It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, if you’re a kid or a teacher. Summer is right around the corner and parents are frantically looking for worthwhile things for their kids to dive into other than a swimming pool or the latest video game. The release of Hart Getzen’s Echo’s Revenge is the answer for the kid who’s just not that interested in reading or for the gamer who would rather kill a few zombies than kill an hour or two reading a good book.
The Echo’s Revenge series is presented under the name Sean Austin, a videogame programmer who is documenting the path of destruction wrought by this virtual shape-shifting monster. The Ultimate Game is the first novel in the series, told from the point of view of young Reggie (14) and Jeremy (11), two brothers who are master gamers in the world of ECHO, a heartless, indestructible, renegade virtual creation. Unfortunately, ECHO’s not the only monster in their life – they also face the unpredictable behavior of their mother’s explosive boyfriend. When life at home gets too rough, the boys decide to run away. Little do they know that the latest iteration of ECHO has escaped the game, and is targeting gamers as part of a nefarious real-life scheme. Parts II and III of the series will be published in 2013 and 2014, with plans to turn ECHO into an actual online combat-style role-playing game.
And if kids aren’t already intrigued by the thrilling storyline, Getzen has also included an interactive component to the series. Kids can go to the website (echohunt.com) and see videos and click on links to various sites (i.e.: robotics, math, engineering, gaming code and even great barbeque restaurants.) They can also see posts and tweets from the characters in the book and can even email and receive answers from them as well!
Behind this action-packed young adult novel is a serious attempt to educate the reader into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) frameworks that are likely to shape the world of tomorrow. “The goal is to get these young gamers into thinking about what goes into building and playing a game – what happens when a group of people get together to create or experience something, and imbue it with their own spirit. What are the political and interpersonal dynamics of that team enterprise?” says Getzen.
So parents, relax. Your kids can actually be entertained AND still keep their learning skills sharp over the summer. Echo’s Revenge is the cure for parents’ summertime blues.