Disaster Detector

Release Date: December, 2015

Developer: Smithsonian Institution

Help cities predict and prepare for natural disasters.



Play the Game:

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Disaster Detector teaches players how to analyze and interpret data on natural disasters in order to mitigate the effects of those disasters and also forecast future catastrophic events. In the game, players must protect the citizens of Smithsonville and four other cities by helping them predict and prepare for natural hazards, including tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and hurricanes. Players learn how to analyze current and historical data using tools such as Doppler radar, anemometers, barometers, and seismometer. Then, you must decide what defenses will best equip the city. For example, a tornado requires equipping a home with Building Straps and Storm Shelters, while an Earthquake might call for Building Frames and even Support Centers for the city.

Disaster Detector is intended for use in the classroom or at home and is aligned to national science standards for middle school but great for players of all ages. The game features printable reports.

Web, iOS, Android (Free)

US Department of Education




  1. 8
    Total Game Reviews: 11

    This game is geo-restricted .So,it may not be available for all the countries. I used VPN to get around country restriction on google play.

    Pros: 1.Gives you a raw understanding of Anemometer, Seismograph,Doppler map etc…
    2.You can also find solutions to common disasters (two solutions/ disaster )

    Cons:1.Could have more solutions to every disaster
    2.Not flexible enough to give you a range of solutions to every disaster.

  2. 8
    Total Game Reviews: 1

    Very educational, and enjoyable at times. The game does a good job on teaching you how to predict natural disasters, and prevent damage. Though the voice acting is a little hard to bare due to its expressionless tone, I give this game a solid review.

  3. 6
    Total Game Reviews: 2

    I thought Disaster Detector was a nice short educational game. There are only 5 cities to choose from, and these can be completed quite quickly. I could only play it through once before becoming bored, but someone within the target age range of 12-14 could stay a lot longer.
    Elements of the game that I liked were the idea of using historic measurements to predict intensity of future disasters, and the good level of description about each tool. There was not a large amount of information available on the topics, or links to places where children could find more information.

    Full review at https://tesselationsinnature.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/game-review-disaster-detector/

  4. 7
    Total Game Reviews: 3

    Disaster Detector is an adequate introduction to disaster prevention, although the content is aimed at fairly young users and does not deal with much complexity. It features cute graphics and an easy-to-understand interface, reasonably short playtimes, and a helpfully basic tutorial. In playing just the tutorial and first level, the game did not leave me wanting to play more – the simplicity of the action meant I didn’t expect the game to change or grow much, although I’m sure the other levels are equally helpful in teaching players to predict hurricanes and volcanic eruptions as the first level was in explaining the tell-tale signs of tornadoes and earthquakes.

    The game models the inherent unpredictability of some disasters and the frustration of not being able to get enough funding to prepare for them well, but it’s hard to describe it as fun. I did appreciate the difficulty in having a higher than 50% approval rating without being able to literally see the future and spend every dollar perfectly.

    Overall, it’s an okay introduction to reading the signs of tornadoes and a decent simulation of the frustrations of disaster planning given a public that only really cares about preparation once it’s too late. It could work well in a classroom with an aligned, limited objective.

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