Cisco CCENT Mind Share Game

Authors: Various
Publisher: Cisco Press
ISBN: 1587142686


The Cisco CCENT Mind Share Game covers key networking topics and is designed to test the players’ technical knowledge and their ability to concentrate and perform under pressure, in order to help them pass their CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) or CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification exams.

About the authors

The design and the development of the game was a collaboration of a number of people from Cisco Systems, The Inspiracy, Totally Games and DigitalMill.

Inside the game

Minimum system requirements for this game are Windows XP SP2 or higher/Windows Vista/ Windows 7, a hard disk with 100 MB of free space, 1.7 GHz-equivalent processor, a sound card, 256 MB of RAM and a 256 MB graphics card.

After the installation of the game and the various components needed for it to run and the registration of the game, you are ready to start:

As you can see in this screenshot, I have already made a profile for myself, simply by typing my name in in the Profiles submenu.

Before you start playing, you might want to select the various Options, which let you select various volumes (master, music, voice and effects) and the display quality.

Now you are ready to hit Play and select a Round (topic) and the difficulty level at which you want to play:

When you first start playing, finishing each round allows you to pass to the next, but once you passed all of them, you can repeat playing them in any order you want and as many times you want or need to learn the topic well.

As you can see, the covered topics are: Cabling, The OSI Model, Binary Numbers, MAC Addressing, Switch Basics and Behavior, IP Addressing, IP Routing (ARP, NAT/PAT), Protocols, Subnetting, IOS fundamentals and Wireless networking. The last round combines all the topics and tests you on what you learned in the previous Rounds.

Every Round starts with an short introduction of the topic:

Proceeding through the Round and the puzzles, the topic is tackled more in-depth. Part of the screen explains the concepts, and the game requires you to put your knowledge of them in practice by solving the puzzles on the rest of the screen (click on the screenshots to enlarge them):

In the accompanying text, there are concepts written in blue and linked to an explanation. Click on them to reveal it:

Take as much time as you want to read and understand the concepts before clicking on the red bar in the middle of the screen (“Press here when ready to begin”). Once you do, the bar transforms into a stream where the answers are offered, along with extra points, and tools that block the “Digibugs” that eat away at them.

You get points for correct answers (of course), speed and playing at a higher level of difficulty.

At the end of each Round, you are presented with a summary that tells you how well you did and whether you would benefit from repeating it:

Apart from the Mind Share game, the CD-ROM contains also three additional networking games: Binary Game, Subnetting Game, and Wireless Explorer.

For some unknown reason, I was able to open just the Binary Game:

It’s very easy to use, and it’s the perfect tool to practice before starting the Binary Numbers Round in the Mind Share Game. I expect the other two offered games are similarly handy for the Subnetting and Wireless Rounds.

The verdict

Cisco CCENT Mind Share Game is a great game to have and to play before taking the CCENT and CCNA certification exams. The topics aren’t covered in-depth enough for the game to be considered the only source of knowledge you will need, but the game prepares you for the fast pace of the exam and is a good way to review everything you learned.

This game is also very handy for absolute networking beginners and can easily spark their interest for additional learning, although I imagine learning would be easier for them without the pressure of the scoring system and the “Digibugs” that are always there chomping at the points.

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