Have You Played… Mr T’s Alphabet Games?

have-you-played-mr-ts-alphabet-games

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Sorry to disappoint you, but Mr T’s Alphabet Games did not feature the gold-encrusted hero of the A-Team, teaching you how to navigate the letters A, B and C between messages of assertiveness and respect. No, it was an educational game for the BBC Micro, in which the manifestation of the alphabetic character ‘T’ guided you through a quagmire of basic English. One day my mother discovered me, a five-year-old with a passion for self-destruction, in front of this game. I was screaming as loud as humanly possible.

Or so the family legend goes. The consensus is I couldn’t get the game to work properly. That I’d seen my brother and sisters playing it, and I too wanted in on the hot, alphabetical action. Unsupervised, I’d clambered into the computer chair and attempted to play. But BBC Micro games being what they were, it is likely the black screen, multicoloured keyboard and its myriad options confused, frightened and frustrated me. I began to scream.

I carry a hatred of personified Ts with me to this day.

hyp-mr-t

Mr T made other appearances in the educational gaming sphere, but none that I recognise. There’s Mr T’s Measuring Games, Mr T Tells The Time, and Mr T’s Money Box. All of which were reportedly the product of a “Good Housekeeping Software”. Did these scream-inducing edu-toys come free with copies of Good Housekeeping magazine? It’s possible. It’s possible. But it is more likely, I believe, that they were a bedeviled relic, entering and leaving our worldly realm wherever a child takes their first steps towards a keyboard. An ethereal disk, 5.25 inches in the fleeting moments that it takes corporeal form, and now living out its final ghostly days… in the memories of those children branded with the curse.

AAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

9 Comments

  1. Beefenstein says:

    WHY DO YOU DENY ME THE ALPHABET MR T?!

  2. Da5e says:

    Stay away from his bins.

  3. Vilos Cohaagen says:

    I pity the poor fool who don’t learn the alphabet! (Mr T is amazing)

  4. Arioch_RN says:

    Stepford Wife: “Is that my gin in the microwave, dear?”
    Little Boy: “I Have No Face And I Must Scream”

  5. KingFunk says:

    I did, I did! I don’t remember anything about it because I was probably 3, but by God, that T man is somehow burnt into a part of my brain…

  6. bill says:

    Out of interest, does anyone know any decent educational games for young kids, particularly for learning English?

    The old Humongous Entertainment games are on steam and are decent My First Adventure games, but they only really have one proper “educational” game and that’s Big Thinkers… it’s ok, but not as good as their adventure games.

    I’m in need of games to teach my kids reading and English. (Maths and other stuff also welcome)

    • Evan_ says:

      As someone who learned English mainly from gaming.. I don’t believe in educational software. Kids notice when devs try to disguise education as ‘fun’.

      I’d suggest getting them whatever games will interest them – and make sure they have no access to localizations. English ‘sticks’. My generation in my country grew up consuming games and cartoons we didn’t understand. But we figured out what’s happening by the visuals, guessing, and discussing. So we understood the next one better. One day we had to realize we understand everything, and that’s just step away from actually speaking.

      Obviously, text-heavy adventure games are the best, but don’t discriminate other genres (besides the dumbest shooters). Command & Conquer might not have had much sophisticated text, but what was there was important for success and it was often recurring – it drilled some things better than Monkey Island.

      Also.. Math and other stuff too? Get them Kerbal Space Program and Factorio.

  7. Harlander says:

    So, Have you played Granny’s Garden next? Or some of the other surreal nonsense on the BBC Micro..