Common Sense Review
Updated October 2012

Gazillionaire!

Financial literacy sim can teach life lessons but is showing its age
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 2
  • Players take out loans that must be paid back with interest in a certain number of turns.
  • Players can add and disable features like payroll, taxes, insurance, and fuel to scale the game's difficulty level up or down.
  • Players make decisions about how to respond to random encounters and offers. Some are profitable, and some can hurt the business.
  • Players use charts to determine which goods to buy and where to sell them for the highest profits.
Pros
Comprehensive coverage of entrepreneurship, fiscal responsibility, and math skills.
Cons
The graphics and sound are outdated, and there's no teacher dashboard for monitoring student performance.
Bottom Line
This in-depth business sim has educational gameplay wrapped in basic production values.
Erin Bell
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

The graphics and sound are dated, but the game has a lot of depth and detail that could engage high achievers.

 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Entrepreneurship, fiscal responsibility, and management get taught in-depth, but there's too much piled on too quickly. Gritty kids who stick with it should be able to transfer learning to the real world.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

There are tutorials, but they're not ramped as well as they could be. Players can monitor progress with charts and graphs. The developer's website links to teacher worksheets.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers could use this excellent simulation to introduce and corroborate the themes of fiscal responsibility and business management, life skills that are easily coached with this game. It's engaging and competitive enough for all ages -- you might get sucked in yourself. Players must weigh risks and think ahead to win.

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What's It Like?

We knew the super-rich were out there, but the in-depth business sim Gazillionaire! is actually set in outer space. The goal is to pilot a trade ship through space, buying and selling goods at a high profit, and you win by achieving a certain level of wealth. Kids play against other computer-controlled characters who become their "competition," using the mouse to control the menu-driven game. Increasing complexity challenges them to juggle paying taxes, hiring a crew, advertising, and investing in the stock market. Much of the game is spent studying charts and graphs and applying that information to make profitable business decisions.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Kids will be engaged enough to apply the information they learn to make good business decisions -- and that's teaching them how to succeed. Gazillionaire! starts off simply and gradually introduces more complex concepts. An excellent tutorial introduces new features. Kids can opt out of individual concepts if they seem too difficult, allowing the game to accommodate players from about Grade 3 to adult. Feedback praises good decisions, calls out bad ones, and offers advice on how to avoid the same mistakes again. One of the game's unique features allows up to six real players to team up and play in a single game via email, taking turns one at a time. Almost everything about Gazillionaire! is customizable, with five levels and the ability to adjust complexity via a sliding scale.

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