? Please let me know in the comments :D. Especially since I have only looked at the Google Play Store, I do not know what other mobile pp shops might offer.

If someone wants to make my Christmas, make a good Archaeology game :D.

So this was the first in my ‘Countdown to Christmas’ articles. I have made a commitment to posting something new and original each day. An Archaeology advent calendar if you will.

It it will not always be on here so please checkout my other social media channels:

Facebook: Coffee Break Archaeology

Twitter: Coffee_Arch

Instagram: CoffeBreakArchaeology

YouTube: Coffee Break Archaeology

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