Ever wonder what it would be like to live the life of a wolf in the wild? Well, the free-to-play WolfQuest is about as close as you’re going to get. WolfQuest puts you in the role of a lonely wolf in the wild with two things on your mind: survive and start a family. Along the way you’ll learn about how a wolf perceives the world around him with “scent view” which shows trails of recent creatures and other territorial markers. You can hunt everything from bull elk down to hares (although I was never able to get my teeth around a hare — those little guys are fast!).
WolfQuest has a lot to offer in the way of ecological awareness and animal-behavioral science, plus it’s pretty darn cool to roam the prairie as one of its most feared predators. The game is appropriate for older kids, but there are applications were it would be good for an elementary class, too.
A few caveats — WolfQuest is a download-and-install application of about 125 megabytes so it might be good to put it on a flash drive if you’re going to put it on multiple computers. It also uses 3-D rendering so you won’t be able to use it on a very old computer. And maybe it’s just me, but the musical score leaves much to be desired. Instead of turning off your speakers, hit ESC in the game and go to the audio settings to turn down the music so you don’t miss all the ambient sounds of nature — and, of course, the sound of your wolf munching on some elk.