Video Game: Captain Novolin

Hello TV Tropes! I have diabetes. Is there anything special I should know before describing Captain Novolin?

Widely considered one of the greatest Edutainment Games ever released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Captain Novolin tells the heartwarming story of an Inspirationally Disadvantaged superhero, whose superpower is the fact that he happens to have diabetes. No, he doesn't fight diabetes, and his superpower doesn't involve giving other people diabetes; his superpower is having diabetes. As such, for him every day of his life is an epic struggle against his illness — you must fight against evil alien invaders who have taken the form of malicious junk foods, all the while making sure to eat regularly and keep your blood sugar levels consistent (and check you feet for sores and blisters).

In case you couldn't tell from the above paragraph, the game was intended to help children learn about diabetes, but failed spectacularly at the job, and almost managed to seem as if it was mocking those who had the disease instead. (Why would diabetic kids need to be reminded of their illness? Aren't video games meant to be an escape from reality?) The game was endorsed by Novo Nordisk, manufacturers of the Novolin brand of insulin, from which the game takes its name. The game's publishers, Raya Systems, also released other educational games with similar themes, such as Packy and Marlon, a game starring two elephants with juvenile diabetes.

This game contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The final boss, Blubberman, can throw insta-killing pies at you, along with electrical currents that go along the floor.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Except they are actually aliens disguised as candy. No real explanation for why the healthy food walks around, though.
  • A Winner Is You: The game ends with your final score being shown, along with a short sequence of Novolin shaking hands with the Mayor and receiving the Key To The City, as the aliens' spaceship flies away.
  • Big Bad: Blubberman, leader of the aliens- a fat old guy in a floating wheelchair who launches electricity and deadly pies at you.
  • Cool Boat: Novolin rides a speedboat in some levels. Averted however, in that not only is is very slow and clunky to control, it's also a massive target- making dodging enemies and projectiles (Along with the odd food item you don't need to get) in these levels much harder than it needs to be.
  • Goomba Stomp: Novolin's only means of offense. Just be sure to hold down on the D-pad when you stomp enemies.
  • Eternal Engine: The last level takes place inside the aliens' spaceship, complete with electricity traps along the floors.
  • Exact Time to Failure: In-universe, Mayor Gooden only has enough Diabetes supplies with him to last for two days after being kidnapped by the aliens. By the time you find him, he'll be unconscious and suffering from either high or low blood glucose, and the last question in the game involves helping him accordingly.
  • In a Single Bound: Captain Novolin's "superpower", more or less. Well, that and diabetes.
  • Imagine Spot: Novolin has these in between (And sometimes in the middle of) levels, from doctors who provide Diabetes-related advice. Although mostly there for educational purposes, they can sometimes provide the answer to the quizzes in the middle of and at the end of each level.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: As with other games from Raya Systems, the game was only available via a doctor's prescription. Seriously.
  • Mini-Game: Two of them appear here- one that involves checking your blood glucose (BG) by matching the color of a blood test strip with the vial, and another that appears twice each day- involving taking the correct amount of insulin depending on how high or low your blood glucose is from how much (Or how little) food you've eaten in the level so far. Not that it matters much, though-
    Seanbaby: There is no consequence for getting this wrong- other than a funny noise and the crushing realization that you can't match two colors in a moronic game based on a disease.
  • Pop Quiz: The game uses short quizzes to break up its levels, asking the player questions about diabetes and how to manage it. However, all the answers are told at the start of the level, so the quizzes usually just depend on the player remembering the answer they read three minutes ago, and some questions are only tangentially related to diabetes at best ("Check you feet [sic] for sores!") or just plain inane ("Why is it good to eat at even times through the day?").
  • Product Placement/Meaningful Name: Captain Novolin is named after Novo Nordisk's Novolin brand of human insulin.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: An information box cautions to "check you feet" while hiking. Gained Memetic Mutation status in Diabetus's Let's Play.
  • Save the Princess: The mayor was kidnapped... and coincidentally, he also has diabetes!
  • Shout-Out: One of the doctors in Novolin's Imagine Spots in between the levels bears an uncanny resemblance to Will Smith.
  • Shows Damage: Sort of. If Novolin's blood glucose starts going too high (From eating too much), his walking animation will be different- showing him hunched over and with his tongue hanging out. It doesn't affect how he controls, nor does it occur if he actually does take damage, but it's there to represent extreme thirst and tiredness- two common effects of hyperglycemia (High blood glucose). Note that he also does this animation on the mountain stages regardless of his blood glucose level, which presumably was intended to help point out what effects strenuous exercise can have on diabetics, though in practise tends to make it look more like he's afraid of heights.
  • The Good Captain: Real, good, but bad concept.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: There's something a bit ironic about a Diabetic Superhero (Who gets hurt if he so much as touches sugar.) apparently being the only person on the planet capable of fighting off the Sugary Junk Food aliens.
    Novolin: This looks like a job for yours truly, CAPTAIN NOVOLIN!
  • This Just In: Novolin finds out about the alien invasion and the Mayor being kidnapped from a news bulletin on TV, whilst running on a treadmill for some reason.
  • Viewers Are Morons/Reality Ensues: When you talk to people, Captain Novolin will take the time to inform them that he has diabetes — in one case complete with his own card of proof. To be fair though, he does have a reason for it in realistic terms- since you can't exactly explain that you're diabetic if you're unconscious.
    I HAVE DIABETES: "If I am found ill or fainting, please give me some sugar. If this does not revive me, please call a doctor or an ambulance immediately."
  • Voodoo Shark: Please see Anthropomorphic Food.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Sugary Junk Food, even by just touching enemies disguised as it.
    • Any food, if you consume too much or too little of it. This will cause you to suffer either hyperglycemia/hypoglycemia (Overly high/low blood glucose, respectively) and simply keel over regardless of what your health is at.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Having diabetes isn't really a superpower. Therefore the only thing keeping Captain Novolin a superhero is his courage to take out the anthropomorphic food despite not really having any superpowers, making him a Badass Normal at best. Unless the game intends to treat his odd Jump Physics as a superpower.