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Chabad kids

Chadad.org Kids Logo

Chabad Games is a very small fraction of their bigger website, chabad.org. Chabad.org claims that they began using "online discussion networks to bring Judaism to tens of thousands of Jews around the world" as early as 1988 (chabad.org). Their mission is to "utilize internet technology to unite Jews worldwide, empower them with knowledge of their 3,300 year-old tradition, and foster within them a deeper connection to Judaism's rituals and faith" (chabad.org). From their clean, easy-to-navigate homepage, it is almost impossible to tell that chabad.org offers online video games. One must scroll over the tab labeled "Kids" and go to "Kids Home" to find the religious video games on this site.

Games are listed under "Activities and Games." The games are centered around four Jewish holidays: Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, and Passover. The games are all very simple; they all focus on memorization or puzzle-strategy games. There are twenty-four games total, (although one must go through the Holidays tab to find ten more of the Chanukah games): two under Sukkot, eleven under Chanukah, five under Purim, and six under Passover. Based on these numbers alone, an observer might assert that the number of games under each holiday indicates the importance of this holiday to the Jewish faith. If one clicks on Sukkot and Purim, a number of other activities appear other than games, including arts, crafts, and recipes relating to the holiday. Under Hanukkah and Passover, only the games appear. If one goes through the "Holidays" tab rather than the "Activities and Games" tab, several other holidays are listed along with additional games under Chanukah which were not available under "Activities and Games."

Not one of these games can be defined as an action adventure game or role-playing game, or a game in which the player enters a separate world as a character. The games are mostly puzzles, word searches, or concentration games. There seems to be no connection between the games, or no games do not reference one another, and the player does not need a background knowledge of Judaism in order to play. The games make many references to Jewish holidays and traditions, but they do not try to explain them in anyway.

The games are extremely simple in nature. An adult should be able to complete all of the games in under five minutes, which may indicate that the games are meant for much younger children. One of the games, "Ad d'Lo Ya" displays a picture with two darkly colored cartoon figures, one leading a horse upon with the second man is sitting, with a photograph of a Chinese street behind them (chabad.org). The game has no objective; the player is supposed to wave their cursor over the picture and it creates a ripple effect. Above the picture, it states: "How much should one drink on Purim? The answer is: Until he forgets the difference between '
Ad d'Lo Yada

Ad d'Lo Yada

Blessed be Mordechai' and 'Cursed Behaman.' Well, this cute applet will get you there faster..." (chabad.org). This implies that the game is meant to simulate the state of being drunk for the player, and perhaps in the case of a child, help to substitute for the use of real alcohol.

Given that chabad.org is such a large site, the fact that there are only twenty-four games indicates that games and playing is not top priority for this organization. Even within the Kids Homepage, games seem to be below texts, songs, and videos with emphasis on learning about the holidays. There are no games on the site that do not relate to a Jewish holiday. The mission of the games appears to be exposing the player to symbols of holiday traditions. For example, in the Chanukah Connect the Dots game, the lines create a dreidel at the end, a teetotem game typically played during Chanukah (chabad.org "Chanukah"). Some games are related to food, others include photographs of actual items used during these holiday, and still others are photographs or clip art of people participating holiday traditions. Chabad.org is staying true to their mission statement by "utilizing internet technology" in an attempt to "foster within" the player a "deeper connection to Judaism's rituals and faith" by utilizing and repeating the use of traditional Jewish symbols and words in the games sector of their website.

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