Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Edutainment of My Youth

As a child, If you were lucky enough to attend a school that had working computers, chances are you spent every second of your computer lab time playing whatever shitty edutainment software they had installed.

Here are three of the games I would routinely fake sickness/injury to stay inside at lunch time and play.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Aw hell yeah! If your school had this one then you know what I'm talking about. This was like the holy grail of edutainment. It was so damn fun. I knew a kid once that stabbed another kid in the leg with a pencil crayon because he stole his turn.

Basically you play as some guy in a blue trenchcoat with an unfortunate birth defect that caused him to be born without a face. Creepy, I know. But as a kid you don't give a shit about that sort of thing. The point of the game was to run around levels collecting parts to build a go-kart, boat, flying machine, or some other vehicle. Then you raced this mad scientist who sort of resembles Dr. Wily.

It was cool because you could find different parts, and some were better than others. You needed to find the parts that were fastest and most aerodynamic in order to win the race. And what kid doesn't want to build a ripping fast go-kart? Maybe there was more to the game than that but honestly it's all I remember.

Dinosaur Safari

This is one of the first edutainment games I played on our school's Macintosh computers, and it blew my fucking MIND! I think the name said it all. A find dinosaurs?! Holy fudging turd balls I had to play this game. I once traded a classmate half a case of pogs so he'd push me in a puddle and I could go inside to play computer. It was so worth it.

The goal of the game was pretty simple. You have some kind of time machine I guess? And your job is to go back and take pictures of dinosaurs. You had crystals for film, or something. Later on you unlocked upgrades like a radar, or video camera. Some of the dinosaurs would attack you, which was really scary.

I have no idea what the ultimate goal of the game was, since I never managed to get very far. Some things man wasn't meant to know I guess...

Cross Country Canada

Another instant classic. This was like our version of the Oregon Trail game, except with less dysentery. I guess it was supposed to teach kids about trucking? Yeah, way to inspire confidence in our youth! It was a simulation where you drove a truck across different provinces trying to make deliveries on time while shouting phrases like "Ten-four good buddy!" and "Breaker one-nine, this here's the rubber duck!"

Maybe that last part was optional. I don't remember. This game was fun as long as you didn't actually do what it told you to. We pretty much spent all our time putting chains on our tires to rip up the pavement, or getting robbed by hitch hikers. Falling asleep at the wheel and leaving our trailer unlocked so all the cargo gets stolen.

You know, all the stuff real truckers do.

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