Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: Roman Town (by Dig-It! Games)

When my son was younger, he used to love those kit with a block of dried earthtone clay that contained buried treasure inside.  He would chip away with the little tools included in the kit and be in pure archaeological heaven.  Oh the mess those things made, though!  If we weren't careful, there dust and dirt ended up everywhere.  And while those kits were a ton of fun, I'm not sure he learned a whole lot other than Mom gets a little bent if he dumps a tray of clay particles on the floor.

Do you have a budding archaeologist? Combine that love with technology for a fun (and clean) learning experience about archaeology and Roman life with Roman Town.

Roman Town by Dig-It! Games and founded by a professional archaeologist and teacher, is an archaeological simulation game that combines the thrill of "treasure hunting" with real information about ancient Roman life.

Features include:

• Engaging hands-on, interactive learning
• Game-play develops analytical thinking
• Puzzles teach problem solving strategies
• Authentic artifacts and realistic excavation site
• Accurate information about Roman Life
and Roman History
• Encompasses the full excavation experience
from start to finish
• Archaeology introduced logically

The system requirements are:

• Windows Vista/XP/2000
• CPU 800 Mhz; RAM 412MB; Hard Drive 350MB

Seeing the game in action is probably better than any description I can provide. Please view the video below to get an idea of how all the features of the game work.

My son quickly became addicted to this game.  Knowing it has educational value, he didn't hesitate to suggest that he play the game for school, often instead of something dreaded - like writing!  The interactive nature and ability to discover artifacts was appealing and I liked that he was learning quite a bit about Roman culture. The game isn't limited to just learning about a culture, though, and approaches the topic through "hands-on" activities, analysis, problem solving, reading comprehension and vocabulary.

My son liked the "digging" for artifacts the best, along with the puzzles.  He also said that he learned quite a bit about Roman culture through the activities.  One thing I liked was the knowledge tests or journals, which required the user to fill in the blank with the appropriate word.  My son said they made him think.

 Users work through various levels and come to a point where the game is "completed".  However, new artifacts to be uncovered each time the game is played again keeps repeat plays from being too repetitious.  In addition, up to five different players can play and save their games.  Even so, I'm not sure this is a game that my son would play over and over once all the levels are completed.  I do see him being excited about a continuation of Roman Town.  Coincidentally, Dig-It! Games is currently in the early stages of developing additional Volumes 2 and 3. 

Dig-It! suggests the game for ages 8-88. While my 6th grader enjoyed the game, my 8th grader really wasn't interested when she saw her brother play.  I'm not sure if that is a reflection of the level of the game, her indifference to most computer games, or the fact that she already knows more Roman culture than most her age.  Regardless, I think mid-elementary to early middle school students with an interest in archeology will find Roman Town engaging.  If you don't have a strong reader, keep in mind that the user needs to read the material on the screen; it does not read it to you. 

Overall, I thought Roman Town was a great combination of fun and learning.  My son had a ton of enthusiasm for the game and diligently worked through the various levels.  I think Roman Town would be a perfect compliment to early Latin study or to supplement related history topics.

Winner of the National Parenting Center's 2010 Seal of Approval and Dr. Toy's Best Vacation Products, Roman Town is regularly priced at $39.95 for a CD version.  However, using coupon code TOS2011, Roman Town is just $19.96 - a significant savings!  The coupon code is only valid through February 21, 2011, so act now if you'd like to get in on the special pricing for TOS Crew readers. You will not find this offer advertised on the Dig-It! Games website.

Read what other reviewers had to say about Roman Town by visiting the official TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I have received no other compensation.

I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.


alecat said...

Nice review, Heidi! :)

I like that you included the video clip. It really helps us get a 'feel' for the product.

It's also nice to see postage is extremely reasonable to overseas countries (esp. for us Australians, lol!!)

TerriG said...

Heidi: You just gave me a flashback! My boys have made many messes doing those kits. Another reason to love Dig-It!