Guest Blogger: Kerum Kendall
(Kerum Kendall is a freshman at Clayton State University majoring in Information Sciences. He loves history and has spent year trying to get his history teachers to use video games in class. His ultimate goal is to design education games for use in Social Studies classrooms. He shares reviews with the Histocrats and on his own site.)
Title: Mission Three: A Cheyenne Odyssey
Platform: Online, Apple iPad, Android
Role: The player plays as Little Fox, a 14-year old Northern Cheyenne in what is modern day Montana in the year 1866.
Time Period: 19th century
Context of the Game: American Civil War is at an end and attentions formally given to the war are now looking to the west. A huge influx of settlers is heading west to start a new life, following the new railroads that are starting to cut across the content. New dreams, hopes, and ambitions are on everyone’s minds all except the Native Americans. The tribes of the Great Plains; the Cheyenne, the Lakota, the Crow, and many other tribes are worried about this influx of foreigners on their homelands. Some want to fight them, others want to seek peace but they all are worried about their future as the buffalo herds start to disappear and more settlers settle on their lands.
Goal of the Game: The goal of the game is to try and survive in the American West as a Cheyenne boy. There are many endings and multiple choices relating to family, the tribe, and everyday life that you have to make. Once you make a choice it is permanent and it will affect the rest of the game.
Neat Features of Game: The game is an interactive story that will have you on your toes all the time.
The game is separated into parts, each one different from the last. In part one you spend a day as a child in a Cheyenne village, getting an introduction into the world of the Plains Indians. In part two, you are sent to trade at a nearby fort and learn about the complicated relationship between the Native Americans and the white settlers and so on. Each part immerses the player in events, issues, and the growing conflict in the west between these two very different groups. One part of the game even sets you as a leader of a band of Cheyenne and you have to try to provide for your tribe for two years awhile dealing with nature, other tribes, and the “white man”. There is also a badge system where you increase your skills in a certain area through your actions in the game making continued gameplay fun and interesting. With the multiple choices that can be made, the badges that can be earned, and the multiple endings make playing the game always unique and interesting.
What You Learn: You learn about many components of Cheyenne life and culture such as counting coo, life around hunting buffalo, and the importance of tribe and family. You also learn about how the west is changing because of the mass movement of settlers and how the Native Americans had to adapt to this changing world. Players also learn about important events such as the singing the Treaty of Fort Laramie, the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Little Bighorn), and the Cheyenne exodus from reservations in Oklahoma. Players also learn about important people of the time including Chief Dull Knife and Chief Little Wolf.
How You Know Students Have Played: The game comes with a learning plan for teachers or for parents at home. The plan has it of where the students must have played the game to be able to do the activity. The plan is separated into parts, just like the game, and each lesson is associated with one of the parts from the game. The lessons are designed for game play and less in class. Students play the game in class and then take part in a lesson and discussion afterwards along with primary resources. The plans are on the same website that the game is on and is accompanied by instructions to help teachers plan out their lessons in relation to the game.*
Overall: The game is well-developed and provides players with a fun and educational interaction that immerses the player into the time period and is a very helpful tool that can be used to full effect in the classroom.
Sponsors: Mission Four: A Cheyenne Odyssey is a Mission US game and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is sponsored by National Council for the Social Studies, the American Library Association, and the American Association of School Librarians. A Cheyenne Odyssey is specifically sponsored by Chief Dull Knife College, a community based, land grant, and tribally controlled community college on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. The college provides culturally influenced education through quality life-long learning opportunities for local Northern Cheyenne.
*You must register to MissionUS before you can play the game. It is free.