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Brachot Blastoff: Brachot and Beyond

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Brachot Blastoff

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Brachot Blastoff: Brachot and Beyond
Program by Rabbi S. Schwartz
CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh
Davka Corporation, (2002)

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 26, 2003

Brachot Blastoff: Brachot and Beyond is an innovative game that will help students learn the blessings (Brachot Rishonot and Brachot Acharonot) recited before and after meals. Brachot Blastoff is challenging and visually interesting game that truly makes learning fun! The game is divided into three parts. Part one is Brachot Blastoff, a fun game that lets you test your knowledge of the Brachot. Part two is the Bracha Memory Game that will help students to memorize the Borei Nefashot and Al Hamichya blessings. Part three is a Database of Food that lists over 200 foods along with the Brachot associated with each.

Playing Brachot Blastoff

Brachot Blastoff is an entertaining game in which you try to send a space ship to the moon by correctly matching 30 foods with their correct Brachot.

There are five levels of play in this game, of which the first three levels deal only with the Bracha Rishona. Level One is the standard level. To win this level you can make no more than 10 mistakes. Level two is a timed level in which you can only make ten mistakes, plus you have to finish your mission before the clock runs out in order to win. Level three is the medium level. This level is also a timed level, however you are only allowed to make two mistakes. Level four is rated 'hard'. This level is timed and it covers the Brachot Rishonot and Achronot. In level four you once again are allowed to make up to ten mistakes. Level five is the hardest level. It is basically the same as level four, except that you can only make two mistakes!

Once you select your level of play, a control panel will be appear. On the far right hand side of the screen is your fuel gauge (you have to answer specific number of questions correctly to fuel you tank for 'take off'. On the far left hand side is your space craft, which moves up the screen as you answer correctly. In the middle of the control panel is a picture window that show a picture of the food, along with its name, for which you need to indicate the correct Bracha. Also displayed are the number of correct and incorrect answers that you've given. Once you take off, you loose fuel for every wrong answer that you give. Loose too much and the mission is aborted. In levels 1, 2 and 4, 10 mistakes will cause you to run out of fuel, while in levels 3 and 5, a mere two mistakes will erase your fuel supply.

Preparation

In addition to the Blastoff game, this program also includes a preparation and a reference section that will help you prepare to play the game.

To enter the preparation section, simply click on the preparation button that appears on the main window once the game is loaded. This section is divided into five sub-sections. In section one, you will find the Borei Nefashot printed in vowelized Hebrew. Section two, three, and four each contain a portion of the Al Hamichya, presented in vowelized Hebrew. Section five contains the complete Al Hamichya, also in vowelized Hebrew.

If desired, you can have the computer read the Brachot to you. You have the option of having an entire Bracha read aloud, with each word being highlight as it is read. Or you can select the word by word option, which displays each word in extra large letters as it is read. When the Bracha is read word by word, it is read a little slower than when the Bracha is read straight through. You also have the option of having the voice (which is male) read the Brachot in either Ashkenaz or Sephardic Hebrew. This preparation section is not only a fantastic way to learn the Brachot, but it will also help students practice their oral and reading skills.

These preparation sections also include a study section, and a review game. In the review games, which are timed, the Bracha studied is at first displayed in its entirety. In addition, all the words in the Bracha are listed, out of order, below the full text. These review games have three levels of difficultly. Once you select a difficulty level, a certain numbers of words will disappear from the Bracha written out along the top of the screen. The Bracha is read aloud by the computer, and as you come to a blank space you must drag the correct word, from the jumble at the bottom of the screen into the correct spot in the Bracha to correctly complete the Bracha.

As with the study section, you can have the Bracha read in either Ashkenaz or Sephardic Hebrew. You can also play the review game without the text being read, although the sound effects will remain audible. On level three, all the words in the Bracha are taken out of the line, and you must reconstruct the entire Bracha.

In the preparation section you also have a game called 'all-game'. In this review game you are presented with a Bracha, and a countdown clock with 90 seconds on it. Once the game commences, 10 words are extracted from the Bracha, and placed in a box toward the bottom of the screen. You must then replace the words into their correct spot by dragging them to the correct spot. Once you complete the puzzle, a new one will appear. How many puzzles can you complete before the clock runs out?

The Reference Section

From the main menu, you can also access the reference section associated with this program. In this section you are presented with an English alphabet along the bottom of the screen. You can start with "A" or jump to any letter in the alphabet. No matter where you start, the screen will display a picture of a food, its name in English, and the correct Bracha Rishona and Bracha Achrona for the food displayed. The names of the Brachot are given in vowelized Hebrew. Over 200 foods are contained in this database.

System Requirements

To have this CD run correctly, you will need to have your display set to a screen area to 800X600 pixels.


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