“Goldfields” is a simulation of a nineteenth century gold rush. It is designed to give students a “feel” for the social history of the gold rushes.
As a player, you are a recent, penniless arrival to Suze Port. To succeed in the game, you must survive the long and dangerous walk to the gold fields and then you have to become wealthy within one year. You can make your fortune in many different ways, including trying different kinds of mining, such as cradle and panning. Obstacles in the game include mine shafts that collapse, which can lead to you losing money while you’re spending time in hospital. Other methods of making money include getting a job, becoming a shareholder in several companies, or becoming a thief.
A review of the game published in the “Australian Journal of Reading” in 1988 applauds the success of the simulation in transporting students to the life and times of the goldrush era. The review continues that although the games was created for use in social studies it has further application across the curriculum in as it offers skills in ‘note taking, creative writing, art, drama and basic arithmetic. The ability of the software to support and encourage group work is also praised. The review ends by stating “The designers of Goldfields deserve full credit for effectively utilising the potential of the microcomputer and for the imaginative accompanying material.” Reference: “Australian Journal of Reading”, 1988, Vol 9, Issue 4, p. 268.
“Goldfields” is a one-player game, and the primary control is Joystick Port 2.
The software came packaged with teacher’s guides and classroom activities.
A copy of the boxed software is held in the Queensland University of Technology, Central Library, and includes the following items:
- 1 object program, on 1 disc (5 1/4 in.), teacher’s guide, 4 paper masters, 1 vol.
- 1 disk (Commodore 64 or 128) + journal + 3 sheets + teacher’s guide.
- 1 disk (Apple family) ; 5 1/4 in. + +A Goldfields Journal (25 p. ; ill., 19cm.) + 4 sheets + teachers guide.
A book by Sue Rowe entitled “A Lode of Bullion: (Australia’s gold era)” was available to schools to accompany Jacaranda’s software. A copy of this book is held by the State Library of Queensland.
The Apple II version of “Goldfields” was programmed by Gerald Wluka and the DOS version was programmed by Steve Luckett. The original Mac version (HyperCard) was programmed by Bruce Mitchell, with later Mac versions programmed by Steve Luckett.
Version 2.0 was produced by Greygum Software.