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Jump Start and Math Blaster Review by Christine HindleBritany Winkle
Over the years, we have bought various Jump Start programs for our preschool and elementary aged children, with which we had a ton of fun! So, of course, I was very excited to have the opportunity to review the online Jump Start and Math Blaster games.
My excitement was dimmed when I got into the games and tried to play them. I could not make head or tail of how to get around, and I couldn't even find anything remotely educational in the Jump Start game. I knew that our 6-year-old would be just as lost as I was, so I called in the big guns. First, I asked my 13-year-old granddaughter to play. She plays computer role-playing games all the time, but she was just as stumped as I was, trying to find anything educational or even remotely amusing to do. It was difficult to navigate. So I asked my son-in-law to check it out. He is a major gamer and even beta tests new games that come out. He was of much the same opinion I was. He said it was too difficult to navigate, and while there were parts that his daughter would enjoy, she would never be able to get to them. He and I both felt that there was too much magic involved in the entire game, and that there was too much interaction with other people. I am not too keen on the idea of social interaction for a young child on a game - what better place for a pedophile to make contact that in a forum like this?
To me, this is a childlike version of an adult video game, and more oriented to older people even though it has cutesy, childlike graphics. I would like a much simpler, easier-to-navigate format, with much less "fluff" and easier access to the learning games, if they are actually in there somewhere.
Math Blaster had my hopes up too, but again I could not navigate through all the "fluff" to get to the actual math. Since I am pretty computer literate and not a complete dolt, the only conclusion I can come to is that most children will not be able to get to the math either.
I was prepared to love these two online forums, and wanted my granddaughter to enjoy them also, but I really cannot. I am very disappointed that all the good learning opportunities I had expected seem to be lost in the quagmire of the gaming, which is much too sophisticated for young children anyway.