The Product
Educational Goals
Educational Value
Recommendations
The Product

Architecture

Journey Into The Brain is an interactive/exploratory game on CD-ROM soon to be released by Morphonix. It is written for both MacOS and Windows platforms. Morphonix recommends running Journey Into The Brain with 32MB of RAM for optimum performance, however the game does run with less.

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Opening Sequence

While the game loads, a title screen appears. The cursor leaves glowing brains in its wake as it is moved, and suspenseful music is played in the background. Eventually the user is asked to open a game, given the option of starting a new game, or returning to a previously saved one. The metaphor used in this section is that of a travel passport, where the lands of travel are the regions of the brain. Choosing the new game option leads to the main navigation page.

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Main Navigation Page

The main navigation page is where one enters and exits this program. The clickable options available on this page are:

  • Activites: leads to a clickable activities menu similar to this one. Activities are interactive, yet not necessarily of any educational value. They are also an integral part of solving the Game. They are probably included here separate from the game as motivational devices.
  • Creativity Center: a drawing application where the user can create game scenes using prepared images or draw representations of what they've learned
  • Brainarium: a museum-like place, where one can
    • veiw scanned images of real brains
    • browse a hypermedia linked index of terms (complete with voiced-over animations)
    • browse a hypertext linked dictionary with text-based definitions
    • play a game to put regions of the brain back together
  • Game: leads to the game (see section below)
  • Credits: rolls credits
  • Quit: quits out of the program

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The Game

The premise of the game is that the main character, Celeste (an 11-year old, African-American female), is acting strange (eating jellyfish sandwiches, sticking straws up her nose, etc.). user must travel through the regions of her brain to find out what's wrong and fix her. Each region (the brain stem, cerebellum and cerebral cortex) is represented by a character and world.

WorldCharacter
Brain Stem
Brian Stem and Dad
Cerebellum
Sara Bellum
Cerebral Cortex
Sir Rebral Cortex

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Introduction

The introduction to the game is a three minute animation sequence with minimal interaction. During this intro, the user learns about:

  • The setting: the year 2050, presumably in Celeste's house
  • The mission: to save Celeste
  • The game guide: Mac'N, an intelligent computer mouse who guides the user through the game and can provide hints and tips when needed
During the introduction sequence, the player is shrunk down into "nanospace." Mac'N becomes a "nanospace-ship," and enters Celeste's brain through her ear. The interactive part of the game begins once in the brain stem. Mac'N informs the user that the aim is to collect nine "memory bits" to help put Celeste's memory back together. The player is inside the ship and is prompted to take a ship tour (one of the options available through the navigation system) before starting exploration.

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Navigation

Navigation through the worlds is accomplished by point-and-click in the direction the user wishes to explore. Inside the ship, there are several tools available for guidance, navigation and help, these include:

  • Exit Ship: allows you to exit ship, ship is re-entered by clicking on Mac'N who accompanies you on your ventures
  • Blast Off: launches ship for quicker travel through Celeste's brain. You can also travel between regions "on foot," but are required to go through the neural forest, which is simply a crossroads.
  • Ship Tour gives a ship tour explaining all these functions
  • The History of Mac'N: an animated explanation of Mac'N's background
  • Nanowand: causes things to shrink, you carry this with you when you leave the ship
  • Specimen Goggles: allows you to see hidden specimens which you can collect, you also carry this with you when you leave the ship
  • Memory Box: to collect memory bits in
  • Specimen Flasks and Examiner: allows collection and examination of brain specimens
  • Quit button: leads to main navigation page
  • in addition there are controls which allow veiwing Celeste's present behavior, a game map, and a body map

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Worlds and Levels: Completing the Mission

As you enter each world you are given a verbal introduction by the characters. Through exploration by clicking, you find clues to discover what you must accomplish at a given level in a given world to obtain memory bits. There are four levels, which get progressively more difficult to complete. You must collect nine memory bits for each level, and complete a memory bit puzzle before moving on. The clues provided are often subtle, and at higher levels obtaining memory bits involves integrating clues from more than one world. Navigation through the first level can only occur by foot, through the neuron forest. On more advanced levels, you can zoom from world to world using the nanospace-ship.

Educational information is integrated into the game through the puzzles to solve, through visual representations and through documentary-style segments that occur when certain objects are clicked on. Learning occurs multi-modally, as the user is exposed to auditory, image and text-based information.

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