Minding Your Business

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Best Boy's video game adventure

I attended the launch of Best Boy’s foray into the video game world this week with “Zorbit’s Math Adventure,” mainly because of taxpayer involvement. The Mount Pearl entertainment company received half a million dollars from the provincial government for game testing and about the same from the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency for marketing, almost of all of which as a repayable loan. I felt a little unnerved by the hype at the launch, held at The Bungalow in Bowring Park — company founder Ed Martin spoke about the game as being the first to teach through story and play. There was much talk of the game being the first of its kind, as though kids haven’t played educational video games that teach — yes, math, and yes, through story and play — for almost as long as video games have been around. And despite what Martin says, I think kids will, in fact, be aware that they’re learning as well as playing, given that the word “math” is in the game’s title. Speaking from the perspective of one who hopes that the taxpayer investment is repaid, I wonder if the $7.99 price tag — a little steep for an app — might be a tad high, although, as is common, there is also a free “lite” option that consists of a couple of levels.

The good news is the game — from what I’ve played myself — looks great. It’s clear a lot of work has gone into it, and the kids at the launch seemed to really enjoy it. And parents will appreciate the lack of in-app purchases, a common feature of many games that tempt players with promises of improved gameplay and bonus elements, and can run up bills for parents who don’t carefully restrict them. If the game can stand out from a crowded field in the potentially lucrative mobile gaming market, Best Boy will be well suited

to follow up with future games

in the franchise targeting older

children.

• • •

Newfoundlandia overload! The Spirit of Newfoundland, the Newfoundland Chocolate Company and Screech Rum are teaming up for a new line of Screech chocolates, to be launched in the Spirit of Newfoundland’s new Screech Room, dedicated to the promotion and history of the drink with which the Spirit of Newfoundland — the

St. John’s musical theatre production company — share a name.

The Spirit of Newfoundland is holding the grand opening of the Screech Room on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at its Cathedral Street location.

Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, The Bungalow, Newfoundland Chocolate Company

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Mount Pearl, Bowring Park

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