Bushbuck Charms, Viking Ships & Dodo Eggs

Article excerpt

Bushbuck Charms, Viking Ships & Dodo Eggs is a geography scavenger hunt in which players search the world for artifacts typical of various cultures or regions. Players are given a number of "airline tickets" and a list of obscure items such as an obi or a platypus egg. All told, the program has 400 different items to find. Players travel among 206 cities in 175 countries in search of these items, and bring them back to the city where their travels began.

Players track their progress on regional maps. At each stop, the screen displays background information about the location. Hints about the location of various artifacts also appear on the screen occasionally.

Players cannot simply travel anywhere they choose; for each move they must choose from among half a dozen hops to other nearby cities. Travel to some cities may be temporarily disrupted by storms. Players receive points for each item they collect, for clues found, and for unused tickets. A game is over when all items are located, or when players run out of tickets.

The game offers three levels of play. At the higher levels, players get fewer travel tickets and fewer hints.

Strengths

* Student testers loved the fact that Bushbuck allows them to play against one another. (Another plus: Turns are short, so neither player becomes bored while waiting.) It's also possible to play independently or against the computer.

* The graphics are excellent. On-screen world and regional maps are very clear.

* The game includes an extensive list of cities from virtually all the world's nations, and a bit of exposition about each country's history, culture, and traditions.

* With the help of labels that pop up on the screen and the large-print maps that accompany the program, students quickly learn to recognize many of the countries on the unlabeled on-screen maps. …