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Camp Pete

Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: PlayActionOnline
Developer: PlayActionOnline
Media: Internet Browser/1
Players: 1
Genre: Sports (Football)/ Themed/ Edutainment

Graphics & Sound:

As a parent, I appreciate any and all attempts to create safe environments for my kids to have social experiences on the Internet. Safe social interaction is the heart and soul of what CampPete.Com is. But, there is the critic in me that has to question where the line between taking advantage of hysterics and game development cross. They tried to put a lot into this game. For all intents and purposes, this is not a game. This is a social interaction site for kids, and even more specifically, young boys with an interest in football.

The art in the game is all hand drawn. I can only assume that it was done by kids. I do not know if this is so endearing to the kids who play, but I am sure parents have a certain appreciation for this direction. I am actually a little thrown by the look of the game. This is just one of the many pieces of this site that add to my overall impression that they are trying to do too much.

You will have an opportunity to hear Coach Carroll's voice around every turn. Let's face it, Coaches are not exactly actors. This point is made clear as you see him continuously check his cue cards. Other than that, you get all the bells and whistles you would expect from a Facebook game.


CampPete.Com is in reference to Head Football Coach Pete Carroll of the University of Southern California. The site is set up with many civic objectives in mind. The site is set up by Play Action: Online Kids Camps, and there will be other coaches who participate and create worlds of their own.

First steps into Coach Carroll's world take you through character creation. Then you are quickly off to explore and there is a lot to explore. I was actually happy with how large the map was. Every location has something that you can interact with, if you can locate it. Moving around the map can be bittersweet. You can click on the map and warp to any section on the map. You were supposed to be able to move from one area to the next as well, but sometimes you would be in buildings that did not have their exits well defined, and frustration would ensue.

Besides moving around the world playing mini-games and exploring, you will find areas that will give you factoids about basic football terminology. Coaching drills will help you understand and learn the game of football. Watching these coaching videos and playing the mini-games will earn tokens you can use to buy in-game items. Items can be used to decorate your personal spaces.

The social aspect of the game comes from the ability to speak to other players in the world. Safe chatting features help ensure that the interactions your children have with other players are as benign as possible. Just like any persistent world where players interact, there is always the possibility of people trying to circumvent the precautions, but I never saw any evidence of this. Players can also quickly report other players who abuse the system.


As CampPete.Com is more about safe internet interaction between kids online, and not about challenging gameplay, there is little challenge presented. The mini-games reminded me of the earliest days of Myspace and Facebook. There could have been more to the actual games that were presented. The age of the kids that are being targeted here have already had quite of bit of time on the net, and in gaming on the net. It is a bit of regression to use such simple flash games for them to play when they have already seen more challenging venues online. The places I am trying not to name are just as friendly to young gamers as this, the difference being the focus on football and programs for L.A.

Game Mechanics:

I am always eliciting the input of my children on games, cheap labor and all. With CampPete.Com, I had a bit of a problem. The kids around who were old enough to really play were all girls. But for their father, they agreed to try. They were very quickly frustrated with how the game controls worked. They were also very frustrated with path-finding. Combine all of their issues with movement, their lack of interest in football, the way-too-basic game selection and they accused me of punishing them.

There was a lack of distinguishing markers that let people know everything they can interact within an area. One school of thought is that this makes the area more explorable. The other is that it just frustrated the younger players. The same can be said with where and how you moved around the map in some areas.

This game is intended for a very tight audience. It wants to make a very broad impact on their market. I am afraid that I just didn't see where this could be so wide-reaching. Obviously, since they were using California schools, they were pushing programs for L.A. and very close to home. I don't think the boys they are targeting relate to the under-aged graphics and simplistic gameplay. As I conclude, it is my hope that they are successful in their endeavour, and boys play the game. I hope it gets kids to read more. I even hope it inspires young football players to continue on and play football at USC. I wouldn't think that Carroll would still be there by then, but let them dream. It was just such a focused area of impact for a large social outreach.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Supporting browser

Test System:

Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core 2 Quad, 4GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

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