Art Museums and Games: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Shipwreck

The next museum in the series is the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I have to admit, I did not think the Met even offered games, either digitally or in the gallery.  Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that the Met is not the stodgy institution it used to be, especially compared to the tech savvy Museum of Modern Art.  But alas, the Met does offer digital games on its website!  The one that seemed most appealing was Shipwreck: An Ancient Sea Trade Game.  The premise of the game is that you are shipwrecked and in order to repair your boat you have to answer a series of questions.  The “board” is a map with various pins.  In order to find the answers to the questions, you must find the pin using the coordinates that are given to you.  I love the way the Museum incorporated not only historical facts, but also directional skills.  I would never associate that skill as 1) a skill that is even taught anymore and 2) that an art museum would be the resource to teach that skill.  It makes complete sense for the game though.

Pins, and maps, oh my!

Pins, and maps, oh my!

Once you answer each question correctly and finish repairing your boat, you move on to level 2.

You've repaired your boat, now you have to...answer more questions.

You’ve repaired your boat, now you have to…answer more questions.

Now that your ship is up and running, you have to answer a new set of questions in order to collect goods from each port.  Most of the questions are related to the types of goods that are available or needed at one particular port.  If you lose all three lives, a wave or giant squid devours your boat.  All of the answers can be found on an information tab next to the question.  If you answer all of these questions, congratulations, you’re a successful and wealthy trader.

Congrats!  Game over.

Congrats! Game over.

I really like the game!  I think it’s aimed at an older audience, as there is a lot of text and unless you have some world history knowledge, this game will be irrelevant and also quite boring.  I do think the amount of text and the quiz nature of the game might act as a deterrent for most children.  However, there is something to be said about reading information and then having to apply that knowledge.  It’s a tried and true method and this game uses that but in a “gamified” way.  So in that sense, the learn and quiz method is successful.

I absolutely love the graphics!  They’re simplistically beautiful and give off an aurora of travel and history through the use of maps and the drawings.  At the same time, the game is obviously modern in its mechanics and design.

There’s little chance of replay-ability, but I do think the questions are randomized.

Overall, I am impressed with the game and look forward to exploring other games that the Met have on their website.


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