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Video Game / Blaster Series

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Blasternaut throughout the years.

Edutainment Game series from The '90s created by the company known as Davidson & Associates, aimed largely at elementary schoolers, though a few have been aimed at middle schoolers. First there was Math Blaster and then Reading Blaster. Very briefly, there was Science Blaster, Geometry Blaster, Spelling Blaster and Word Blaster (don't ask how that last one is any different than Reading Blaster).

True to being both educating and entertaining, the Blaster series centered on an astronaut called Blasternaut (get it?) and his Robot Buddy Spot, a little blue droid. They worked for the Galactic Commander, who herself helped to run a federation-like organization that spanned the galaxy to apprehend criminals. Eventually Galactic Commander (or GC, as the others called her) joined the team. Their images changed rapidly - for example, Spot eventually became a robotic dog named MEL while G.C. became a 12 year old girl instead of a tall, green woman and Blaster became a 12 year old human boy instead of a green, astronaut-like man. This last version of the characters was featured in the Saturday Morning Cartoon series Blaster's Universe, produced by Nelvana in 1999.


Another universe in this series, featuring Rave and Dr. Dabble, is discussed here.

Please do not confuse with Learning Voyage, which is another Edutainment Game series Davidson worked on that features aliens and takes place aboard a space ship; the similarities end there.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Mega Math Blaster has you throw banana peels, clothespins and pacifiers at enemies. Ages 9-12 gives you actual bananas.
  • Alien Invasion: Alge-Blaster 3 centers around countering one.
  • Alphabet Soup Cans: Totally ubiquitous, of course. Wonderfully parodied in the ending cutscene of Math Blaster Ages 9-12. Blasternaut and G.C. are pretending they're leaving Spot behind for the purpose of an escape plan. Spot sobs, to stereotypical sad violin music, "What about all these years of solving math problems together? Did they mean anything to you?"
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  • Always Chaotic Evil: Alge-Blaster 3 has the Red Nasties. Geometry Blaster has the Geometrons, a race of two-dimensional beings.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: From Math Blaster Ages 9-12, after it's revealed that the Terrible Monkey King isn't so terrible:
    GC: Who are you?
    Monkey: Well... I'm, uh... I'm the Terrible Monkey King.
    Blasternaut: And I'm a monkey's uncle!
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In Master the Basics. Having re-established communication between the colonies in level 3, the control room sequences in level 4 now revolve around the planet elders, who are the only ones with the codes needed to destroy the Null-Ray Generators.
  • The Artifact: Galactic Commander's "name", if you can call it that. It made enough sense when she was Da Chief in In Search of Spot and Invasion of the Word Snatchers. When she's accompanying Blasternaut and Spot in Secret of the Lost City, mention is made of the fact that this is unusual. After that, however, she became Blasternaut's partner on all his adventures and didn't seem to be commanding anything, let alone the entire galaxy. She was nicknamed "G.C." around this time, probably at least partially to avoid drawing attention to this very problem. Then the 1999 Retool turned her into a 12-year-old and, yep, her name is still "Galactic Commander". Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Commander had ambitious plans for their daughter when they named her "Galactic".
  • Asteroid Thicket: The normal and "good" endings of Mega Math Blaster show Blasternaut and G.C. chasing Gelator through one of these. The game is also bookended by you blasting your way through it in pursuit of said villain.
  • Badbutt: Most of the main characters (Blasternaut, Galactic Commander).
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: GC doesn't wear a helmet on her space suit.
  • Big Red Devil: Alge-Blaster 3 has the Red Nasties, though they aren't particularly big.
  • Bird People: General Fishburn's secretary in Math Blaster Jr. is a bird-like alien.
  • Blob Monster: Mega Math Blaster has Gelator. One of the endings also has his parents.
  • Broken Bridge: Occurs in In Search of Spot in the form of an engine which is out of fuel.
  • Butt-Monkey: Spot showed occasional shades of this.
  • Camp Straight: General Fishburn from the "Jr." (or "Ages 4-6") games is very campy, but in Math Blaster Jr. we find out that he is attracted to a female alien.
  • Cephalothorax: The Red Nasties in Alge-Blaster 3. Episode 1 has the Trash Alien.
  • Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: The N-Gon Mountains in Geometry Blaster has this as the result if you get a problem wrong. Get too many wrong and you have to start over.
  • Combining Mecha: The Lost City (really just four buildings) combine into a new ship for the Blasterpals in Episode 2 after all of the puzzles are finished.
  • Continuity Nod: In the introduction of Mega Math Blaster, Spot flies past the prison planet Lock-Em-Up, where the previous games' villains Trash Alien, Illitera, and Dr. Minus are imprisoned.
    • One within the same game; Master The Basics had you disable a different part of the Null-Ray Generators on each difficulty level. Level 1 disables the force fields, Level 2 disables the electric fence, Level 3 re-enables the interplanetary communication hubs they were built on to get in touch with the planet elders, then Level 4 has Blaster and AIMEE using their codes to blow the generators to kingdom come.
  • Continuity Overlap: The 1999-era games were made to promote the Blaster's Universe cartoon series, so they both share the same continuity.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Mega Math Blaster has both lava and fire-breating statues in an ice cave.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: One of the bonus levels in Math Blaster Ages 9-12 is set on a non-hazardous one. If you fall off, it just cuts the level short and sends you to the next puzzle.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spot. Mel takes on this role later on.
  • Delayed Safety Feature: In the intro of Math Blaster Ages 9-12, the Blasterpals crash-land their ship on a seemingly barren planet and only when they come to a complete stop does the severe impact avoidance inflatable device deploy, filling the entire ship and then expanding out of the airlock when they exit.
  • Difficulty Levels: The games generally have three or four difficulty levels.
  • Escort Mission: The bridge levels in Math Blaster Ages 9-12 alternate between building the actual bridges and puzzles where you need to guide several hopping monkeys across floating platforms. Fortunately, you only need to keep them from falling.
    • The control room sequences of Master The Basics. Blaster projects his shield onto the planet delegate/elder in order to protect them long enough to disable the current difficulty’s obstacle. The chamber robots have multiple equations that must be checked against a static equation for equivalents, then targeted correctly to disable them until your ally loops back around through the door.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: A whole planet of flying ones in Math Blaster Ages 9-12.
  • Evil Is Hammy: All of the villains seem to like hamming it up.
  • Evil Laugh: Dr. Minus, the Trash Alien, the Geometrons, Terrible Monkey King and Gelator all do this at least once.
  • Excited Show Title!: The title of the original game was "Math Blaster!" Then there was "Math Blaster Plus!" and "New Math Blaster Plus!"
  • Expospeak Gag: The ship computer in Ages 9-12 refers to the air bag as a "severe-impact-avoidance inflatable device".
  • Expy: Gelator is a yellow alien with three eyes that abducts Spot... exactly like the Trash Alien. In fact, Gelator's game, Mega Math Blaster (later released as Ages 6-9), is a rehash of the entire premise of In Search of Spot.
  • Extra Eyes:
    • Both the Trash Alien and Gelator have three eyes.
    • So do Gelator's parents.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The plot for In Search Of Spot is kicked off by Blasternaut dismissing Spot's suggestion that their ship is out of fuel, which is confirmed by the fuel gauge in the console just to Blasternaut's left. Ages 9-12 has the Blasterpals miss an alert that they're about to crash into a planet because they're partying.
  • Fetch Quest: The three crystals in Mega Math Blaster, the Medallions of Prosperity in Ages 9-12 and the Dimension Machine pieces in Geometry Blaster are collected by completing the various stages in the respective games.
  • Floating Platforms: Pretty ubiquitous throughout the series. Math Blaster Ages 9-12 has platforms that double as hazards in addition to the regular ones.
  • Flying Saucer: The Trash Alien uses a red one.
  • For the Evulz: The Trash Alien just litters around space for the spite of it.
  • Fungus Humongous: One of the levels in Mega Math Blaster has these as platforms.
  • Gamebooks: Reading Blaster 2000 features three stories that function like this. Every five stars you earn, you get another chapter.
  • Genius Loci: In Geometry Blaster, the Sphinx is a living building containing the Dimension Machine. She quizzes Andi and Zoid before opening her doors to let them repair the machine.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: GC's appearance in the early and mid-1990's.
  • Herr Doktor: In Mega Math Blaster, Blasternaut has a "wrist analyzer", which is referred to as "Freud" and speaks with a German accent.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Terrible Monkey King used one as a disguise at the end of Math Blaster Ages 9-12.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The ending of Math Blaster Ages 9-12. Lampshaded with the line "Enough with the monkey jokes already! Stop!"
  • Intangible Theft: In the first Reading Blaster, Illitera steals all language from the planet Earth.
  • The Joy of X:
  • Jungle Japes: Mega Math Blaster has a varying number of these depending on the difficulty. On hard mode, there are two of these followed by an Underground Level. Much of Math Blaster Ages 9-12 has some level of this to go with the flying monkeys.
  • Kid Hero: The 1999 incarnation of the Blasterpals.
  • Large Ham:
    • The old guy and the Terrible Monkey King in Math Blaster Ages 9-12.
    • Dr. Minus from Secret of the Lost City had his moments, as well.
    • The Sphinx in Geometry Blaster, especially if you answer incorrectly. The Geometrons are also pretty hammy.
    • Dr. Zero, the redheaded Enfant Terrible in Math Blaster Ages 7-9 (1999).
  • Liquid Assets: Gelator drains Spot's intelligence in Mega Math Blaster.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: In the "Junior" (or "Ages 4-6") games especially.
    Blasternaut: Get back... Four. Green. Jewels.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Zero in Math Blaster Ages 7-9 (1999).
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: One male voice actor provided voices for all male characters in (at least) the 1993-era Math Blaster games. His name is Mark Sawyer. None of the voices sound similar to each other in the slightest.
  • Medium Blending: The gameplay of Math Blaster Ages 7-9 (1999) is entirely CGI.
  • Multiple Endings: In Mega Math Blaster, determined by how many bonus objects you found in the game.
  • Millennium Bug: Math Blaster: In Search of Spot and Math Blaster Episode 2: Secret of the Lost City suffer from this— any game played after 2000 will produce a completion certificate with the date given as the corresponding year in the 1900s. (As in, if you finished the game in 2001, your certificate would say 1901.)
  • Nerd Glasses: The Terrible Monkey King.
  • Now Which One Was That Voice?: In Math Blaster Episodes 1 and 2 and Reading Blaster: Invasion of the Word Snatchers, it's easy to figure out who played which character, as only Mark Sawyer and Laura Boedeker were the only two actors. However, in some of the later games, the actors were only listed under "Character Voices", without the role(s) they played being mentioned.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Reading Blaster 2000 has a game show premise. If you opt for single player mode, your opponent will be Illitera, who was previously the villainess of Reading Blaster: Invasion of the Word Snatchers. She acts rude and the audience boos everything she says.
  • Power Crystal: Each of the first three puzzles in Mega Math Blaster end with finding one.
  • Pungeon Master: The Geometrons in Geometry Blaster have a degree of this. They drop geometry puns whenever they walk by Andi's trailer.
  • Punny Name:
    • Max Blaster = Math Blaster.
    • Subverted with Zoid in Geometry Blaster. His full name is Trap E. Zoid, despite being made of triangles and cones later on.
    • Ike and Rita Cuecard = "I Can Read A Cue Card". Don't worry if you didn't get the joke as a kid.
    • Illitera = Illiterate.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Geometrons in Geometry Blaster.
  • Retro Rocket: The Blasterpals have a purple one in In Search of Spot. Dr. Minus shoots it down in Secret of the Lost City.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Zoid in Geometry Blaster. Lampshaded at the beginning of one of the puzzles. The Sphinx combines this with Large Ham if you answer her questions incorrectly.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At the beginning of Math Blaster Ages 7-9 (1999), the heroes are watching a pastiche of Tom and Jerry on TV.
    • The ending and enemies from Math Blaster Ages 9-12 are a reference to The Wizard of Oz.
  • Space Friction: At the beginning of In Search of Spot, you can hear Blasternaut's ship screech to a halt above the planet's surface, with nothing to imply that there is any atmosphere.
  • Space Is Noisy: The Blasterpals can hear Dr. Minus's ship catching up with theirs in Secret of the Lost City. Blasternaut initially thinks its Spot revving his jets.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The leader of the Quadraticans is voiced in a non-interactive promotional demo for the 1994 games.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Blasternaut and GC in their classic designs.
  • Token Human: Andi, the protagonist of Geometry Blaster, is the only human protagonist in the pre-1999 games.
  • Underground Level: Mega Math Blaster has up to three ice cave levels depending on the difficulty. Hard mode also adds one after the two jungle levels. In Search Of Spot has one as well.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: The flying monkeys in Math Blaster Ages 9-12.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: All of the games in the main series after In Search of Spot use 3D graphics to one degree or another. Mega Math Blaster onward use a mix of 3D backgrounds and traditionally animated characters for cutscenes and the 2012 incarnation is fully 3D. Generally averted with most of the other games, though. Geometry Blaster actually justified it by having the objective be returning three-dimensionality to a world that was being converted to two dimensions.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In Junior/Ages 4-6, Blasternaut hosts a whack-a-mole style game where your mouse turns into a mallet that you use to whack creatures called Pesters that have stolen the treasure of the planet Countalonia. You're meant to whack the Pesters, obviously, but you can smack Blasternaut himself with the mallet as well.
    (PUNG!) "WHOAAA! Don't hit me!!"
  • Video Game Remake:
    • Mega Math Blaster is a remake of Math Blaster Episode I: In Search of Spot, which in turn was a remake of New Math Blaster Plus!, which was also a remake of Math Blaster Plus!, which was yet another remake of a game simply titled Math Blaster.
    • Math Blaster Ages 9-12 is a remake of Math Blaster Episode II: Secret of the Lost City that implements the puzzles differently.
    • Reading Blaster 2000 is a remake of Reading Blaster: Invasion of the Word Snatchers.
    • Spelling Blaster was reworked into Reading Blaster Ages 6 - 8, with the post-1999 versions of the Blaster pals replacing the original versions. Compare the before and after.
  • The Voice: Andi's mother in Geometry Blaster.
  • Where It All Began: In Master The Basics, going through all four quadrants on Pluto, Saturn, and Earth, and wrapping up a skirmish with Cyclotron X to disable his tractor beam on the power satellite, Blaster and AIMEE loop back around to Pluto to deal with the next obstacle concerning the Null-Ray Generators. Cue next difficulty.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Dr. Zero does this in the intro for Math Blaster Ages 7-9 (1999).
  • Wizard Classic: The Venerable Apothem in Geometry Blaster is a two-dimensional one made out of triangles. He even has the 2D equivalents of a Robe and Wizard Hat and a Wizard Beard.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • Galactic Commander, aka GC, has purple hair in her later incarnations.
    • Max (a later version of Blasternaut) has blue hair.
    • Blasternaut's (also named Max) 2006 rendition has spiky blue hair.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Math Blaster, Reading Blaster


Invasion of the Word Snatchers

Illitera steals all the words from the planet Earth.

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Example of:

Main / IntangibleTheft

Media sources:

Main / IntangibleTheft