Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Top 10 1980s Educational Computer Games

As a child of the 1980s, this article about the 10 Most Influential Education Games of the 1980s hit home.  I remember playing most of these games, but I was never that good at them. I had trouble falling for the whole gaming can be fun trick my teachers tried. Why would I want to ruin a burgeoning love for videogames with something as silly as education? Plus, we only had one Apple IIc in our elementary school classrooms so getting time at the keyboard was tough. I also wasn't about to use my family's PC for education. I knew back then to never mix business with pleasure.

First on the list is Oregon Trail. I remember playing this only for the buffalo shoot range. I assume there was some educational part that may have made its way through my thick (read: stubborn) head, but I don't remember that part. I never made it to the end of the trail, often succumbing to dysentery, which was an early form of my lactose intolerance. Shooting buffalo made the game interesting, learning about our ancestors traversing the country wasn't.


It's so easy for kids in the NYC suburbs to relate to the trials and tribulations on the Oregon Trail.

Second on the list is Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, a game that introduced me to the copious amount of information in an almanac. I remember writing down clues about the villain and feverishly thumbing through the almanac, but like Oregon Trail, I'm not sure it ever kept my attention long enough to actually capture Carmen or one of the V.I.L.E. henchmen. My attention span was only so long in elementary school.


I never cut it as a private investigator.

SimCity is #3 on the list, but I never got involved with this one. It seemed like too much work, and my home computer didn't have the power to run such demanding software. The few minutes I'd spend playing it were used to create total chaos and building fires. I never played Reader Rabbit (#4), Math Blaster (#5), and Mavis Beacon Typing (#6), preferring to play learning games that at least tried to hide that they were teaching me.

I do recall putting a few hours into Lemonade Stand at #7. I had no idea I was applying economic theory when I just wanted to lower the price to gain more customers. Score one for the edutainment gaming industry. Number Munchers (#8) was a solid title, but lacked much replay value. I remember the cut scenes repeating a lot. Wikipedia says there were only 6 scenes and that sounds plausible.


Once again proving that if you squint really hard, you won't notice the awful graphics.

I know nothing about ZORK at #9, but do recall enjoying many rounds of solitaire (#10). Back in the day, I was excited to download freeware with 50 solitaire modes of play, but it took too long to learn each game's rules so the generic solitaire did the trick. Why play a game with real cards by yourself when you can play the game with fake cards by yourself and develop carpal tunnel syndrome? Who knew it would become the office time wasting standard until the World Wide Web? How working drones ever wasted their time before all of this computerized fun, I'll never understand.

1 comment:

krishan said...

hello sir really i never see this type blog awesome 10 best education game detail i like it thanks for share It’s really informative stuff.
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