MayaQuest is highly educational and would fit perfectly into a social studies (history, geography and culture) curriculum in school. It contains a wealth of information including ancient Mayan facts and over 1,500 photos and video clips from the actual world-record holding 3,224 mile MayaQuest bicycle expedition. This virtual field trip lets kids explore seven different archeological sites while they study messages from experts.
Kids start their adventures at a high-tech headquarters. To leave for one of the sites, click the flashing red elevator button (the elevator is located in the middle of the room). A multi-functional helmet doubles as a camera, maps, e-mail system,and compass. The object of the game is to find as many clues, solve tasks and ride rugged bike paths before an impending natural disaster hits the land so that you can solve the mystery of the collapse of the Mayan culture.
The virtual bicycle expedition simulates, albeit in vintage 90s graphics, what it is like to steer a bicycle through the harsh, insect-infested rainforests and dusty ruins of Central America. The goal is to uncover clues along the journey to solve the mysterious collapse of the Mayan civilization.
Steering the bike with the cursor, you can move towards the top of the screen to make the bike go faster, or move to the bottom of the screen to go slower. By putting the bike on autopilot (select Biking from the Options menu), the bike moves slower without the risk of accidents (running off the road, colliding with a rock, etc.). Of course kids will probably deliberately run off the road and crash the bike. Of course, once you crash the bike, it will cost you money or time. But at that age who would care?
I enjoyed the Bookshelves section, where you can click on journals of each of the original MayaQuest members. You can read journal entries and leaf through the pages of photos of the actual MayaQuest bicycle expedition and hear haunting musical melodies in the background.
If your kids are doing a report on ancient Mayan civilization, be sure to check out the Multimedia Resource Tool in MayaQuest. Here, you'll find five different sections including artifacts, site media, topic overviews, sounds and movies and photos with captions. The artifacts section was my favorite. I clicked on photos and text of dozens of ancient artifacts and tools.