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EcoQuest I and II

Sierra’s EcoQuest series was brilliant. The point-and-click adventure starred pre-teen do-gooder Adam, and found him single-handedly fighting against the evils of oil rigs and people who don’t put their tin cans in the right bin. Throughout the games Adam meets a series of sickly, orphaned animals that send him on quests as part of EcoQuest’s not-so-subtle guilt-the-player strategy, convincing children of the nineties that every time they litter, a baby lemur will get melted into jet fuel. And yet somehow under its thick, suffocating blanket of tedious activism EcoQuest was also a legitimately fun game.

This was a title that tackled serious issues related to harvesting rainforests and polluting oceans. But it also had talking bats! More horrifying world truths should be revealed through talking animals. This is a truism that the games industry still seems to be struggling with.


Lemonade Stand

With great lemons comes great responsibility. A lemon saved is a lemon earned. And of course, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. These are the truths that Lemonade Stand taught us. The game begins with lemons and a dream to become the number one producer of bitter sweet drinks that can be bought on the outskirts of cul-de-sacs.

As your foray into competitive world of drink stand entrepreneurialism, the game combines a Nike sweatshop work ethic with the great American pastime of selling cups of things outside of your house. And for a game developed in 1977, it allowed for a hell of a lot of min/maxing opportunities, letting you manage your stand around the clock while studying the outcome of weather changes on your sales. In fact, it met with enough success to be included with Apple II computers right through until the eighties.


Number Munchers

Hi! Which of these are a multiplier of 2? You can circle answers directly on to your screen in felt.
 
46, 5, 7, 40, 5, 30


Above: Doing the math in Number Munchers 

You didn't circle the answers at all, did you? It’s probably because the limited math part of your brain is made of mush. It’s gotten soft because you haven’t been sharpening your mathematical mind with edutainment titles like Number Munch. This was a classic that managed to grab hold of the leaky minds of 12-year-olds in the 1980s and got them interested in math by incorporating victory conditions and cartoon monster things called troggles, who look a bit like those fish they find with vestigial legs on their back from radiation exposure. Troggles would eat correct answers or shift the number-board around in places, limiting possible high-scores. To this day “Troggles” is a viable excuse for not filling out your taxes properly. 


Above: Also, let’s not forget about LOGO. It was a programming language designed to aid constructivist teaching. But most of us remember it as “that game with the turtle robot that drew patterns on paper”
 
May 13, 2010


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31 comments

  • HardNoks - June 22, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    What? No Math Blasters?
  • jsty3105 - December 28, 2013 5:13 a.m.

    Adventures in Math on the PC helped me get great results in my maths exams as a wee 'un
  • g1rldraco7 - December 26, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    Odell Lake and Number Crunchers were the first computer games I ever played. Those were very fun for simple games.
  • Oujisama - December 26, 2013 8:10 p.m.

    Oregon Trails all the god damn way. As a child I didn't even realize I was "learning". It was just a fun freaking game.
  • shawksta - December 25, 2013 3:16 p.m.

    Mario is Missing was one hell of a drug
  • FamousMortimer - May 17, 2010 7:13 a.m.

    Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space was great. Great graphics (for 1994), and taught quite a bit about both the US and Soviet Space programs. Can even be had on some abandonware sites, if anybody is curious.
  • barrage7667 - May 17, 2010 2:37 a.m.

    OMG YES WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS CARMEN SANDIEGO WAS MY GAME!!! i played tht non stop when i was a kid. by the time i had stopped the game i had solved like, 100 crimes
  • lymanzaar - May 16, 2010 11:49 p.m.

    OH MY GOD! When I was in Second grade, my class was the only room with old apple computers. When ever we had indoor recess during rain, we all played Number Munchers. I could never remember the name of the game though.
  • lovinmyps3 - May 16, 2010 6:09 p.m.

    The only game I got back then was a Mario typing game, where hitting the right keys made him jump.
  • slimjim441 - May 15, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    Holy hell! I thought I was the last person on the planet who knew the game Number Muncher! That's awesome, oh the memories... P.S. Half-Life and Portal are educational. They teach physics and critical thinking.
  • jmcgrotty - May 15, 2010 5:40 a.m.

    The best way to ever learn to type, and still is, are through MUD's. I know it doesn't really fit in with the topic, but it's still too true a fact to not be mentioned.
  • Metroidhunter32 - May 15, 2010 1:37 a.m.

    I actually like the Where in the world games, but I agree, math blaster should be on here.
  • drunkenfish - May 14, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    math blaster, zoombinies, the one where you play as the guy with the ice picks...and for some reason we played a lot of bugdom in school. I remember getting a mac when i was 9 and my friend and i literally had 10 other kids over and threw a party when we beat the game. Killed the giant red ant. 10 levels of good.
  • JoeMasturbaby - May 14, 2010 7:14 p.m.

    i played Math Blaster so much in 3-4th grade at school. my middle school had a weird puzzle game where you make Rube Goldberg-type things to get certain objectives.
  • OnyxOblivion - May 14, 2010 7:08 p.m.

    Putt Putt? Spy Fox? Pajama Sam? Freddy Fish? Any of those ring a bell, people?
  • foxbowser42 - May 14, 2010 6:38 p.m.

    I definitely think Mario Teaches Typing should be on here. My favorite old school educational game was Putt Putt and Fatty Bear.
  • TanookiMan - May 14, 2010 6:01 p.m.

    Yeah, mrio mad me nto the typr I m today :)
  • Spacegrass - May 14, 2010 3:38 p.m.

    Odell Lake also had a sequel, Odell Down Under. It was set in the Great Barrier Reef. Its campaign mode let you start as a lame little fish and work your way up to playing as a great white shark. It was awesome. Also, Mario Teaches Typing definitely deserves a place on this list. Also also, I'm still waiting for Uwe Boll to make an Oregon Trail movie, featuring Meat Loaf as a buffalo and Udo Kier as the villain, Dysentery.
  • GenerationKill - May 14, 2010 1:56 p.m.

    I miss number munchers.
  • philipshaw - May 14, 2010 10:26 a.m.

    “That game with the turtle robot that drew patterns on paper” was designed by Ryan Clements dad. Ryan Clements for those who don't know is one of the best editors at IGN

Showing 1-20 of 31 comments

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