80s, 90s, Quick Lists, Video Games — June 18, 2012 8:30 am

9 Educational Nintendo Games

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Video games can’t all be blood and guts or blue hedgehogs and plumbers. Sometimes game companies have to cram in a little educational value into their offerings to appeal to a wider market (like parents). Below are just a few educational games released for the NES and SNES that got a bit ridiculous.

9 – Captain Novolin

Non-stop diabetic action!

Raya Systems tackles type 1 diabetes in this riveting title. The game was sponsored by Novo Nordisk, who produces Novolin brand insulin. So typical of insulin companies, using videogames geared toward children to peddle their products. Shameless. Here, Captain Novolin must rescue the town’s diabetic mayor who was… kidnapped by evil aliens. Seriously.

8 – Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer Rex Ronan: Traditional Surgeon.

The title of this anti-tobacco videogame from Raya Systems conveys two polar opposites. Rex Ronan, based on name alone, must be a bad-ass ninja of some sort. Seriously, that name is up there with McBain—I expect he’s some type of weight lifting super hero body builder half-robot. The second half of the title informs me that this guy is… a student nurse or something? Experimental Surgeon? That’s like saying I drive creatively while mowing kids down on the sidewalk. Or I that I’m an experimental chef, that sent my husband to the ER that one time I made pasta.

7 – Packy and Marlon

No mom, I said I wanted Zelda!

Also from Raya Systems is Packy and Marlon, a pair of elephants with inexplicably uncatchy names. Packy and Marlon help to educate children with juvenile diabetes in checking their blood glucose and taking their insulin. Can you imagine unwrapping this on Christmas morning? It’s bad enough that you have diabetes, now you have to deal with weird elephants acting like they know you?

6 – Wally Bear and the NO! Gang

That bear looks way too radical to not be doing drugs.

At first glace, I thought the game would be about child molestation, but it’s actually a big ol’ anti-drug commercial wrapped up in a neat NES cartridge. Wally Bear himself looks like your stereotypical early 90s EXTREEEEEEEME advertising mascot—a cartoon character with a backwards hat and sunglasses, riding on a skateboard. Although not a licensed Nintendo game, you have to hand it to American Game Cartridges and AVE—they set up a Wally Bear Hotline when the game was released in 1992 and there are reports that the line was running as long as 2006. Can you imagine the calls those poor people were getting near the end from stoned college kids trying to work their way through this game?

5 – Color a Dinosaur

Ah yes, the paisley-asaurus.

Some games leave much to the imagination. What could Super Mario Bros. really be about? How about Zelda? So much possibility! And then a ground-breaking title like Color a Dinosaur comes along where the player colors a dinosaur. Aaaah! Don’t discredit the game so easily, though. Beyond the limited color palette, players can color their dinosaur with patterns. Outrageous!

4 – Mario is Missing!

Maaaaario where are you?

Mario is Missing! is a notable game for many reasons. For instance, it’s the first Mario game that had Luigi as the forerunner. Also, it sucked balls. This time around, instead of a Princess being kidnapped by Bowser, Mario gets his bitch ass kidnapped forcing Luigi to retrieve him. Nintendo doesn’t just have Luigi stomping goombas to find Mario, they have him embarking on an educational journey, finding artifacts and answering questions about landmarks.

3 – Donkey Kong Jr. Math

Listen kid, if you don’t start learning math, this gorilla is going to f*&$ing kill you!

Maybe if my parents had bought Donkey Kong Jr. Math (and also a Nintendo instead of an Atari 7800), I would know math today. But they didn’t. The object of the game is to climb up vines to obtain the answer to the math question Kong Jr. poses. Luckily, Donkey Kong Jr. Math is also available on the Wii Virtual Console, for those wishing to learn math after all these years. Looks like it’s not too late for me after all.

2 – Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus

Dinosaurs with asthma? Who said Sega does what Ninten-don’t?

First off, Bronchiasaurus isn’t even a real dinosaur so already I am not pleased with this game. Fake dinosaurs aside, Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus eschews diabetes in favor of promoting (awareness) about asthma. This action-packed title from Raya Systems boasts such excitement as: learning how to use an inhaler.

1 – All the Wisdom Tree games

Am I going to hell for this? Probably.

While not necessarily educational in the sense that it’s teaching anything outside of what the Catholic church would (so, guilt), the company most notorious for releasing unlicensed NES games (Color Dreams and later Wisdom Tree) deserves to be first on one list in its lifespan. And with titles like Bible Adventures, Bible Buffet, Spiritual Warfare, Sunday Funday, and Super 3D Noah’s Ark, how could you not enjoy learning about Jesus all the while cursing as you throw your controllers in a fit of rage over shoddy controls and crappy plots.

Did we miss your favorite educational Nintendo game? Leave us a comment below!

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