Humongous

Humongous Entertainment created a major wrinkle in that formula. The company, founded in 1992 by Ron Gilbert and Shelley Day, offered something different—a series of kid’s games that were based around narrative, character, and world-building rather than lesson gated modules. The two had come from LucasArts—Day worked as a games producer and Gilbert worked as a programmer and game designer—and specialized in creating adventure games aimed at adults. After seeing how much kids enjoyed playing adventure games, they decided to apply the same principles to games aimed at younger players.

Vice.

Ron Gilbert, who I had grew up playing his games, had this company and was making games to teach. I was in love with Humongous. I had already planned to be a game developer and my little sister was playing those games. I was studying her play and use the mouse. It was so cute. I was genuinely excited about the future of games and learning. There seemed to be so much to do. So much to re-invent.

The mid and late 90s were oblivious to financial pressure. Things were going well. By 2000 they had sold 16 million copies of their games. At a time when people didn’t have access to computers like we all do today. That’s amazing.

But publishers didn’t see it this way and coupled with the massive and drastic move from 2D and DOS/Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 and 3D in game development, edutainment was dead by 2003. Brutal.

I miss it. I miss the opportunity to teach with fun. I miss taking care of kids and respecting them.

We do the exact opposite these days in game development and we need to stop that shit.

Leave a Reply