It is the year 1507 BC and you are lost in a great forest of oaks. It is getting dark, and as you try to reach the Time Gate wolves are gathering to attack you. Can you reach the gate in time?
So starts Time Traveller, a genial history question and answer game from Sulis. Aimed at 7-year-olds and upwards, it combines some straightforward with some quite specialised questions on five periods of history. These are the Bronze Age, the Roman age, the Eleventh Century, the Sixteenth Century and the Nineteenth Century. The game takes the form of transporting the player to the next period up. On arrival there is a time gate question to be answered along the lines of, 'What do you associate with this period?' You are then presented with an option of three typical answers, one of which is correct.
After the first question there is a small arcade sequence based on a maze game format. but which takes place in some appropriate location. such as a cathedral in the eleventh century where you are chased by priests. or a Victorian sewer, chased by rats and germs. When this is completed there are three questions asked of you before you leave the age. This is presented in the same way as the time gate question at the start.
Eventually you are transported to the twentieth century, where you are told that the people there are fussy and won't let you in unless your score is high enough. If this is the case then you must choose an age to return to where more questions will be asked of you.
This is repeated until you have scored enough points to make it to the modern age.
'History is so often a boring subject for children so anything which is designed to add an element of competition and gameplay is to be considered welcome. The combination of arcade games (which get faster when and if you have to 'return to them a second or third time) and questions is likely to appeal, whilst imparting knowledge of an age at the same time. The questions are asked and answered in a way which shows the player what is correct. Some of the questions are quite general (where was the Boer War fought?) others are designed to sort out common confusions (in the 19th century were terrace houses. villas or brick-built houses typical of the age?). The result is a very good learning game, with a surprising amount of questions stored away in its memory banks. As the questions are picked at random, there is the chance of being asked the same ones twice in a particular age, but this is no serious drawback since it reinforces the correct answer and gives the player a feeling of accomplishment in remembering. The graphics throughout are snappy and appropriate, although fairly small moving characters are used. They are jerky too, but this doesn't really detract from the overall idea. Perhaps the only quibble one might have with questions like the ones used here are that they sometimes tend to channel thinking too much. For instance, asked whether forts or factories would be typical of the Roman era. It would be obvious to answer forts - yet factories were something the Romans had as well. Nevertheless, a program like this is not really designed for specialist learning and it represents a fairly sound concept. Perhaps the price is set too high for schools use though.'