Captain Novolin FI

SNES A Day 117: Captain Novolin


Approximate Release Date: November 2, 1992
Genre: Educational/platformer
Developer: Sculptured Software
Publisher: Raya Systems

Captain Novolin is an educational platformer designed to teach children about living with diabetes.

This isn’t a good game. I feel bad even mentioning how this game isn’t good. Captain Novolin is not for me, but it has an admirable goal and message for kids. Be healthy! Take care of yourself! Learn more about your disease! Because of that, Captain Novolin has incredible value even today for young kids struggling with diabetes. I don’t know how accurate the medical tips being given are, but it’s nice to have a game that a child can play for a little bit and maybe feel a little less lonely and scared about their situation.

When was the last time an educationally focused game was actually good on the merits of gameplay? I remember liking Math Blaster in my elementary school’s computer lab, but how much of that was because it was a good game and how much of it was because anything was better than real schoolwork? Occasionally a good game like The Oregon Trail or, funny enough, Drugwars will have elements that make them relevant to teachers and learning, but it almost never happens the other way around.

But I’m not going to rag on Captain Novolin. It succeeds at what it sets out to do. Most games can’t say that much. Combining technology and the very basics of the concept of what play is can be powerful tools for helping children. There’s room for innovation, with everything from Captain Novolin and programs like Skill Champ and charities like Child’s Play doing amazing things to make kids’ lives better.

So good on you, Captain Novolin.

Tomorrow: With amazing in the name, David Crane’s Amazing Tennis has to be amazing, right?

2 thoughts on “SNES A Day 117: Captain Novolin”

  1. Shout out to Math Blaster! As a kid in a console-less household, I played quite a bit of Math Blaster when I was too young to play anything much more complex.

    1. Math Blaster was good*!

      The educational game I played a lot was Ancient Empires (I think?) probably by Broderbund. It was so old it made all its noises by using the tiny speaker in the computer tower. Floppies!


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