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Video Game / Learning Voyage

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Left to right: Nanosec, Blip, Arno, ZZ, and Parsec

Learning Voyage was a short-lived series of edutainment games developed by Learningways, Inc., and published by their parent company, Davidson & Associates, in 1998. There were two games in the series. Learning Voyage: Sand Trapped! was for grade 3, and Learning Voyage: Swamped! was for grade 4. They were also released as Davidson's Learning Center Series: 3rd Grade and Davidson's Learning Center Series: 4th Grade, respectively. Both games included games in both math and reading; for example, a clown-dunking game where you would have to say whether a statement is an opinion or a fact, and a robot-building game where you build the robots by solving math problems.

The games feature a family of aliens known as the "Discovercraft Crew" who run a floating museum called the Discovercraft. In each game you are trying to fix problems in the engine room. To get to the engine room, you need to earn game tokens. To earn game tokens, you need to master skills. To master the skills, you need to play the games. Once you've earned enough game tokens, you can enter the engine room and save the day.

The games also feature "exploration" activities. Sand Trapped! features a bat cave, and Swamped! features a "gravity simulator".

A video of Sand Trapped! can be found here.

Do not confuse with the Blaster Series. They're similar in a few ways, and a few ways only.

The games provide examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The "Busy Bees" mini-game in Sand Trapped, and "Digit Dive" in Swamped.
    • Arno calls the "Monkey Diver" game from Sand Trapped the "Chimp Champion Challenge", and then asks, "Will [the monkey diver] be a chimp champ, or a chimp chump?"
  • Alphabet Soup Cans:
    • In one activity, you solve math equations to build robots.
    • One game involves you reading sentences and figuring out things about them (sequences, fact or opinion, etc.) in order to dunk a clown.
    • In one game, you read a sentence and pick the correct part of speech in it in order to get a monkey to climb a tree; when he reaches a high enough point, he will dive into a puddle.
    • Swamped has a game where you play as a shark and have to eat fishes that have the correct word on them.
    • Completing activities in both games will get you Game Tokens, which you use to access the Engine Room in each game.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Sort of. Parsec, Nanosec, and Arno have tan skin, ZZ has orange skin, and their pet alien Blip is purple.
  • Cool Shades: ZZ, the daughter, wears sunglasses in order to look cool.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the intro to Swamped!, after Arno reveals he left the engine room hatch open ("'Close'? Uh-oh, I thought you said 'expose' the engine room hatch!"), we see a bunch of Bobbily Birds flying towards the DiscoverCraft. ZZ looks right at Arno and says, "Why, I wonder where they could be going?"
  • Edutainment Game: The activities focus on teaching math and language arts skills, but also contain some science facts here and there.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The "Monkey Diver" mini-game in Sand Trapped has a self-explanatory title.
  • Funny Background Event: When you enter the "Small Worlds" exhibit hall in Sand Trapped, Blip is dressed up as a bee. As ZZ and Arno explain each activity to you, Blip gets chased by an actual bee.
  • Gilligan Cut: Happens in the intros for both games.
    • In Sand Trapped!, Arno says he thought Parsec told him to "put trap doors back by the worms". Cut to a bunch of sand worms headed straight for the engine room.
    • In Swamped!, he claims he heard "close the engine room hatch" as "expose the engine room hatch". Cut to the open hatch, which has a bunch of flashing signs pointing to it that say "Wow! Look!", "Engine room!", and "VACANCY", and a speaker playing loud music.
  • Hub Level: The museum lobby for each game, which contains: three categories of two activities each; a map; a "just-for-fun" feature (a bat cave in Sand Trapped, and a gravity simulator in Swamped); a lesson panel; and the Engine Room, which can only be accessed if you have enough Game Tokens.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • From the "Dunkolator" intro: "Here's an exhibit that's bound to make a big splash!"
    • Also from the "Dunkolator" intro: "Do not try this at home; our clown is a drained professional!"
    • In the intro to Sand Trapped, ZZ suggests that they can get rid of the sand worms that have taken over the Discovercraft by using the "Ex-Worminator". This is also what you use in the engine room in Sand Trapped.
    • From the "Ants in the Plants" intro (paraphrased): "Our leaf-cutter ants use leaves to build things. Maybe we should call them carpenter ants!"
    • "Ants in the Plants" itself is a play on the phrase "Ants in your pants".
    • Also from "Ants in the Plants": "Wow, you're a regular ant-ropologist!"
    • After ZZ introduces the Bat Cave to you, she'll say, "Go ahead, it's your turn... at bat! Heh."
  • Lame Pun Reaction: The sarcastic rimshots after the puns in the Dunkolator game, in addition to Blip face-palming. Arno realizes this and ends the intro with, "All right, I'll leave the humor to the clown."
    • The "Ants in the Plants" game begins with ZZ saying that the Discovercraft's leaf-cutter ants use leaves to build things, remarking "Maybe we should call them carpenter ants!" A "Wah-wah-wah-wahhhhhhhh" is then heard.
  • Machine Monotone: The computer in the "Robomatic" game from Sand Trapped speaks in this way.
    • One of the features your robot may have is "Monotone Vocal Affectation".
  • Mondegreen Gag: In the intro to Swamped!, when Parsec asks if anyone remembered to close the engine room hatch, Arno responds, "Close? Uh-oh... I thought you said expose the engine room hatch!" We then cut to the engine room hatch, which has a giant neon sign pointing to it and speakers playing loud music.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Sand Trapped features a game called "Ants in the Plants", and Swamped has one called "The Big Dig".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Arno sometimes talks like this. When he introduces himself, he says "My appellative is Arno."
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Arno, who wears glasses, is the shortest member of the family, probably also the youngest, and sort of the smartest (he misheard "Put worm traps by the back door" as "Put trapdoors back by the worms", but he also knows a lot of larger words for his age).
  • Team Pet: The family has a flying purple alien named Blip. He never talks.
  • Totally Radical: ZZ has a tendency to talk like this. When she introduces herself, she says "Yo, ZZ in the craft!"
    • One of the robot parts in the Robomatic game is an 8-track player. When you put it on, the computer will say "8-track loaded and ready to hustle. Oh yeah."