First off, Happy Easter! Second off, my apologies for not being abound for a few days. A fun-filled weekend trip to Disneyland was immediately followed by a week long bout of the flu that only today do I feel remotely civil, and inclined to get out of bed. Whoo, that was a rough one.

Regardless of my brief life summary, I started going on another one of my retro kicks. With Game Room largely down and broken until later this month, and I have been only able to play Final Fantasy XIII in short bursts, one starts phone surfing just to see what’s there.

My last hunt found the excellent Transformers RTS. This time, I ran into two old friends:

Number Munchers


Lemonade Stand

This goes well with another retro edutainment game on my iPhone called Oregon Trail

Where you learned such important life lessons such as:

I’m using the old Apple IIc versions so you can revel in all the brown, blue, purple and green glory of these games.

It’s funny how games about math, small business management and history/wilderness survival would have been so endearing in a world where kart racers, mini games, epic RPGs and FPS shooters reign supreme today. Could learning and fun actually go hand in hand?

The answer was surprisingly “Yes”. Most of these games were released by a company called MECC (Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium). They produced these and others and were widely distributed in public schools during the 1980’s and 1990’s. While the mere thought of “edutainment” would make the average gamer cringe, these games were thoughtful and well produced, hiding their learning merits in games that caused you to think on your feet and had a sense of humor and personality. By the time you realized you had been tricked into learning things, you quickly dismissed this unfortunate turn of events to get a higher score, or somehow make it to Oregon without dying of dysentery.

It’s my understanding that games like this aren’t carried in today’s schools anymore, which is unfortunate, because they really have proven to be timeless learning tools, and items I’ve been searching out to complete my Apple IIc collection. It makes me wonder what games are out there that successfully mix learning and fun, and if any of these will be fondly remembered as any of these titles from my school youth (we also had Kareteka at school, which only taught me that you had better bow to that Princess before you attempt to rescue her at the end, or she’ll take your head off).

The iPhone updates still remain their nostalgic charm, and while very simple by today’s standards, I still had to factor prime numbers in my head to help my Number Muncher escape the Troggles, and contemplate how many glasses of lemonade I was going to sell with the impending 60% chance of rain the following day.

Both Number Munchers and Lemonade Stand are 99 cent purchases, and well worth the investment. It’s also fitting that they’ve found their place on the newest generation of Apple’s gaming platform.

I’m still holding my breath that some retro loving company will release Odell Lake.

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Filed under: apple gamingclassic gamingiphone gamingoregon trailretro gaming