The Field Museum exhibits ‘Sue’, the largest and most complete T-Rex fossil ever found. They look to extend Sue’s footprint beyond the walls of the museum, beyond Chicago. To do so, they must bring these bones to life. The museum is particularly eager to reach very young children, so they want to avoid written text and complex language.
Young players can explore the lifestyles of a dozen species of dinosaurs – in forest, swamp, ocean and air. The focus is not on memorizing difficult Latin names, but on appreciating the living animals and their adaptations to each habitat. The game mechanics are designed to encourage youngsters to begin to think analytically and to make strategic trade-offs.
The players must cross the forest, mountain, swamp, seaside cliff in board-game style. They take discrete steps along a marked path. The path includes several shortcuts that allow particular species to cut ahead. For example, a mud-pit shortcut can be traversed only by the paddle-footed Lambeosaurus. A nimble Troodon can scamper across a log bridge.The player knows the best dinosaur to play for each part of the journey, but must earn this dinosaur in a competitive tile-matching mini-game that has very simple rules but big opportunities for strategic play.
The reception to the game was mixed. It was designed to be an appealing challenge to pre-school children and it was tested exclusively with this age group We forgot that children do not buy games or write reviews. Adults who expected museum-like treatment of dinosaur facts, or a didactic game were disappointed and missed all the depth. On the other hand, children, and adults who were sensitive to them, tend to love the game.