Community reviews for The Underground Railroad: In the Ohio River Valley

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Underground Railroad basics with factual info interspersed

The Underground Railroad in the Ohio River Valley is an online game that provides a strong, basic introductory story for students who already possess some foundational knowledge about slavery. The game includes mentions of actual participants in the Underground Railroad and provides their historical backgrounds, which was the most fascinating part of the game. The most informative and educational components were the introduction and conclusion to the game, but there is no way to ensure that students are actually completing these portions. The Underground Railroad in the Ohio River Valley requires "Unity" video player, which takes some time to install on multiple student computers; I had seventeen students installing it simultaneously, and it took at least fifteen minutes. Once the player is installed, the game is minimally engaging and takes about twenty minutes to complete. The graphics are primitive and do not offer a full screen option. The object of the game is for the player, who has assumed the role of a runaway slave, to make it to Canada and freedom. Players must look out for their own safety through experiences such as crossing rivers or venturing into towns where they may be captured. The game provides players with a graphic of the county through which they pass, but there is no large view map, so players have no perspective on where they are geographically or how far they have traveled. Overall, the game, which is reminiscent of the original Oregon Trail, is informative for students with a basic working knowledge of slavery and can be completed within one class period, but the graphics are less than impressive and students may have a hard time staying engaged.
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