Christmas Countdown/ Advent of Archaeology/ Archaeology Advent Calendar Day 5 – Another look at “Archaeology” games on the Google Play Store

So here we are at day 5, and it is never a good sign when you are browsing a list of games and see you see the title ‘Dinosaurs for kids: Archaeologist – Jurassic Life’ and ‘Archaeologist – Dinosaur Games’. Both by MagisterApp who made ‘Archaeologist – Ancient Egypt’ the subject of Christmas Countdown Day 1.

Now I do not meant to keep on going on about this, so I am going to deal with both of these in one article so you can have a break from me complaining. But I am going to link this is Countdown Day 3 which was all about Inspirations, as this is an important related point.

So, let’s get started with Dinosaurs for kids: Archaeologist – Jurassic Life

Now apart from the the obvious mistake in the title, what else is wrong with it? What’s were going for? Who was in charge of making this game, it just appears to be a bunch of popular buzz words that children might pick up on. Which is a good marketing strategy I guess, but adds no clarity about what the game is.

Now, the game is very much in the same style as Archaeologist – Ancient Egypt, with some of the exact same issues too. Now there is less gameplay involved in the main part of the game, you not excavate, put back together, and find out about what you have just excavated. There is no cleaning of bones etc… And there are still no tutorials! Now, something I forgot to mention in my previous review, that is also present in this and the other game I will be reviewing in this article, that they do give hints on where to excavate by slightly changing the colour or texture of the soil/earth. Only ever so slightly however, and they do throw in a few false trails.

Ok, so what does it do well? It had good and varied information on finds, easy to read and has visual icons for size, dirt, geographical location etc… But that is about it. This is really not a tool for learning about the processArchaeologistes and why they are important and just another way of transmitting information about dinosaurs. Oh, the graphics, sprites and animations are nice (I am putting as much effort into describing them as the designers did in thinking of a name, although thinking about it now it probably took a depressingly long time and several meetings for them to come up with that!).

Now it does claim to teach you to be an ‘archaeologist’, but what it does claim is also equally as absurd. It’s main claim is that it is suitable for babies, toddlers, children an adults. It is not, certainly not the main game. The controls would be too fiddly for anyone under 5 I would say. Now there is puzzle and colouring section that might be more suitable, but if so then make that main focus of the game if you are aiming in at very young age range. But I would also doubt that it would be suitable for that age range.

Very much like Archaeologist – Ancient Egypt you play the first four levels, to play the 5 you have to provide a rating, to continue beyond that you have to pay £2.69. But in the case of this I would not pay for the rest of the levels.

And you do not even get to excavate a TREX in the free levels.

Now, onto the other game. Archaeologist – Dinosaur games, now if you thought the last title, this one changes twice. On the start up screen it changes its name to Archaeologist Ice Age and once it had loaded to the home screen it changes its names again to Archaeologist Paeolontology Mission Ha! They do know what Palaeontology is, so why don’t they use it!?!?

Now I do not have much to add in terms of review than I do for the others. But there is one thing that it sets it apart. It has audio description of finds and animations! Now this I like, this makes it more accessible for younger children, assuming they can figure out how the game works. Still no tutorials…

This still has the same free first four levels as the other two games, and although I would not pay for it, this is the one i would recommend for children.

I still feel these two need some name changes, figuring out what kind of identity they have, and they are certainly not suitable for that age range suggested (not many mobile apps are), but if tutoralised more of the game, added more information about why it is important to carefully excavate and clean finds, what remains can tell us, it would make a good educational games for Key Stage 1 and 2.

So, do check out the games for yourself if you want. Do not let my ramblings dissuade you ;).

I plan to continue to hunt down a d review games on archaeology to find that best. I do plan to continue my Let’s Plays of C14 too.

If you have found games that you have enjoyed then please share in the comments.

Games have a great ability to inspire us, which is important for archaeology to have inspiring, entertaining games with just enough fact not to take make it too boring. And we don’t do Dinosaurs!


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