Thursday, December 10, 2009

Highly Recommended Game for Gifted Children!

If your gifted child likes to build or is fascinated with the way things work, we HIGHLY recommend the game "Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions".  We bought this Windows-based game for our family computer years ago, and it has provided tons of fun ever since.

The Incredible Machine (often abbreviated as TIM) is a problem solving game in the form of Rube Goldberg-style contraptions to do a certain task and that are almost complete, but not quite: the player has to pick out and place items on the contraption that make it work.  For a very simple example, you have a contraption that starts with a ball at the top of an incline, and your task is to get the ball into a bucket at the bottom of the incline: you have to pick an item from a toolbag that will push the ball down the incline, such as a fan that blows the ball into motion.

The often whimsical collection of items you can use in your contraptions includes balls, inclines, balloons, candles, mice, conveyor belts, cats, pulleys, ropes, an anti-gravity pad, and much more.  The really neat thing is that the items behave according to real world physical principles: if you push a ball over an edge, it falls and accelerates properly.  Bouncing items deflect at proper angles.  You can also make adjustments to environmental properties--such as gravity and air pressure--to change your contraption's behavior, as if your puzzle was on the moon or in space.

The Incredible Machine allows single player and dual players racing against each other to solve a task.  It comes with several hundred ready-to-solve puzzles, and players can build their own contraptions just for fun.  Players can even experiment with the game's background music.  This is a very well thought out game.

Obviously TIM fosters problem solving skills and makes it easy (and fun) to demonstrate basic physical sciences.  If your gifted child is a budding physicist or engineer, they will enjoy this game immensely, as will the adults.

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