Popularized in the 80’s and 90’s, educational games were all the rage in schools and for parents looking for a fun way to teach their kids match, spelling, science, and more.
What many probably don’t realize is that Nintendo had their own set of education games in the 90’s featuring Mario (and Luigi!).
Excited to learn about learning? Let’s take a look at all of Nintendo’s Mario educational games.
I Am a Teacher: Super Mario no Sweater
Well, this is definitely going to be the most unique one.
Released in 1986 for the Family Computer Disk System, this Japan only release did exactly what it said.
By inputting a Mario character design and your measurements, you’d be able to design your very own sweater using a Royal Industries Co. Ltd. sewing machine.
If nothing else, the fact Nintendo gave the go-ahead for such a unique and creative “game” really showed a creative side we don’t see in games too much nowadays.
Mario Teaches Typing 1 & 2
If you grew up in the 90’s, then you probably remember having to do a computer typing class in school.
My school used Reader Rabbit but we really missed out on this set of Nintendo education games.
Released for the MS-DOS in 1992 and the Windows/Mac in 1994, the first Mario Teaches Typing game was also the first time Charles Martinet voiced the titular character.
The 2nd game was released in 1997 and is notably the last education Mario game ever released. Unfortunately, Nintendo CEO Shigeru Miyamoto said he would not allow the character to be used for edutainment again.
Mario’s Early Years!
This trilogy of games featuring Mario are Fun With Letters, Preschool Fun, & Fun With Numbers.
Focused on teaching young children up to 6 years old, these 1993 games had children work on their basic math and English skills.
Oddly enough, this game also was one of the select games on the SNES to feature use of the Mouse peripheral.
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up
As a glorified coloring book, this 1991 MS-DOS game featured Mario characters in 30 different jobs each with their own story.
Really the only other feature is the ability to print which, for computer games at the time, was still fairly new for children’s games.
Mario’s Time Machine
This MS-DOS/NES/SNES game was made in 1993 and was the first game to have Bowser’s Mom. No, seriously.
In this one, Bowser plays a discount Carmen Sandiego. After making a time machine, his first thoughts aren’t in taking out his rival for life. Instead, he just wants to steal.
Oddly enough, the three versions are almost completely separate in terms of gameplay. While the story isn’t anything to write about, it’s still pretty enjoyable for kids.
Mario is Missing
After seeing the error of their ways, Nintendo finally decided to make Luigi the star of his first Nintendo game (not counting that LCD watch one from the 90’s).
Unfortunately, they couldn’t have picked a weirder setup.
Basically, the story is that Mario is now Princess Peach & Luigi is now Mario. But, you will have to learn about geography to save the day.
Easily the um, easiest Mario game, you can’t die. Which makes every “boss” battle kind of a letdown. If you’re like me, you can also brute force the answer to the stages with really no penalties at all.
However, this game is actually pretty fun and engaging for younger kids looking to learn more about history and geography. I’d fully recommend a try if you can get a copy.