Saturday, December 20, 2014

The History Channel's app, FRONTIER HEROES

Did you know that the History Channel has a "Planet H" that is creating apps? Just released yesterday (December 19, 2014) is Frontier Heroes. Don't buy it. It is supposed to be educational material developed in a game format. The description says:

Frontier Heroes tests your smarts, skills, and reflexes as you work your way through an illustrated version of American history, from pre-Colonial days through the California Gold Rush. Complete era-specific challenges to unlock more exciting adventures, and collect “Did You Knows” to learn mind-blowing facts about the ol’ US of A.


Experience what it was like to be alive during Early American times, the Colonial Period, the American Revolution, life on the Frontier and during The Gold Rush. You’ll get a rush from completing each level and seeing how the challenges and rewards led to the amazing country America is today.

There's a video that shows you the game. Here's the welcome page:


The first stop on this path? "Early America." See the Indian girl? She might be waving at you, but based on what the rest of the Early America game and graphics look like, my guess is that the developers think they are showing her in that classic (not) way that Indians say hello: "How!" Oh yeah... Indian flute music plays in the background for the page. Here's the graphic:




In the first game (with the skull) you're supposed to throw a tomahawk at a target, and then a buffalo skull, and then a large bowl, and then a pumpkin. There's tipis in the background. The first target is the only one that kind-of makes sense. The others? Nope. Realistically speaking, why would you want to destroy those items?!

In the second one (top row, middle), you stand on a hollow log and shoot a bow and arrow across a chasm. Why? Maybe because few things say "Indian" as much as a bow and arrow.

In the third one, you "play" a "war drum" by striking your mallet on the drum according to the sequence of dots that scroll across the screen. That music is goofy, too, by the way and sounds nothing like any Native drum I've ever heard. A flute pops in here and there, as does some war whooping.

As you play these games, you might get lucky and earn a D.Y.K. (which stands for DID YOU KNOW). In the drum one, the D.Y.K. says "Native Americans believe the drum carries the heartbeat of Mother Earth." For some Native Nations, maybe, but all? I don't think so.

In the fourth one, you use the string of your bow to rotate a stick as fast as you can so that you can start a fire before the timer runs out. If you don't get the logs blazing, you'll see this picture, 'cept you (as that Indian girl) will be shivering:



Logically speaking, WHERE IS HER OUTER CLOTHING? Maybe there's a storyline about how she got captured by an enemy tribe or some white trappers, but that she got away and is trying to get back to her people. That's snark, by the way...   And---the D.Y.K. for this game? "Native Americans used smoke signals to communicate over long distances." Who ARE the people writing this stuff? They ought to be fired. They are hitting all the stereotypes!

If you don't get the fire started before time is up, you'll see this:



Missing an apostrophe there, H-Planet!

There's one more game in this "Early America" part of the game. Your task is to get kernels off a cob of corn and grind them up to make cornmeal.

Let's pause for a word about that phrase, "Early America." It isn't accurate to call pre-colonial times "Early America." Each Native Nation had its own name for its homelands. America was not one of the names any of them used.

As noted in the description above, there are several other time periods in this game but I'm not going to look at them. What I've seen is enough for me to say...

Do not waste your money
on H-Planet's Frontier Heroes. 


1 comment:

Gabriele Bianchetti said...

"Native Americans believe the drum carries the heartbeat of Mother Earth."
Hmm...
It seems like the usual New Age-ish garbage to me.
Native religions are far deeper than this ridiculous text says.