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Cisco Mind Share Review

posted in Reviews
by on December 30th, 2010 tags: , , , ,


Intro Screen

“We worked with the best serious game developers, educators and technical experts to produce a game that is not only fun, but will help you learn.” – Jerry Bush, Mind Share Game Project Lead, Cisco

When I had the opportunity to review CiscoPress’ new Cisco Mind Share game, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been a frequent visitor of the Cisco Arcade for quite some time, enjoying their free flash-based interactive networking games. The Cisco Arcade has been a much loved and well known area of education games throughout the Internet for several years so it’s no wonder that the Cisco Mind Share game has been in the “Game Spotlight” on their site for over a year.

CiscoPress finally released its full-fledged version of the Cisco Mind Share game in mid 2009 satisfying a lot of heightened attention and eager Cisco fans, myself included. I’ve had the great luxury of playing through this game several times and feel that the it’s a fine example of balance between constructive creativity, technical subject matter, and pure entertainment. Though this game is aimed specifically at teaching the core ICND1 curriculum (CCO), it offers is refreshing take on the fundamentals of networking regardless of your current skill level. CisoPress has recently announced they are offering their newly popular Cisco Mind Share game as a bundle with one of their most popular ICND1 study guides allowing those to study for the ICND1 exam alongside the game. Good thinking CisoPress!

The core of the Cisco Mind Share game features 15 chapters totaling 75 exciting stages of game play designed to put the pressure on and keep you moving through the game and prepare for hot seat inside the exam room! A full fledged drag and drop masterpiece of time management and quick thinking.

The game is narrated by 2 embedded hosts, Bob Harris & Susan Robertson. With their game show host personalities and witty nature these two take you through the introduction of each of the 15 chapters with a brief explanation of the martial you’ll be learning during each challenge. The game takes roughly 3-4 hours to complete depending on how focused you are on answering the questions and not overly focused on scoring extra points. The feel of the game is cross between Space Invaders, and a futuristic game show with an alien backdrop. The developers did a nice job on the eye candy.

Though the central focus on the game is educational, a close second is definitely the intricate scoring system.  The 3 game modes (easy, medium and hard) share the same questions throughout the game, the differences between modes is how the scoring is calculated.  The faster you are the better you score.  That amount of question boxes there are to answer (QBOX) in and how many Digibugs there are to kill depend on which level you’re playing.  The game gives you a liberal amount of Zappers, Bombs and Shields and little treats in the answer stream helping you keep the Digibugs off your back.  The game does a good job of keeping your mind sharp, introduces some basic strategy and is generally a pretty solid multitasking environment.

At the end of each of the 75 stages, your awarded points are tallied up along with any bonus points you have accumulated and tallied into your accumulating score. The first chapter covers everything you need to know to play the game as well as the complex scoring system.

While playing thought the game I noticed there are sections in the game where I feel these extra frills take away from the game and add to much emphasis on points than allowing an individual to focus on learning the skills intended. There are times where there are just way too many distractions, needless bonus points, or bad answers in the stream that need to recycle just to find a correct answer, especially if you’re playing the game as a learning tool and not focusing on how many points you can get in each round. I do wish there was a simplified game mode to turn off all the extra distraction and just leave the technical subject matter. 

Conclusion

All in all I think CiscoPress has made a nice game that will grab the attention of future CCENT candidates for years to come. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for future upcoming version of their successful Cisco Mind Share Game franchise! Possibly an ICND2 ?? Let’s hope so!

Screenshots

Score ExplenationEnd StageBugs

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