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Ubisoft decided early on to support the DS's casual market with some bespoke games. The Imagine series is for younger games, what their My Coach series is for teens. Imagine: Teacher is an education themed game in this series.
Edu-gaming titles combine the fun of play with the self improvement of education. As recent research and educational approach in schools shows, these two bedfellows work very well together. Titles usually consist of a series of mini-tasks around a particular subject. Some games in this genre simply use the topic as a theme for its games, whilst others are more obviously education or coaching based.
They all track various stats from the player's performance each day. This enables the game to provide feedback and advice about their progress or lack thereof.
Imagine: Teacher wraps up its education credentials with some impressive proper game presentation. The selection screens and environments are all fully fleshed out - just as much as other purely fun focused titles. Whereas some other edu-games focus on a particular area of education, Imagine: Teachers provides activities in each part of the modern curriculum. This takes in not just the science subject (as in other games) but also the arts.
Players will be attracted to being able to play teacher (rather than just the student). They can track the progress of pupil in their class, assign them work and sit them on particular seats in the classroom. This provides a novel distraction from the fact that the mini-games have the player performing each of the assigned teaching tasks themselves.
The teacher focus and great game visuals, sound and controls make this game much more fun than if it had turned out as a simple School Simulator - not what your average seven year old wants to play when they get home from a hard day in the classroom.
Lessons are divided into morning and afternoon sessions, and although you can jump in a play a single activity, the game intends for you to complete a morning or afternoon in a single sitting. Apart from this you are free to spend as much or as little time on the game as you like.
Super Young gamers will find some of the games a little beyond them. Younger players not yet confident at reading will not be able to play a raft of activities that are word driven. There are however some excellent drawing and pottery activities that they will be able to play and should really enjoy.
Younger players who have a few years schooling under their belt are the most likely group to 'get' the game. The chance to play teacher combined with the variety of mini-games really makes for an attractive package.
Intermediate players, particular those who are older, will probably find the game aesthetic a little beneath them. While fun for while as a curiosity it won't be long before they hand it onto younger siblings or offspring - particularly if they are caught playing it in public.
Expert players are unlikely to get very much out of this title, and should probably opt for one of the many adult education games - such as Nintendo's own Brain Training series for their edu-gaming kicks.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: