List of Mario educational games

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The popularity of the Super Mario series led to the release of several spin-off Mario educational games from 1988 to 1996. Nintendo had little involvement in the development of these games; they were created by various other developers, including The Software Toolworks and Interplay Entertainment. Some of the titles were released exclusively for either the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Super NES, or for personal computers, while others were released on two or more of those platforms. The Mario educational games were generally designed for use by children in preschool or kindergarten and focused on developing skills ranging from language and typing to geography and history. The educational games were not well-received, with many critics and gamers labeling them as some of the worst Mario games ever made.[1] Many of them have spawned Internet memes.

I Am a Teacher: Super Mario Sweater[edit]

I Am a Teacher: Super Mario Sweater (アイアムアティーチャースーパーマリオのセーター Ai amu a Tīchā: Sūpā Mario no Sētā?) is a Famicom Disk System game released in 1988 only in Japan. It was designed by Royal Industries Co., Ltd., a Japanese appliance and sewing machine company. Using the program, players could design the sweater they want and the company would make it for 2900 yen (~$24).

Mario Discovery Series[edit]

The "Mario Discovery Series" is a label given to five Mario educational games that were developed by The Software Toolworks.[2]

Mario is Missing![edit]

Mario Is Missing! NES cover art

Mario is Missing! is a geography-based game for the PC, Macintosh, Super NES and NES. It was developed by The Software Toolworks and released in 1992 for PC and SNES. In 1993, the NES version was made and developed by Radical Entertainment. The first two versions were published by Mindscape, and the NES version was published by Nintendo. It features very similar sprites to those of Super Mario World (SNES) and Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES).

Mario Is Missing! is the first Mario game to feature only Luigi as the starring character, which did not occur again until Luigi's Mansion in 2001.

Plot[edit]

Bowser sets up a castle in Antarctica, and plans to use many hair dryers from Hafta Havit, a mail order company, to melt Antarctica's ice and flood Earth. He sends Koopas to cities across Earth to steal artifacts to fund his operation. Mario, Luigi and Yoshi travel to Bowser's castle to stop him. Luigi is hesitant to go in, so Mario goes by himself and is kidnapped by Bowser, prompting Luigi to rescue him. This plot is not explicitly included in the Super Nintendo version.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot of the NES version

Luigi progresses through the game by completing levels in Bowser's castle; each floor is guarded by one Koopaling and contains a number of pipes which transport Luigi to a city containing Koopas. Once a floor is completed, Luigi must defeat the Koopaling guarding that floor to proceed to the next.

The main gameplay consists of moving around a city in side-scrolling manner while jumping on Koopas to collect stolen artifacts (pieces of famous landmarks).[3] Luigi then must "secure" the city by taking these artifacts to their respective locations and correctly answering two questions about the landmark. Once an artifact is returned, the landmark is reopened. During the quest to return all three artifacts to their proper landmarks, Luigi must determine his location to receive the assistance of Yoshi by using a device called the Globulator. If Luigi takes Yoshi to the correct location, he can ride him for double the walking and running speed. Once the exit pipe is found, Luigi is returned to the castle as long as he has Yoshi with him to scare the Pokey into the pipe; otherwise he will be unable to return to the castle. He can then proceed to another town to do it again.

In each city, Luigi is able to question the locals to gain clues as to his current location, the general direction of remaining Koopas, and information about the affected landmarks. He is given a map showing where information booths, people and Koopas are in the city. After returning the artifacts to the locations, Luigi takes photographs of the places he visits, which can be viewed any time later in the game.

The game has a difficulty level ranging from preschool all the way up to "adult" (i.e. college) difficulty.

Mario's Time Machine[edit]

Main article: Mario's Time Machine

Mario's Early Years! games[edit]

The Mario's Early Years! games were released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The three games were Mario's Early Years! Fun with Letters; Mario's Early Years! Fun with Numbers; and Mario's Early Years! Preschool Fun (known in the United Kingdom as Mario's Playschool[citation needed]). The games were released in September, October, and November 1994, respectively, and all support the SNES Mouse peripheral. The games contain Mario, Princess Peach and Yoshi on a wooden boat traveling from island to island, learning about various subjects. All three games use the same game engine.

Fun with Numbers and Fun with Letters were both directed by Andy Iverson and Henrik Markarian, and Preschool Fun was directed by Peter Lipson. While the games feature some remixes of Super Mario World music, original music was composed by Rob Wallace and Sam Powell.

Nintendo Power awarded Fun with Letters a score of 2.95 out of 5[4] and Preschool Fun a score of 2.725 out of 5.[5]

Mario Teaches Typing games[edit]

Mario Teaches Typing was released on personal computers and was designed to teach typing skills to children. The game was developed by Interplay and published by Nintendo. It was first released for MS-DOS in 1991 and then for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh in 1995. Mario is voiced by Ronald B. Ruben in the floppy disk version and by Charles Martinet in the CD-ROM version. A sequel, Mario Teaches Typing 2, was developed by Interplay and published by Nintendo in 1996. Mario is voiced only by Martinet in the sequel.

Gameplay[edit]

Mario Teaches Typing includes three selectable characters: Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. The game displays two pairs of hands which show which finger to use; for example, if the player has to type "A", the leftmost finger is highlighted. If the player makes an error, the cursor does not advance until they enter the correct key. After time ends, the exercise ends and a chalkboard screen appears, displaying statistics on how well the player performed, including words per minute. Mario Teaches Typing 2 adds additional gameplay features, including a customizable certificate of achievement, color-coded on-screen keyboard, customizable lesson plans, and the infamous Mario head.

Unlike the first game, Mario Teaches Typing 2 features a story in which Mario and Luigi encounter a magical typewriter. After Mario incorrectly types a phrase that would destroy Bowser's castle, the typewriter explodes into three pieces. The pieces of the typewriter are retrieved as the player progresses through the game lessons; when the typewriter is fully repaired Mario is able to type the phrase correctly, resulting in the destruction of Bowser's castle.

Mario's Game Gallery[edit]

Main article: Mario's Game Gallery

Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up[edit]

Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up is a children's computer coloring game, featuring Mario and Luigi, released in 1991 for the PC. Players can paint Mario and other Nintendo characters.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shimp, Emily (1 June 2009). "Super Mario: The Educational Games". Yahoo. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mario is Missing! Prototype". Nintendo Player. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  3. ^ http://retro.ign.com/articles/897/897225p1.html
  4. ^ "Mario's Early Years! Fun with Letters Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Mario's Early Years! Preschool Fun Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 9 April 2012.