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NASA’s Satellite Insight gaming app isn’t educational or fun

JPL

This story is part of Nextgov’s Building Better Apps project.

NASA’s Satellite Insight mobile app aims to teach users about satellite data collection and give them a fun gaming experience at the same time. It fails on both counts, our reviewers said.

Players of the Tetris-like game are instructed to collect falling blocks with the same design then tap a button that eliminates those block collections to prevent the screen from filling up. The game is meant to simulate the challenge of organizing and processing the many types of data -- on solar energy, magnetic fields, radiation and other phenomena -- collected by NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, R series or GOES-R.

The game is no more educational than Tetris or Bejeweled, though, unless players read deeply into the instructions, our reviewers said.

Our reviewers gave the game 1.7 points out of 5.

“It’s a great concept to combine education with game playing, but the execution is poor,” said Yaron Oren, chief operating officer at iSpeech.

In addition to not offering much useful information, our reviewers thought Satellite Insight simply failed as a game.

“This is the type of game that three years ago people might have considered playing,” said Ted Chan, founder of PracticeQuiz.com. “It is decently executed in terms of game mechanics. But it doesn’t draw the user in that much compared to other games available and it doesn’t have much education value. To get any engagement in the gaming space today, the bar is very high.”

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