Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

Troggling Childhood Memories


I know I've already written about the Munchers series of educational games from the Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium (MECC), but since I recently came upon someone else's post on the games, I might as well say a little more about them. Word Munchers was the first one I played, and that was at school. We later also got Number and Fraction Munchers, and I eventually obtained Super Munchers at home. I had somewhat of an obsession with the games, writing the characters into stories, coming up with a play about going inside the computer and becoming a Word Muncher (we taped the little bit of it that we ended up performing, but I'm sure the tape has either been lost or erased since then), and drawing my own cut scenes. Now, when I say "drawing," I don't mean I did it WELL, although at least the Munchers themselves were easy to draw. Most of it was more representative.


The concept of the games was quite simple, and rather reminiscent of Pac-Man, in that your hero is preoccupied with eating, and his enemies want to eat him. The bad guys were known as Troggles, which is probably derived from "troglodyte." Since that term implies ignorance, it's quite appropriate for monsters trying to impede educational pursuits. There were five types of Troggles, each with their own movement patterns, and trying to avoid them added an element of challenge to the games beyond simply getting the right answers. I think MECC invented its own cast of characters was an improvement over simply putting familiar video game characters into educational settings. You don't hear much talk about Donkey Kong Jr. Math, which I'm guessing was DK's attempt to get his son into a good school so he wouldn't end up a barrel-chucking loser like his old manimal. And the series of games in which Mario tried teaching typing, geography, history, and the like seems to be universally panned. Fortunately, the plumber has since abandoned these pursuits, probably after the Carmen Sandiego gang roughed up the Koopa family for horning in on their racket.
Tags: mario, monsters, nostalgia, video games
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    I'm going to write a little about the winter holidays, although really that was only a few days with regular work days in between them. I did take…

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