Despite not being an US citizen, I found the Mission US games to be quite unique when it comes to flash games. While I have only played 3 of the 5 games thus far, the Electric Funstaff production provided me not only the unique content of people living in the 20th American century (along with the construction of that country), fun mini-games that could have been improved to a standalone game and amazingly, voice acting, which is quite ambitious for a free flash game.
Of course, these games are meant for US students, where they would learn about history by playing this game in a fun way. Additionally, the endings is towards between good to great, influenced by how many badges you earned in this playthrough. For this game, there are 3 main badges above the other optional badges that conclude the epilogue, so choose according to your self-insert wants.
Website for the Mission US games, which includes the documents that supplement the player’s knowledge of the era you are playing.
(Although for me, I prefer to the one from the Brainpop, since they don’t require me to register for a game that I don’t play everyday).
While it is sort of an introduction to the game, it is also includes my thoughts when playing it for recapping. Here I would separate according to the chapter and some of my findings in this game, so spoilers ahead.
Warning, spoilers ahead.
Summary: In this game starting in 1907, you play as a 14 year old name Lena Brodsky, a Russian Jew who immigrates to the United States due to the anti-Semitism in Russia. While her brother is already in America being a successful businessman (turns out to be a peddler), she had to immigrate alone since they don’t have enough money to send all of her family to America. After 14 days of struggling to live on a boat, she eventually arrives in America and her journey begins.
(News Flash: When you got her to eventually reunite her family again, they never add anything interesting to dynamics of the Brodsky’s family. Which is a pity since they are a strong influence on Lena’s character for her experiences in America).
Also, there are smart words for people to collect according to the parts. However, the smart words here aren’t really that important when it comes to the story itself and when you learn the words, you make Lena avoid asking questions about the words since the smart words automatically answers them for you.
Part 1: Finding Home
This is a rather straightforward segment that common sense is the only thing you need to apply. Make Lena’s answers confident to proceed without any problems. While waiting for your turn, get acquainted with the man sitting beside you by showing your family photo. Then during the questioning by immigration officer, answer accurately, politely and without wasting anybody’s time. In here the game also shows you the inventory system, which until Part 5 it’s a system that you don’t use at all after going through Part 1.
We are also introduced to Lena’s brother Issac, who has too many things in his hands for us to rely upon. This part is also where you choose one of the three skills you are proud of. They are: Singing (probably helps you become a better actress), Sewing (practical for the sewing achievement) and Numbers (which even though I would choose this in my initial playthrough, it does nothing impactful even in the epilogue).
Locating Brodsky’s Tenement
After managing to get lost yourself in sightseeing the first minute, you first met a gentlemen that invite you to show you around (I say no, so I don’t really know the next scene with him is going to be). If you decline you met Zev, a Jew that took a liking to her (but since I’m not a believer of first love, my answer makes him think that there is still a 50% chance).
From here you are a portrait icon in a New York map. At the start, you have the choice of walking by foot or using the subway (which while cost you money, wasn’t really that expensive for your arriving budget). I suggest you travel to the bottom part of the map, since you will encounter locations that will make you receive the Traveller badge and a chance to restate your religiousness (improving the chances of you getting the Jewish badge) at the seaside market.
If you earn the badge or felt you’re running in circles, cross the bridge and look for a Jewish synagogue, where if you persist, the priest will personally lead you to 47 Orchard Street. The part ends with you meeting with Issac’s wife Sonya for the first time and celebrating a Jewish dinner.
Part 2: Family First
Working in The Sweatshop
You are now living in America for 3 months working in a sweatshop, where wages are getting not as high as it supposed to. For the maximum amount of wages, sing while working (fortunately the boss allows you to) and accept a stale bread from the lady next to you for lunch.
Coming back from work, you met Sonya waiting for you, reluctantly giving your wages she asks you to do her chores tomorrow, since she’s tired as she’s in the middle of her pregnancy. Here you also shown the ledger tab, where see the record of the weekly finance status of the Brodsky’s.
Bug Alert: You can actually increase your wages. Just after the second part, you can go to the part menu and repeat Part 2, this time with your ledger. How does it help? Not only you can see your wages actually growing bigger than every other income (boarders & Issac’s wages) and more importantly, increases your shopping budget so you won’t feel really guilty of spending a lot to get your laundry washed in the Chinese laundry shop.
If you use the bug above, you can have the laundry be worked on by the Chinese laundry house, where if you beg well enough you would pay 1.8 dollars instead of the usual 2. Another tidbit is that during your laundry, you would meet a nosy old lady who would nag you about Issac’s situation and found your singing horrible.
The list is as follows starting from the street market (don’t bother with Bayard Street, the peach vendor is not there)
-Vegetables: Choose the one at the bottom right corner (with the panel at the right), not only you would receive some points in achieving the Star badge, but also negotiate well enough, you will get a bunch of vegetables alongside a borsch soup recipe.
-Soda: Top left corner, where the first friend you met from Chapter 1 sells it. Obtain some information about how he manages to establish his new business and proceed to buy the soda. Let him carry them to your address since it’s less weight for you to carry around town.
-Milk: Move to the left side of the market (click the arrow on the left) and choose the stall at the top right. When bargaining, lie to her that your pregnant aunt is in a dire need to milk, this will net you the milk for free.
-Peach: This is a tricky one at the top right stall (Left side market), since some of the peaches are actually damaged if you choose them wrongly. For the best results shopping there, choose the option of wanting to touch the peaches. When he decline your touching, respond with “don’t choose, don’t buy”, he will give you the offer to less ripe peaches. While it is not the best quality, at least it does not rot after you shopped from him.
-Meat: You have to walk a distance to the kosher butcher. While there is a choice of going to another butcher for kosher meat, there are no kosher signs so I choose the suggested choice instead. Here it is a doozy for me since I didn’t know whether cheek meat or sirloin is a better choice (I choose sirloin in my recent playthrough and Sonia criticise Lena for spending on that amount).
Doing really well with the shopping or the laundry will improve your chances of getting the Market or the Housewife badge.
Extra Task: Settlement House
If you do the laundry by going to the Chinese laundry shop or sneak away after doing it yourself (which is a risky thing since there is a potential of rain doing the latter choice), you have the choice to going to there, where you have the offer to play an acting role or improve your sewing skills.
Part 3: A Night To Remember
Selling As A Peddler
With your brother’s urging, you found yourself selling his stuffs to customer, there are 2 minimum customers that will purchase your goods.
-Snobby Lady: Use a mild approach and combine discounts to have her purchase the goods your selling.
-Gentleman: Get him to buy the Kodak (the big seller) by using the family card.
During selling you met Zev, who offers you a choice of dancing with him at the dancehall.
After the selling segment is over, you arrive at the Settlement House to improve your sewing stuffs and later, have English speaking lessons with Italian born Rosa, who shares her favorite food with Lena, salty olives.
Surprise Against Surprise
Since at this stage the Brodskys have enough money to receive Lena’s parents to the US, which Sonya asks Lena to take a visit at the bank to prepare Issac a surprise. But another surprise comes in at the bank, Issac has already spend all of their savings out of nowhere. So, depending on your choices dealing with Issac you can make Lena scarily rational or irritatingly nasty towards him (I always take the first option). For his reasoning is he’s going to open a new store and he’s purchasing goods to sell.
Now for the moment of truth at the same night what will you choose: dance with Zev, help Issac with his inventory or perform as an actress at the Settlement House.
Part 4: Factory Girls
Working At The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
At Rosa’s urging and recommendation, you are now working in a garment factory which pays more than your usual sweatshop. You can walk there or pay a streetcar to go to the factory.
You are introduced to the stern forelady, who will judge your skills according to a really tedious minigame where you have to balance three needles by making sure all of the keys (random by the way) are at an acceptable rate. Do well you will have a good starting pay.
Though the work is good difficult, on the first day you can’t go to toilet until lunch break and had to share an elevator with a lot of people, which you may be interrupted by a journalist to have an interview about the conditions of working in the factory.
Utilizing The Pay
In your payday (which is coincidental with her religious day), you might try to complain about the small things deducting your pay (like toilet breaks and unusable cloth), but I felt it is futile anyway, so you should speak out your grievances with the same reporter who appears again.
Still, the money is better than the last job, so you are allowed to have some money for yourself after a discussion with your brother. Now you have a set amount of money, how would you use them.
For my last playthrough, I used most of the money for getting Lena’s parents to America and help advertise Issac’s shop. The remaining of the pay goes to minor imporvements on the household.
Part 5: Uprising of 20,000
Going to the factory (aided by Zev) when everybody is on strike, you have the choices of going to the strike or stay working at the factory. For me, ovbiously I choose the strike route.
Before that though, you must play a opinion matching game where you determine whether your acquintances agree or disagree with the strike. Some of the tougher statements include:
-Sonya: Her final line of seeing the girls having a better future ultimately showed she’s favoring the strike.
-Man on the Middle Right: He referencing the bible story of Gideon-Judges 7-8:21, the battle of Gideon against Midian, which should be made into a smartword of a referencing. His stance is supportive. (Edit: He is actually referencing Haman on the Book of Esther).
Your first task as a picketing member is to raise funds. Here the mini-game focuses on having to go to three locations for the task. My locations are a place on the furthest left (which I forgot the name of since I only been there once using the street car option way back in Part 1), the Chinese laundry shop and the Grand Theather. All of these locations donated the funds, which the final one gave Lena 2 dollars since she convinces them that if the wages are higher, girls will frequent the location more.
6 weeks later, you are now in charge of picketing, where you are given a rule note on how to properly picket (very important, follow these rules at all cost). After a scuffle with Zev (since both of you are on opposing sides), you put your picketing skills to the test with Helena (give her the translated version on the picketing rules). Unfortunately, in the end you are still caught by the police even if you don’t think you are doing anything wrong. But how everybody perceives your behavior depending on your attitude when picketing.
After your time in jail (and being bailed out by the ILGWU-International Lady’s Garment Workers Union), your friend Rosa is waiting for you to have a chat with her about your picketing. Back at home, a conversation with Issac awaits you, making you choose between the choices of: Auditioning for a stage play, Work at the family store, or Continue woking at the factory.
With the final choice is over, the epilogue awaits you and you have to restart the game to discover new opportunities.
Overall, it is a solid game in educating the populace about the state of New York at that time, the Jewish identity and for a brief period managing money and making sure you have the best deals. For a rare post about flash game, it is a good experience.