The Search Series

The Search Series is a five-game series of educational video games by Tom Snyder Productions and published by McGraw-Hill Education in 1980. It runs on either Apple II or Radio Shack Models I and III.[1]

The Search Series
Developer(s)Tom Snyder Productions
Publisher(s)McGraw-Hill Education
Platform(s)Apple II
First releaseGeography Search
Latest releaseArchaeology Search


In the late 1970s, Snyder had bought a Radio Shack computer and began designing educational simulations on it. He hired a consultant for $500 a day to observe whether his creations had value. The consultant saw something special and won Snyder a contract McGraw-Hill, who bought all five packages immediately, forming The Search Series.[2] Snyder went on the road in 1981 to promote the series.[2]

Educational goals

The series exemplified Snyder's philosophy of keeping learning in the foreground of the gaming experience and encouraging players (recommended within the classroom) to work together in teams.[3] The content was specifically designed to connect with curricula.[4]

An example of the aplot is Geography Search, which simulates Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World. Teams make navigational decisions based on information that is provided by and managed from the software.[5]


Players are given scenarios, then (ideally) divide up into teams to choose the next move their defending their position. They input their decisions into the simulation which then triggers the next stage.[4]


  • Geography Search
  • Geology Search
  • Energy Search
  • Community Search
  • Archaeology Search


Educational Values and Cognitive Instruction felt Geography Search was an excellent example of a computer-based situated learning environment based on a microworld.[6] InfoWorld was impressed with the software, and deemed them a great way to explore simulations.[7] In a piece for CNN, Henry F. Olds believed that the series had great power to stimulate students' thinking and problem-solving.[8] Diagnostic Monitoring of Skill and Knowledge Acquisition felt that Geography Search was the "most ingenious" computer-based system for teaching history.[9] The book Building Intelligent Interactive Tutors felt that as an open-ended learning environment (OLE), the software did not interact directly with the player and help them to manage the environment.[10]

Compute Gazette noted that the series was still selling well four years after its release.


  1. Inc, InfoWorld Media Group (1982-09-06). InfoWorld. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc.
  2. "Compute_Gazette_Issue_16_1984_Oct". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  3. Inc, InfoWorld Media Group (1982-09-06). InfoWorld. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc.
  4. "Educational Technology: Support for Inquiry-Based Learning". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  5. Kent, Allen; Lancour, Harold (1997-09-16). Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Volume 61 - Supplement 24. CRC Press. ISBN 9780824720612.
  6. Idol, Lorna; Jones, Beau Fly (2013-12-16). Educational Values and Cognitive Instruction: Implications for Reform. Routledge. ISBN 9781135434700.
  7. Inc, InfoWorld Media Group (1983-04-18). InfoWorld. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc.
  8. " - Ask an expert: Computer simulations stimulate students - October 12, 2000". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  9. Frederiksen, Norman; Glaser, Robert; Lesgold, Alan; Shafto, Michael G. (2013-07-04). Diagnostic Monitoring of Skill and Knowledge Acquisition. Routledge. ISBN 9781136564246.
  10. Woolf, Beverly Park (2010-07-28). Building Intelligent Interactive Tutors: Student-centered Strategies for Revolutionizing E-learning. Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 9780080920047.
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