In-Depth Game Reviews: Mathblaster

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

When I was working on my PhD (2003-2008), I found it very hard to find any decent reviews of educational games. There are plenty of reasons for this, including:

  1. Teachers aren’t, for the most part, gamers and so really have no idea what makes a good game.
  2. The culture of Education does not foster critical reviews, only accolades. As a result, even bad games often get good reviews.
  3. Most educational game reviews are focused on the technicalities of using the game (how easy is it to install, and the like) and really don’t say much about the game or the gameplay.
  4. Reviews rarely mention what is possible (perhaps because the reviewers aren’t trained in tech and so don’t actually know what’s possible).

I am not a hard-core gamer, but I DO play digital games; I DO know technology; I DO know about design (having designed and built many different things from clothing, jewelry, and buildings to programs, websites and instruction); I DO know about teaching; and I ALSO know Education.

I’m also not afraid to say what I think.

So, I will add reviews as I find time (unless someone wants to pay me for this, in which case I might be convinced to do more). The focus is on things that claim to be educational, and this includes games AND simulations, because ALL GAMES ARE SIMULATIONS.

These are not your typical reviews. They are in-depth and look at the game’s design as well as its educational aspects. These are not efficacy or validity studies and these are also not studies that interview, question, or observe people using these games. My unique background and extensive experience in both technology and education give me a distinctive perspective. These reviews examine and analyze the games themselves as independent educational objects using several different approaches.

You will find the first review on my Serious Games Pathfinder. I did that game that so many in the games industry love to hate, and so many teachers say is great….

Math Blaster

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