Nostalgia Trip – Gizmos & Gadgets

The Learning Company, 1993


Blueprints list all the parts you’ll need

Gizmos & Gadgets was released in the early 90’s by The Learning Company, to teach kids (and adults) about physics and science through the vise of a game where you have to collect parts, solve puzzles, and win races to win. I remember it quite fondly, although I wasn’t even ten when I was first introduced to it.

The general level: a basic platformer design
Entering doors will force you to solve puzzles, and get you to corridors where there are parts to pick up

Morty Maxwell has taken over the Shady Glen Tech Center. To defeat him and his army of Cyperchimps, you must win 15 races against him—five in each: Alternative Energy, Automotive and Aircraft—and throw a lot of bananas around. The object of the game is to teach early physics and science, while making it seem like fun. Must’ve worked, too—my older sister still really loves it.

The kinds of puzzles you encounter

I think the last time I played it was sometime in the late-90’s, but I was able to find a copy on, a website that allows you to download games from companies that have gone under. So, I set out on an adventure that took me back to my childhood.

And, well, short of it is… it hadn’t aged well to me. I think part of the problem were the three years I was a physics major in college. Once you’ve transcended the makeup of these puzzles, they just seem like busywork. Maybe if I was after some learning of useful knowledge and skills. The races and design and gameplay itself was fun—at first, but quickly became just as monotonous as the rest.

Just doesn’t hold up for me. But if you have kids, and/or a desire to learn early physics AND have a DOS emulator… totally worth it. Plus, it’s free~