Top Ten Educational Games

Top Ten Educational Games


[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?

100 thoughts on “Top Ten Educational Games

  1. just got some of the humongous entertainment ones on sale. Did anyone else ever notice that early putt-putt looked terrifying?

  2. ahh learning company, reader rabbit, magic school bus, cluefinders, math blaster, and that one company that did Spy Fox and Freddie Fish and putt putt and pajama sam. Funny I remember the titles but not the company. (Ohhh HE games…riiiight)

    Gotta say im happy u put HE and cluefinders at the top, those were def most memorable.

  3. She knew all the answers, but gave joke answers because she figured her teacher knew she knew them. And her dad invented the robots and the time machine.

  4. I've played "Word Munchers", "Treasure Mountain", 'Treasure Cove", a musical "Magic School Bus" game, several JumpStart games (I finished Third Grade more than once), and several Carmen Sandiego games (Where In The World, Where In The USA, Where In Time, and Word Detective).

  5. Weird detail: Humongous Entertainment also made a bunch of "Blue's Clues" games. Sure, it was a licensed property, but I thought the education and quirky humor fit perfectly with the rest of Humongous' games. I'd call it an honorable mention.

  6. I actually have CD copies of "Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego" and "Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego". Haven't played them in forever, but I freaking LOVED these games as a kid.

    Time to grab a USB CD player… >.>

  7. Hey Josh! Did you happen to play Reading Blaster Vocabulary? It is definitely in MY top 10 educational games, and was definitely a VERY entertaining game for kids. When you released this video, I was scrambling my brain for a week trying to remember the name of this game. I remembered the game, but not the name, and it DROVE ME INSANE!!! But now that I remember, I do recommend it to you, even if it IS more suited for kids.

  8. Word Detective was my fave Carmen San Diego title and I still play it time and again. Same can be said for Clue Finders

  9. My absolute favorite childhood game was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego Treasures of Knowledge. It was a more modern and advanced game that literally required you to do actual research on countries in the game's world database in order to figure out where to go for clues. The plot revolved around you searching for artifacts Carmen stole which tied into a bigger mystery

  10. What I like about Owen is that he's Asian American, but he wasn't a brainiac like Leslie & Santiago.(Even better, the black mustached guy, Alastair Loveless, was voiced by Charles Martinet!)

  11. As a 90's kid myself, I was hoping Carmen Sandiego would make it on the list.I had a huge crush on her, and her henchwoman Patty Larceny. So glad you mentioned the game shows, I'd have done almost anything to be on that show when I was a kids.

  12. Wow. So much nostalgia. Though there are a lot here that are newer than my elementary years. And my school had AppleII computers with green-screen monitors, so scan-lines and no color.

  13. Clue finders yes! Thank god! I just felt a nolstagia kick tonight, been searching for that series. I even left several comments in other videos for help finding this game. Thank you!

  14. Fearless girl with glasses, tech-savvy Hispanic kid, and Asian kid who's just kinda there. Hey, they might be simple characterizations but at least they're not the lazy, obvious stereotypes.

  15. You mentioned Humongous Entertainment and didn’t mention Buzzy the Knowledge Bug? That anteater mini game in the jungle game was a lot of fun.

  16. Dude ! That reader rabbit math one ! Dude … I’ve been trying to figure out what game that was for a while now haha I jut couldn’t remember. What I could remember was all messed up too . I thought there was a fox with a Indiana Jones hat haha but it’s just a lion xD
    Yo … I finally found the game I played to death as a kid haha thanks man.

    Now to find that one that was like … idk but one part of it you pick kimonos for different seasons and another part was teaching something about the old lead pipes 🤔 a history like game … no animals for that one … anyone know it? I don’t think it was the Carmen one … but maybe …

  17. Oh gosh you were like 99.999% accurate on those humongous entertainment games. My childhood was obsessed with those lol “equivalent of an avenger cameo” yes

  18. my god looking through all this brought back so many memories!
    #9 was the first educational game i played (i think it was 1st grade or kindergarden)
    #6 i think i only played the oldest level game
    #3 …. played like all of them! XD
    #2 5th and 6th grade math classes

  19. OMG! I remember super seekers when I was still in grade school, and that was BEFORE I moved out! I played the one where the guy is in the snowy mountain! Im sure it wasnt THAT amazing but still, it was fun to me back then.

  20. There was one game not on this list that I’m trying to remember the name of. It was a pc game and it was a point and click. All the characters were animals. It might’ve been a latter reader rabbit thing.. I remember a water park level and a lot of content I just can’t remember the name lmao

  21. I remember playing Jumpstart: First Grade, Reader Rabbit, and Math Blaster as a kid! I didn't get a whole lot out of any of those games. With Jumpstart, while I did play some of the mini games, I mostly just messed around with the environments to watch some of the animations. With one of the Reader Rabbit games, I often got myself caught in limbo, as I didn't like how the game got harder when I made progress (it was even worse with Read, Write, and Type, as I always kept myself stuck on one letter; on purpose). And with Math Blaster, The Search for Spot, all I wanted to do in that game was shoot the trash. I didn't even bother with the other mini games; I just wanted to stick with what I was comfortable with, and play the game my way.

  22. Cluefinders at number one? I approve, thought i may have playedcthe later grades roo early so i wouldn't understand them or just barely figured the puzzles out

  23. Don't know who did the captions, but you screwed up a bit during the Carmen segment. The captions should read V.I.L.E. and it should be Chief instead of Commissioner.

  24. Oh wow did not expect to see Oregon Trail on this my dad sometimes compare modern old west themed games with this

  25. Nitro type I know josh has probably never heard of it but I wanted to give it recognition that and the Oregon trail are the educational games I played besides coolmath games

  26. I remember jumpstart 1st grade and in that you had to help someone’s brother to beat a bully in a race….. ya that sounds weird now that I am thinking that.

  27. I remember the magic school bus but I'd rather watch something else I am sick of learning because school sucks so bad.

  28. Thank you for having Clue Finders on the list! I forgot what the name was to this game series and I appreciate you reminding me!

  29. Jump start 3rd grade is the best educational game of all time in terms of story. Prove me wrong. That game is my childhood.

  30. Fun fact, Carmen Sandiego actually has a cameo appearance in one of the top 3 placements. Not saying which one tho 😛

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