Episode 111

The Indoor Kids

Educational Gaming with DC…

The Indoor Kids #111: Educational Gaming with DC Pierson

Today, the Indoor Kids welcome old pal DC Pierson to talk about the wonders of educational games that try, with varying degrees of efficiency, to make learning fun. Also, they talk about Saved by the Bell for a weirdly long time.

And yes, we know we forgot to mention an educational game that was very important in your life. We apologize.

Games Discussed:

Math Blaster, Oregon Trail, Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Odell Lake, Mario is Missing, Number Munchers, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, The Legend of Zelda

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  • I vaguely remember a game where you catch bugs with a net, it was a sidestroller that also taught math or grammar I think and to get through doors you had to solve grammar or math problems. The game with the reggies and bashfuls we also had at the Catholic school I went to. We never had Oregan Trail. Kumail you are not alone I never played it before I only know it as a reference

  • I rented Mario is Missing a few times as a kid just because I enjoyed the remixed Mario music. The game itself is boring so I’m glad it’s so easy to listen to the soundtrack nowadays without having to actually play it.

  • My mom worked at MECC, the makers of Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, Amazon Trail, Number Munchers, Word Munchers, etc and I got to play all of these games as a kid – it was wonderful. Oddly enough, these games made me want to get into making games for a living as the people that made them were the nicest, most well meaning people I’ve ever known.

    As an aside, Oregon Trail is an App now. It’s the only game I know of to have been put on so many platforms and that is something that the people that made it are very proud of – as they should be.

    I can’t say that I learned too much from those games in terms of academics, but I did learn that dysentery is a horrible way to die… I also learned my landmarks.

  • I played this game called Paint The Floor or something on the Apple IIe, where you just paint one square at a time trying to fill all of the squares on the board, but there were pictures of animals you had to go around. But I can’t find any trace of it on the internet, not even a screenshot

  • My mom was a elementary school media specialist so we had almost every game you talked about. Math blaster was totally how I learned my times tables.

    FYI, the hole in the ozone layer has slowly been closing since we no longer use CFCs in coolants.

    Now I really want to play some Oregon trail and Carmen Sandiego.

  • Anyone remember Logo? Green screen Apple “drawing” program. Had that little triangle “turtle”, and you punched in numbers and it would draw lines. Depending on the numbers you typed in you either had a straight line, or your screen turned in to a Jackson Pollack.

  • @Spencer if you’re thinking of what I’m thinking of, it was Super Solvers Treasure Mountain, you caught elves in nets that asked you grammar questions and if you get them right, you get clues to where the hidden key is for the door. One of my favorite games.

    Number Munchers was great, loved the animations where the Troggles chase the Cruncher and got caught in some sort of trap.

    Also disappointed by Emily saying she hated Sublime, to each their own but I don’t think there’s anything to hate about their music, I like it and no, I’m not a stoner.

  • This is entirely unrelated to the podcast, but after becoming a fairly consistent listener of it, I remembered that Kumail is in one of my favorite episodes of Bleep Bloop, when they purchase and use a Rock-Band-brand fog machine. Its pretty freakin funny

  • @Geoff,
    Great work in your portfolio. I remember really liking some of these Dead Space maps. Also, I dunno if you’ve heard Kumail’s stand-up on Call of Duty but – what do you think of something like that, I mean, not getting the national language of the level’s real country correct?

    I also don’t like Sublime. I am sorry

  • Is it just me, or does the game Kumail is describing in the beginning, the porny one where you have to answer adult trivia questions to play, sound a lot like the original Leisure Suit Larry?

  • @Brisn OMG! OMG you have BLOWN my mind! I went to a tiny Catholic school and we had this ancient nun Sister Ruth who taught “computers” (a TV with a keyboard and green screen) in the basement of the school and she would give us instructions to move the turtle! I thought this was strictly a Holy Name experience. So glad I didn’t dream it

  • Also, NEVER played Oregon Trail! No idea … but my lil Catholic school did not have it! I just had the stupid lil turtle, and played some early 80’s version of Jeopardy. I missed out on so much guys…hold me.

  • I remember playing a game similar to the Oregon Trail on our old TRS-80 computers in elementary school, I believe the title was “Fur Trader” … Anyone else heard of it?

  • Mario is Missing is one of only two “Mario” title games I finished completely (the other being Mario Land 2 for the Gameboy). I loved it. But what I really loved was the later version of Carmen Sandiego that had video of the actress that played the Chief actually talking to you as her gumshoe.

    I was also the child of educators, which resulted in having almost exclusively only educational games. Often, they were the teacher bonus items for reaching Scholastic book order goals and, as my mother’s school didn’t have computers in the classrooms until the 21st century, those would come home for my enjoyment.

  • I think the “educational” game kumail mentioned was leisure suit larry, my friend had it on his 386 and the trivia questions were quiet hard. Always had to work them into a conversation with your parents. The only lesson I can remember from the game is if you have sex with the prostitute without a condom you get aids and die

  • Growing up in Oregon, I had a weird relationship with these games. Oregon Trail is about OUR settlers. Odell Lake is in OUR mountains. There was another pioneer game where a little girl lost her wagon train and had to survive alone for a set time. Annie something? Anyway, I thought those games were made by someone local specifically FOR Oregon schools. I didn’t know otherwise until High School was almost over.

    On the Commodore 64 I also remember trying to play a game called Algebra Dragon before I had any clue what algebra meant. Anyone remember that?

  • Typing of The Dead has to be the best typing tutor ever made! It’s a legit fun game and surprisingly violent. Every letter you type was a gunshot that blows away zombies, which makes typing immensely satisfying.

  • disclaimer: in the spirit of this podcast, i didn’t look this info up, i’m just trying to remember high school Latin…

    Algae are plural, alga would be singular. And since algae are tiny, you’d never notice a single alga.

  • I had “The Black Hole: Space Probe: Math” for the TRS-80 with use of cassette drive. Remember “The Black Hole?” A dark sci-fi Disney that was Disney’s first non-G-rated movie that is in need of a remake. I remember that I had to solve some math problems to make a serum for group of colonists in somekind of cryogenic hibernation.(a term that I looked on the Wiki via “2001: A Space Odyssey”). There was another story but I do not remember.

  • You guys should play Cube World, its $25 and it was inspired by many other games. It kinda looks like Minecraft but its all about the adventure and the combat is like Diablo and you can play with other people. It is in beta so there’s no quest right now so you just get to run around, make armor, food, and potions. Go to

  • Hot Dog Stand. We played that so much in school. You basically had to run a hot dog stand in a sports stadium. You had to do the finances and ordering and all that.

    There was a character named Frank the Weather Weiner, and that’s all that really matters.

  • My friend and I spent our 5th grade recesses inside, making animations of Furbies killing stick figures in Hyperstudio. DC dropped a nostalgia bomb at the end there.

  • MARIO TEACHES TYPING was my jam! Anyone remember it? Pretty sure it came with my home computer, circa 1996. I think we had a Macintosh Performa, not sure what model.