Magazine article Technology & Learning

Headline Harry and the Great Paper Race

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Headline Harry and the Great Paper Race

Article excerpt

Hardware: MS-DOS computers (512K and CGA or better graphics for 16-color version, 640K and MCGA or VGA graphics for 256-color version); hard drive with four megabytes of available space required; supports (but does not require) Adlib, Soundblaster, Tandy and PS/1 sound devices. Emphasis: Geography, history, problem-solving. Grade level: 5 and up. Publisher: Davidson & Associates, PO Box 2961, Torrance, CA 90509; (800) 545-7677. Package includes:3.5- and 5.25-inch disks, manual. Price: $49.95, 16-color version; $59.95 256-color version.

Headline Harry is an engrossing game in which students investigate U.S. historical and cultural events form the past 40 years. Players take the role of a reporter for the U.S. Daily Star, competing against an unscrupulous reporter from the Diabolical Daily, in an effort to get the scoop on a particular news story. Headline Harry is obviously modeled on the Carmen Sandiego series, and compares very favorably to it. The game offers 12 different stories of varying difficulty to choose from, covering events such as Watergate, the first Apollo moon landing, the victory of the U.S. Olympic Hockey team, and the Beatles' first U.S. television appearance.

Students track down clues to their story by traveling the U.S. from city to city, picking up information (presented as text on screen) from interviews, tape recordings, radio broadcasts, reference books, and telephone calls. They search this information for the facts needed to write their story-the who, what, where, and when, as well as a list of specific key words-recording relevant information in their on-screen notebook. After they've gathered a complete set of facts, players file the story to win the game.

Completing a game is not that simple however. Snippets of information from three different stories are intermingled among the clues, so players must first decide which story is the right one to pursue and then read carefully to determine which is used up when they travel and search out clues, and also when they make mistakes. Occasionally, they can regain some time by correctly answering historical or geographical challenge questions that pop up on the screen, or by finding objects on the screen that the competing Diabolical Daily reporters have lost. The game can take an hour or more to complete, but players can save an unfinished game and return to it later. …

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