Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #78

Welcome to my weekly throwback book review! Each week I’ll be rereading and reviewing one or two books from my childhood. I was a huge reader as a child and these books shaped my life. I couldn’t possibly get rid of them, so I still have a large collection that I am sharing with all of you in the form of reviews.

What we missed: The kids figure out who is stealing animals from the zoo, organize a party planning business, compete in a bicycle race, and deal with wild horses.

#78 The Mystery in the Computer Game: Henry has a new obsession that he’s dragged his brother, sisters and cousin into: computer gaming! He loves the game Ringmaster, and the five of them worked together to beat it. There are conveniently four or five children and their dog in the game, attempting to find a ring and become the Ringmaster.

Guess what, their grandfather knows someone who knows the makers of the game, and the kids are invited to go to the headquarters to test out Ringmaster II. They meet a cast of interesting characters, such as the nice guy CEO, a man who doesn’t like children, his son who immediately acts sketchy when the Aldens are given a new computer to play on, and their star female employee who is also acting shady.

The kids set up their new computer at home and immediately get into the new game but are interrupted by the son, Andy, who says he has to fix something already. He keeps showing up at their house and when he leaves each time, things are different, such as the network being down or strange new characters in the game they didn’t see before. Things in the game seem to be pointing to real life situations, such as a place being named after a local restaurant, and when they go there who do they see but Jane, shady employee, taking a meeting with some strangers.

The Aldens take their concern to the CEO who wants to get to the bottom of things. Turns out Jane stole her radical new program from Ned, the grumpy guy who hates kids, and was trying to shop it to their rival company. Andy had been planting the clues in the game for exactly that purpose, so she could be stopped.

I’ve always been an avid gamer so this was one I liked reading. I didn’t remember anything about the plot this time around, but it didn’t really hold up. The kids were on some kind of company network and when Andy broke it, the kids decided to buy some kind of software to fix it themselves. They were portrayed as some kind of computer whizzes even though I’m pretty sure they haven’t really used computers before in the series. This book was also published back in 2000, when I was 11. I was always good with computers too, and my dad worked with them, and I had no idea how to set up a new computer back then and wouldn’t know the first thing about networks or how to fix them (still don’t). So this one seemed a bit more unrealistic than normal but I enjoyed the gaming aspect of it.

This is the last book I own in the regular series, there are a couple of specials to get through but we’ll soon be moving on to other books.

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