edutainment

Saturday Crapshoot: The BlobJob

Richard Cobbett at

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, it's a twisted slice of European edutainment from 1998. Prepare for everything you need to know about... wait. It's calledwhat?

Names have power, especially the flat-out wrong ones. Who knows what went through some designer's head when he decided to name the evil aliens of the X series the Khaak? What possessed the creators of The Tone Rebellion to look at their aquatic world of water creatures and call them Floaters? Above all else, why upon why did the Two Guys From Andromeda, thinking up a name for the venerable Space Quest series' love interest, finally settle on Ambassador Beatrice Wankmeister?

We may never be able to say. But The BlobJob may be the king, with no fewer than four squicky definitions on Urban Dictionary. Luckily for kids everywhere, it's not about any of them. What is it about? No idea. Meet the weirdest game you really, really shouldn't Google for hints on at school.

Saturday Crapshoot: I.M. Meen

Richard Cobbett at

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, childhood terror has a new name. Horror has a new face. And the only weapon that can thwart its evil plan is... correct punctuation? Gulp...

Snnnk! Good morning, readers. This is an important safety announcement. Please ensure that you are properly seated before continuing this week's Crap Shoot. If you have a mouthful of fluid, swallow it before continuing. PC Gamer cannot be held accountable for any damage done to your keyboard or computer. If anyone around you is sleeping or easily startled, please wake them gently now. It will be much less disturbing than when you yell "WHAT THE ****?!" in twenty-seven seconds.

Saturday Crapshoot: Mortimer

Richard Cobbett at

Or, to give it its full no-way-will-that-fit-in-the-title name, Mortimer and the Riddles of the Medallion. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised. In the UK at least, it's a strong contender for Lucasarts' most obscure PC game. In the US, I think it's a little better known, but still far from being a classic. Partly, that's because it's an edutainment game. It's also because it wasn't very good - though it is very pretty, and has lots of charm and character. Mostly though, I think it's a question of karmic payback. Look at this game. Doesn't it look sweet? Doesn't it look innocent? Wrong! Mortimer is the work of the Devil himself.

Brace yourself. If you keep reading, you will be exposed to ear-worms you will never bleach out of your brain. PC Gamer cannot be held responsible for anything you might still find yourself humming in fifty years time. Uh-huh. Oh yeah. Uh-huh...


Saturday Crapshoot: Pepper's Adventures In Time

Richard Cobbett at

Sometimes, it's fun to play the villain. We all know this. But there are limits. We live in a civilised civilisation, and as such, not everything can be permitted. There are scoundrels whose mere existence is an affront to the one true Queen, she who all right-thinking Ladies and Gentlemen call Majesty. There are sins that should never be played out, particularly not in an 'edutainment' game designed to inform and shape other fragile minds. Some things, some people, are just... beyond inappropriate.

This is the story of one such wretch, and her most deserved punishment.

These are the crimes of Pepper Pumpernickel, the girl who stole America.


Crap Shoot: Granny's Garden

Richard Cobbett at

Richard Cobbett goes back to school to face an old fear. The Witch has returned, and she wants your soul. Or to see if you can handle basic literacy puzzles for six-year olds. One of the two.

Hers is the face that haunted a thousand nightmares. Hers is the laugh that chilled the blood of almost every child during the decade that taste forgot. There was no running from it. There was no hiding. If you were at school in the 80s, facing her was as close to a rite of passage as figuring out what the older kids were actually doing behind the bikesheds. She was Freddy. She was Jason. She was the blood-soaked murderer in your older siblings' carefully hidden videos. And at some point, your teachers would nervously plug in your school's single BBC Micro computer and make you dance for her amusement.

She was... The Witch. And if this blocky cyan face means nothing to you, know that across England, a generation of gamers is even now crawling back into their skins after seeing it. Oh yes...

Crap Shoot: Wrecked: A Psychedelic Adventure

Richard Cobbett at

Richard Cobbett gets high just thinking about one of the silliest edutainment games in the history of mankind. Remember: winners don't play Wrecked. They're too busy snorting coke off hookers.

Wrecked actually exists. This is important. This isn't a joke post. It's not a game we made up. It's not some dodgy Newgrounds thing. It appeared on a PC Zone (RIP) coverdisk back in the 90s, and promptly became one of the rarest, most sought-after PC games in history - not because it's any good, it's really not, but just so those of us who remembered it could convince the world it wasn't a dream. Wrecked. An edutainment platform game about the dangers of drugs. This isn't just a Crap Shoot. This is Vindication.