There have been many educational games over the years, but few have taught so many kids so very little than "The Oregon Trail" and "Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego." Seriously, I probably dropped a few-dozen computer lab hours playing each of these, and what did I end up learning? Buffalo are really easy to kill and some of Carmen Sandiego's henchmen really like Tex Mex food.
Educational value or no, the pair of franchises have been revived multiple times over the years, and in February, they'll be coming to, where else, Facebook.
"The Oregon Trail" for Facebook (trailer here) appears to follow the time-honored traditions of not being remotely educational, complete with a shoot-the-animals minigame, a ford-the-river minigame and the ability to customize your party, which will make it all the more upsetting when they each die off of cholera and snake bites. It'll drop on Facebook on February 2.
"Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego" for Facebook (trailer here) appears to be a bit more brainy, as players will need to keep track of suspects' quirks and travel around the globe, visiting real-world landmarks. I suppose one might glean an little bit of geographical knowledge from this game, so it's not quite the educational blight that "The Oregon Trail" seems to be. "Carmen Sandiego" will hit Facebook on February 9.
The funny thing about both of these franchises is that kids probably could care less. The only people with any fondness for "Oregon Trail" or "Carmen Sandiego" are likely well out of school and would have no real use for the knowledge that Caracas is the capital city of Venezuela. They do, however, have a use for totally worthless Facebook achievements, which both games are sure to dole out in spades.