Games like Putt-Putt and Freddi Fish both made successful returns on the Switch, and it’s further proof that similar titles of yesteryear would be just as successful. But one resource still remains largely untapped and underutilized, and that is the educational PC games of the ’90s, specifically those marketed to much younger audiences.
It’s undeniable that the games of many of our childhoods are becoming the hits of today. With other successful remasters and long overdue sequels to games like Final Fantasy 7, tapping into the ’90s PC gaming world is a no-brainer, especially when marketing to younger gamers. After all, many of those who fondly remember these titles are now looking for games for their own children to play and nostalgia combined with knowing your kid is learning while gaming is a powerful draw.
10 The Magic School Bus Games
Just a mention of the Magic School Bus conjures up colorful images of Miss Frizzle and the sounds of the iconic Television theme song. As vivid as these memories are, just as prominent in memory are the great video game tie-ins to the series.
Capturing some of the most memorable moments in the books and the television series, the Magic School Bus games would look beautiful and fit in nicely on the Switch.
9 The Incredible Machine
The Incredible Machine was a game as common as something like Minesweeper or Chips Challenge. The game encouraged creativity and ingenuity to solve problems and complete simple tasks through complex means.
On a system that’s all about creativity and learning, The Incredible Machine is a great ’90s kids classic that shockingly has not been ported to modern consoles or Steam.
8 Tonka Construction
For whatever reason, no matter the generation, children always seem fascinated with construction at a young age. One of the most recognizable names to first capitalize on this fascination was Tonka. Inspiring imagination and storytelling at a young age, Tonka helped kids create and learn with their quality line of products.
In addition to their line of toys, Tonka had a lineup of games that sparked creativity and the inner construction worker of many kids back in the ’90s. Many Tonka themed games were released, but three of the best to ever come out of the ’90s were Tonka Construction, Tonka Search and Rescue, and Tonka Raceway.
7 Fisher Price Great Adventures Series
Similar to Tonka, Fisher Price is a name that rings familiar in a lot of ’90s kids’ ears. Although Fisher Price is best known for its line of toys for toddlers, it also made some memorable games based on some of its more popular playsets.
The Great Adventure series featured three stand-out titles with fun and imaginative worlds and characters. Great Adventure Castle, Pirate Ship, and Wild Western Town would make a perfect greatest hits trilogy on Switch, perfect for nostalgic grown-ups and new fans alike.
6 Number Munchers
It’s a pretty big deal when a video game is not only allowed to be played at school, but is actually part of the daily schedule. One of the very few things that made math fun was the Number Munchers games.
Along with the follow-up Super Munchers, the games were a great way to encourage kids to think fast and smart with their moves. Adding such a simple and colorful learning game to the Switch library is an easy call.
Having already been seen a Steam release, Zoombinis is another ’90s classic perfectly suited for the Nintendo Switch. Puzzles and problem-solving is the name of the game as you navigate the Zoombinis to Zoombiniville without trying to lose any of your crew along the way.
The game has been highlighted for its helpful impact on learning and has even been used in various schools. Another example of education games done right, Zoombinis deserves to sit alongside greats like Carmen Sandiego and Reader Rabbit.
4 Where In The USA Is Carmen Sandiego?
As with many ’90s kids games such as Math Blaster, the Carmen Sandiego series has plenty of great titles to choose from. But Where In The USA Is Carmen Sandiego is by far one of the series’ high points.
With an updated and improved interface, fully animated and voice-acted cutscenes, Where In The USA was one of Carmen Sandiego’s finest outings.
3 Mission T.H.I.N.K.
Produced by The Learning Company, Mission T.H.I.N.K. was a beautifully orchestrated interactive learning experience. You would solve problems in rooms of varying difficulties to find game board pieces that you would eventually use in a board game verses the villain Morty Maxwell.
With each victory against Maxwell, the game would become more and more challenging, but the board game events, and the unique visual style, made the game a treat to play. Mission T.H.I.N.K. would fit in nicely next to similar games of the era like Putt Putt and Freddi Fish on the Switch.
2 Math Blaster Pre-Algebra
While most people will remember the Math Blaster Games for their sci-fi and futuristic aesthetic, Math Blaster Mystery, later remastered and renamed Math Blaster Pre-Algebra, provided a refreshing change of pace that ended up being one of the series’ finest installments.
Math Blaster Pre Algebra was creative and made one of the most difficult transitions in math fun. Add to that a Tim Burton meets Courage The Cowardly Dog art direction, and you have one of the best ’90s PC games for young players that deserves a comeback on modern hardware.
1 Mario Teaches Typing
Long overdue on Nintendo’s part is a follow-up to or remaster of their ’90s partnership with Interplay, Mario Teaches Typing, and its direct sequel. Although typing games seem to have been a fad that faded out after titles like Typing of the Dead, the need for young kids to develop typing skills is still important, especially with how prevalent online schooling has become.
It would be great to see Mario’s early attempts at educational games get a second chance, along with some extra polish and new bells and whistles. Updating the graphics and adding bonus content would be a great extra touch to please both long-time fans and newcomers.
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Henry Shaw (12 Articles Published)