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Top 10 Educational Video Games

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Nick Williams You suckers! Didn’t you realize that the whole time you thought you were playing a cool new video game, you were actually LEARNING? Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Educational Video Games. For this list we’ve selected the best games that also double as educational tools. Therefore, games like “Civilization” and the “Professor Layton” series don’t count, since their primary focuses aren’t specifically educational. Special Thanks to our users "mac121mr0" "Jacob Koopmann" "kaeshmsoshi" & "HelloJapan" for submitting this idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Nick Williams

Top 10 Educational Video Games


You suckers! Didn’t you realize that the whole time you thought you were playing a cool new video game, you were actually *GASP,* LEARNING? Welcome to Watchmojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Educational Video Games.

For this list we’ve selected the best games that also double as educational tools. Therefore, games like “Civilization” and the “Professor Layton” series don’t count, since their primary focuses aren’t specifically educational.

#10: “Learning with Leeper” (1983)

One of storied PC developer Sierra’s earliest titles, “Learning with Leeper” is a series of mini-games that teach kids basic concepts like letter and shape recognition. The selectable mini games show a lot of variety, from a colouring-book style painting game to a randomly generated maze game, and the graphics were actually really nice and colourful for the early ‘80s.

#9: “Math Blaster” series (1983-2009)

Part of the broader “Blaster Learning Systems” series, “Math Blaster” is an iconic part of any 80s kid’s childhood. Combining basic arithmetic problems with fun space combat missions that took place both in the 1st person and in side-scrolling levels was a recipe for success, and tricked, we mean enthralled, thousands of kids into learning their multiplication tables. Unfortunately, the quality of the later games started to go downhill as the characters and style went through transformations in an attempt to market the game to new audiences and generations.

#8: “The Incredible Machine” series (1993-2001)

Being an inventor is totally cool, especially when you’re busy creating outlandish, multi-faceted machines to try and solve the challenging educational puzzles in “The Incredible Machine” series. “The Incredible Machine” made physics and problem solving fun, as you had to really use your brain to figure out how best to solve the objectives in each level. Throughout the years, the series didn’t change much, but that’s only because the fundamental game was a perfect learning tool for players of all ages.

#7: “The Typing of the Dead” series (2001-13)

Whoever thought up the concept of combining the frenzied first-person light-gun zombie blaster “House of the Dead” series with a typing tool is a straight up genius. Originally bundled with the Dreamcast keyboard controller add-on, “Typing of the Dead” has you typing out strange sentences and zombie-themed references at top speed to keep those pesky brain-eaters at bay. With a subsequent re-release on Steam and new content packs coming out all the time, “Typing of the Dead” is still going-strong as the go-to typing tutor for hardcore gamers.

#6: “Reader Rabbit” series (1985-2001)

Like many of the games on this list, “Reader Rabbit” is a long-running series of edutainment games that has seen various transformations throughout the years. With humble origins as a bundle of spelling bee-style mini games for the home computer, the “Reader Rabbit” series has since become a giant collection of various educational games focused at different age groups, teaching basic skills in everything from math to reading. This series has won multiple awards, and it helps that the characters, animation and gameplay has become more dynamic over the years.

#5: “Number Munchers” (1986)

Here’s a basic math equation for you: the formula from one of the most successful arcade games ever in Pac-Man + a relatively basic math learning tool = money, and a lot of smarter kids. In order to move your character from one square to the next, you have to pick the square with the correct answer to the math problem at the top of the screen, all while avoiding those dastardly monsters. Plus, by incorporating a ‘high score’ system, “Number Munchers” kept kids coming back for more.

#4: “Dr. Brain” series (1991-99)

The longstanding “Dr. Brain” series was one of the most successful edutainment series of the 1990s for two main reasons: it broadened the scope of subject matter in each of its entries beyond what had been seen in educational games thusfar. Instead of focusing specifically on math or spelling, “Dr.Brain” tried to incorporate a whole slew of different subjects through a wide variety of unique and different minigames, from puzzles to platformers. Secondly, these games were charming as hell, filled with funny characters, lots of jokes, and bright, lively graphics.

#3: “Brain Age” series (2009-13)

One of the more recent entries in this list, “Brain Age” was a double-edged attempt by Nintendo to both revitalize the dwindling edutainment game market, and to market it more towards adults than kids. By tracking the player’s progress day-to-day as they complete the various brain teasers and minigames, “Brain Age” gives players a real sense of progression as they sharpen their minds. Perhaps most importantly, the Nintendo DS’s stylus system was a match made in heaven for an educational tool, allowing players to solve puzzles and complete minigames quickly and efficiently.

#2: “Carmen Sandiego” series (1985-2011)

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Well, in the late 80s and early 90s, she was absolutely everywhere! Part of a multi-medium marketing frenzy, Carmen Sandiego was an extremely popular character, so popular in fact that a game show was created based around the concept of her legendary PC adventure games. The games themselves were amazingly fun and filled with personality, as you used your geography and map-reading knowledge to track a bunch of criminals, including the elusive Carmen, around the world.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Mario is Missing” (1992)
“Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing!” (1987)
“The Magic Schoolbus” series (1994-2000)
“EcoQuest” series (1991-93)

#1: “The Oregon Trail” (1971)

Probably the oldest, and most iconic educational video game of all time, “The Oregon Trail” is a punishing text-based adventure game that puts you in the shoes of American Pioneers as they make their way west across the USA. “The Oregon Trail” was so successful that it was officially incorporated into many curriculums across the country. It's lessons ranged from economics to proper planning. Also, it taught kids about death the hard way, as they watched their whole family die from dysentery for the 500th time.

Agree with our list? Did we forget any brain-building classics? For more highly intelligent top 10’s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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