[Intro music] [Guitar Solo] [Choral Guitar combo=win] [Cue childhood memories] [Awesome Fire-effect] [Some 8-bit music] Josh: Think back to the 90s and early 2000s, When edu-tainment was still a thing. You’re in about… say, 4th grade or so. It’s your class’s turn to use the COMPUTER LAB! Chances are you’ve played at least one of the ten games on this list. Now, I’m specifically judging games that are MADE to be educational, not just games that HAPPEN to be educational. Like “Age of Mythology;” While it’s a good sparknotes of Ancient mythology, It doesn’t really count as an educational game. Also, I’m judging these games based off what it taught, how effectively it taught it, and how it stands as a game. Finally, these games have to actually teach you something so… No “Mario is Missing.” Thank. Goodness. The munchers series had simple premises: You’re a giant, frog-thing, and you had to eat OTHER things that corresponds to a statement thing that tells you what things to eat. It tested your ability to think fast and solve math/language problems under pressure. The catch? Monsters come and try to muck you up. (1 point for censorship) The early Apple versions were definitely more fast-paced and frantic which could actually make a decent modern iPad game, now that I think about it (DO IT APPLE!) The later versions utilized a lot more animation and color, so they were a little slower. Trade off? You had a few more monsters that could affect your game in more ways. Also, after a few rounds, they would also do book parodies, with some of the characters. Force is equal to the universal, gravitational constant times the mass of the first object times the mass of the second object over the square of the distance between the centers of the two objects. ‘What does that mean?’ asked Dorothy. [Flinging noise, followed by horn] It means I landed on my nose. [Steam sound effect] That was funnier when I was… dumber. This was a really fun reading comprehension and sleuth game-series. The idea of the Super Seeker franchise is to catch things which give you clues, to find a key of some sort. Once you get all the clues, you drop a resource to find a key. This key lets you progress further through the game. I’m not entirely sure why you need a key to climb a ladder, or why getting sucked into a shell sends you to the beach, but… okay. The objective of these games is to collect stolen treasure to return to a treasure chest, But.. you get to keep some for some reason. “Treasure Mountain: teaching kids to help people for selfish reasons for the age of 6!” Special mention to “Midnight Rescue” which plays “Hall of the Mountain King” AND “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” throughout, AND allows you to throw a custard pie at Dr. Wily’s face. Also, take the same sleuthing ability and apply that to a game where the culprit is one of five cool-looking evil paint robots. [They’re gonna steal it] [Uh Oh, trauma ahead] Ms. Frizzle: Seatbelts, everyone! The Magic School Bus was a GREAT cartoon that made learning fun and interesting. Were the games just as good? [Obviously, or else they wouldn’t be here.] Well, that depends. A learning experience can be much different depending on whether or not you prefer to personally engage in the material. So if you’re more of a hands-on learner, kid you, with these games was bound to have a field day. Or… Field Trip! (minus 1 point for bad pun) Hey, it’s the Magic School Bus! It wouldn’t be complete without it. (Josh, you are NOT Carlos) The Magic School Bus games were basic point-and-click. If something fascinated you, you inspected it, and the game would give you the knowledge about it, or make the object do something really silly. They were also full of small mini-games where they would metaphorically show you how something worked. In the Liver game, for instance, you had to drop balls into the correct slots so the liver could distribute the proper chemicals to the body. In the Space installment, some of the minigames amount to platforming sections. The controls are pretty wonky in them, but hey, you try moving in space. (Challenge Accepted!) Liz: We’re going to do something with Ms. Frizzle that you could NEVER do in real life. (1 point for subtle innuendo) Number Seven is Reader Rabbit. While I was never as attached to these games despite their reputation, I still think it’s very much worth asking: “Does it do its job?” “Does it teach what it needs to teach?” “Does it do so in an entertaining way for the kids?” “Does it also do so in a way that makes this a glorious so-bad-its-good thing for when these kids finally grow up?” The answer to all of them is: Yes! [Psycho Theme] VERY MUCH Yes. As its name implies, Reader Rabbit was primarily focused on developing a child’s reading comprehension skills. These game accomplished this through some simple-yet-cute-and-clever minigames. For example, Reading Journey 2 had one at the end of each world where you had to build a bridge by filling it with logs labeled with the most logical word. [It’s totally intentional] I swear to Arceus that wasn’t intentional! [Psycho’s Return!] Jump Start was a carefully-crafted series of minigames that served to educate. The earlier years such as Kindergarten or First Grade were pretty much negligible in terms of story or characters. But, once it started hitting the later grades, that’s when they actually started putting some effort into the storytelling. Well, compared to MOST educational games. Special mention goes to the Third-Grade edition. So, baby, honey, sweetie… Lemme get this straight… You sucked at history, and wanted revenge for a bad grade So you invented ROBOTS and TIME TRAVEL, sent them back in time to make your wrong answers right, and in turn, made an orangutan the President of the United States. Wow, was that a premonition, Lanky Kong with a combover. Not only that, you had to play Jump Start Third Grade TWENTY FIVE Times to get the TRUE ending. You’ll be stuck in Third Grade forever Who wants that? Damn, not here (minus 1 point for language. Current score: 0) Now THIS was a really cool idea. Carmen Sandiago is a master thief, and your job is to track down her and her chronies. Throughout these games you travel through time and space finding clues to chase down vile criminals, ending with the capture of Carmen Sandiago. Commissioner: Carmen is coming to collect the loot! You need to find and bust the crook before the hand off! These games mostly exist to teach you geography and history with the occasional dabble into grammer and math. What, was she gonna steal MATH from us? Actually, that would be much appreciated. Okay, I know I’m supposed to be talking about the computer games here, but I want to give special mention to the game shows: “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago?” and “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiago?” No kid in the 90s would refuse being a contestant on one of these. Fighting a bunch of supervillains across time and space to the tune of that awesome theme song. [Carmen Sandiago Theme Song] [Josh acting like a fool for his audience] [Josh trying to dance with a leg cramp.] [Watch out for Josh’s angry face!] “You have died of dysentery.” Next number: [Really Josh?] Okay, okay, I’ll talk about it a little more. Oregon Trail was a survival-crafting game before every game nowadays decided to become that You had to travel forwards all the while hunting for food and avoiding the things that usually killed people during that time, such as measles, snake bite, drowning, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, exhaustion, gunshots, boredom… Okay I’m making that last one up, but I think this was a really cool way to educate kids about what people had to deal with in the olden days. Before the wonders and conveniences of modern technology You lived in a land where ANYTHING and EVERYTHING could kill you. Like Australia still. SERIOUSLY. HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH THIS KIND OF WILDLIFE? This slot goes to all of the Humongous Entertainment games. Who is Humongous Entertainment, you ask? Well… They are the guys responsible for Putt-Putt, Fatty Bear, Pajama Sam, Spy Fox, and Big-Thinkers. Mr. Rochon, Fire the Orbital Nostalgia Cannon. Alex: Command received. Activating Orbital Nostalgia Cannon! Three… Two. One. FIRING FOR EFFECT! Josh: Humongous Entertainment was responsible for all those mildly terrifying googly-eyed adventure games you LOVED as a kid. Exploring undersea life with Freddi Fish, urban life with Fatty Bear, spy life with Spy Fox, anything spooky with Pajama Sam, or pretty much anything with Putt-Putt. Putt-Putt did everything. You were always guaranteed to have a good time with kooky characters, and solving puzzles while learning trivia and reasoning skills. But really, a lot of what gave these games charm were the characters. So, when 9-year old me saw FREDDI FISH appear in a secret area in “Putt-Putt saves the zoo,” That was like the equivalent of an Avengers cameo [Someone please make this. Seriously, we need this.] What makes Math Blaster so good is the mini-games were a lot more action-oriented than other educational games. Typing math answers quickly in order to get more shots, choosing the correct answer out of four answers while avoiding getting hit, Making equations make sense, and the always-iconic make your number fit between two numbers platforming sections, which are probably the ones that were the most fun. Many of these games were on time limits as well, which trained your ability to think quickly as well as your ability to learn. Story-wise, there’s usually some villain you have to defeat like the trash alien, or my personal favorite: The fiendish and just plain gross Gelator, the brain drainer. Hey, Queen Slug-for-a-butt! You got a new suitor, it’s a match made in a dumpster! The Cluefinders series centered around four adventuring kids: You had the fearless leader Joni, the techno-genius Santiago, the booksmart Leslie, and Owen, who’s just there. Together, we journey with them through the Mayan Rainforest to prevent a dragon from burning it down, Some Egyptian ruins so that Set, god of violence and disorder doesn’t take over the world, A living island that’s constantly trying to kill you, and an underground empire of flesh-eating plant people. Cluefinders didn’t screw around! Like Jump Start, Cluefinders incorporates tailored minigames to each grade, However, these games are a LOT more conceptually interesting: Like getting a spelling test from Thoth, egyptian god of wisdom, Repairing circuits to scavenge for seafloor artifacts, or being given EIGHT HOURS to stop a polluting city, otherwise a plant empire will destroy it. There’s a green joke in there somewhere… Meh, too easy. Like Humongous Entertainment, these games were chock-full of memorable characters I remember many of them not only doing cool stuff, but silly stuff as well *maniacal laugh of Sir Alistair Loveless* Loveless: I swallowed my mint! Josh: Hey, that was the PINNACLE of humor when I was nine. Cluefinders were the ultimate in educational entertainment, combining good characters, interesting plot-lines, fun minigames, and good education, There is no better choice for Number One. I’m the Fiery Joker, and me make learning gooder. (And that’s why we love you, Josh) KA-BOOM!!! What game did you forget, Josh? The Arthur games? Brain Age?