3. Math Blaster
Considering the title, you might be quick to jump to the conclusion that the only thing this retro classic would teach you about is simple arithmetic. But you'd be wrong. Oh so wrong. Math Blaster taught us much, much more.
We flew through the galaxy racking our brains over prime numbers and the occasional square root problem (if the Galactic Commander was feeling particularly cruel). But it wasn't just math. It was a portal providing an eerie glimpse into our future: what our fate was if we didn't reduce, reuse and recycle.
The little green blasternaut showed us Earth's real problems aren't hostile alien takeovers, but
but ourselves. As we jetted across space, we had to clean up the stars by destroy floating Styrofoam cups, hastily discarded fish bones and pop cans that look an awful lot like Coca Cola products. If we weren't careful, our universe was doomed to be littered with garbage. The kind of garbage that only mathematics could clear up.
2. The Incredible Machine
There hasn't been a game since The Incredible Machine that caused my brain to completely fry like an egg like in those 80s drug PSAs. And yet, I was completely addicted to this puzzle game. The Incredible Machine accomplished something that my sophomore science teacher tugged tufts of her perm out trying to do: Made. Physics. Interesting.
Random household objects such as old-timey fireplace bellows and a bird cage brought on a whole new appreciation for air pressure and gravity.
I'll admit that the sadist in me liked seeing how high I could get a bowling ball to bounce off a trampoline only to smash a Bob the Goldfish's bowl. But, despite all the great things I have to say about this game, to this day I still hate the rope and pulley system. Got me every time.
1. The Typing of the Dead
Light gun/railshooter games are a dime a dozen nowadays. So how do you keep the genre fresh in the arcade parlour? Why, teaching children the fundamentals of effective typing of course!
The Typing of the Dead took the arcade shooter The House of the Dead 2 and turned it into an in-your-face typing tutorial. If you want to live to see another day, you had better be able to type "Long Nose Hairs" (yes, this is actually in the game) before that psychopath's chainsaw connects with your dome. Pesky, blood sucking vampire bats? Knock em out of the air by furiously plucking the phrase "the cat who ate butter" (no looking down now, you're only cheating yourself). This is not a world where the hunt & peckers survive.
Best part was that they actually replaced James and Gary's hand guns with keyboards. These secret agents are going to teach you a thing or two about surviving an apocalyptic outbreak while simultaneously showing you the path to dominating the QWERTY layout.