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 (SNES), 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 | edit source]

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 1986 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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

Mario Is Missing! is a geography-based game released in 1993 for the PC, Macintosh, Super NES and NES. The NES version was developed by Radical Entertainment, while the other versions were developed by The Software Toolworks.

In the game, Bowser sets up a castle in Antarctica, and plans to use hair dryers to melt the continent'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. Mario is kidnapped by Bowser, prompting Luigi to rescue him. 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 go ahead 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.

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, a game released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2001.

Mario's Time Machine[edit | edit source]

Mario's Time Machine was originally released on MS-DOS but later released on the NES and Super NES. The MS-DOS version was re-released as Mario's Time Machine Deluxe in 1996. In the game, Bowser steals artifacts from various points in history using a time machine and Mario must return them back. Mario Is Missing! and Mario's Time Machine were generally poorly received.[4][5][6]

Mario's Early Years! games[edit | edit source]

The Mario's Early Years! games were released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and computers. 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.

Mario Teaches Typing games[edit | edit source]

Mario Teaches Typing was released on personal computers and was designed to teach typing skills to children. The game was developed and published by Interplay Productions. It was first released for MS-DOS in 1992 and then for Windows and Macintosh in 1994. Mario is voiced by Ronald B. Ruben in the floppy disk version and by Charles Martinet in the CD-ROM version.

The game sold over 500,000 units for the Macintosh.[7] A sequel, Mario Teaches Typing 2, was developed by Interplay and published by Nintendo in 1997. Mario is voiced only by Martinet in the sequel.

Mario Teaches Typing can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

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 Mario head.

The CD-ROM release of Mario Teaches Typing and Mario Teaches Typing 2 feature 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 | edit source]

Mario's game gallery features five traditional games which play very similarly to their real world counterparts but with Mario themes. The player faces off against Mario (voiced by Charles Martinet in his first appearance[8]) in these games. While the game and its re-release FUNdumentals have been praised by some,[9] others consider it to be one of the worst games in the Mario series.[10]

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

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

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Shimp, Emily (1 June 2009). "Super Mario: The Educational Games". Yahoo. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Mario Is Missing! Prototype". Nintendo Player. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The Worst NES Endings, and Why We Deserved Better - Page 1". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-01-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "GameSpy: Mario is Evil - Page 1". Retrieved 2011-01-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Words: Jem Roberts, Xbox World 360 UK. "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review, PC Reviews". Games Retrieved 2011-01-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Jake Hoelter". LinkedIn. Retrieved 1 May 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Records, Guinness World (2008-03-01). Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition. Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 9781904994213. 
  9. "State: Search Results". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2015-09-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Wesley, David T. A.; Barczak, Gloria (2010-01-01). Innovation and Marketing in the Video Game Industry: Avoiding the Performance Trap. Gower Publishing, Ltd.. ISBN 9780566091674. 
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