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Video Game / Museum Madness

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Released in 1994 for PC and Mac by MECC, Museum Madness is an Edutainment Game involving a boy named E.J. and his robot sidekick working to stop a virus infecting a museum and all of the exhibits.

E.J. must go from exhibit to exhibit, talking to robotic replicas of famous people, finding broken pieces of technology, and rebalancing the world's ecosystem among other things, until the virus itself is discovered and deleted.

This game provides examples of:

  • 15 Puzzle: The sliding variety is a puzzle in the Hall of Ecology; no surprise then that the Hall of Ecology is the longest exhibit to complete.
  • The All-American Boy: E.J., the protagonist.
  • Alliterative Title: Museum Madness: Because it's in a museum and a computer virus is messing up the place.
  • All There in the Manual: The player character's name, E.J., is only given in the manual. As a result, he has his own lines and personality, unlike your typical player avatar.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The dinosaurs in the Hall of Dinosaurs are based on outdated restorations from the 1950s. Plus, they claimed that Tyrannosaurus rex was more of a scavenger, Diplodocus roamed in swamps, and Stegosaurus's plates should be pointing sideways instead of upright (they probably meant its tail spikes).
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends with E.J. walking in hallways using a keycard to open an automatic door.
  • But Thou Must!: If you say no to the calligraphy teacher's offer to make you his student, he'll just ignore you until you accept.
  • Chain of Deals: In order to make a telescope for Galileo to use, you have to master the ancient art of bartering.
  • Computer Virus: Serves as the game's Big Bad.
  • Doing In the Wizard: The Salem Witch Trials exhibit has you doing this to disprove accusations made against a Puritan girl, showing that the "evidence" presented is merely coincidental phenomena like light refraction or manipulation of shadows.
  • Easy Amnesia: Apparently it works on androids, too, as robo-George Washington forgets everything that led to the American Revolution when he falls off his robo-horse. It's up to you to jog his memory.
  • Edutainment Game
  • Elephants Are Scared of Mice: When E.J. has to bring back a wooly mammoth to its exhibit, he says he wishes he had a mouse, since "elephants in cartoons are always afraid of mice".
  • Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: One level has you need to put a wide variety animals in their habitat, but you have a limited number of back-and-forth travels to do, and cannot put certain types of animals together in your wheeled cage.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: You have to give everything in your inventory (except your save disk) to get a ticket to Ellis Island. You get it all back at the end, though.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: E.J. regularly gives/lends some of his "modern" technology items (modern by mid-90s standards, that is) to CyReps who are programmed to emulate people from ages past. Just in the Prehistoric exhibit, this includes giving a handkerchief for a child to blow his nose with, a plastic comb for a cavewoman, a knife for a caveman to scrape a beast skin.
  • Green Aesop: The most obvious example: In order to complete the Energy Technology exhibit, the world cannot have any energy created from coal, oil or nuclear power. A less severe example is the Ocean Life exhibit, which requires you to save the ocean by fixing a leaky pipe.
  • Historical Domain Character: In the form of intelligent animatronics, you "meet" such figures such as Napoléon Bonaparte, George Washington and the Wright Brothers.
  • Hub Level: The Museum Atrium. Click on the map to select an exhibit to fix.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: As seen in the Simple Machines exhibit.
  • Kid Hero: E.J.
  • Luck-Based Mission: You have a one-in-three shot of getting to Ellis Island on your first try. Guess the wrong boat and you get to start the exhibit over.
  • The Maze: Three of them, actually. The Employees Only area of the museum, the library and the ferry.
  • Pixel Hunt: If a puzzle stumps you, this is probably the reason.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: You get to hammer in the Golden Spike connecting the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The CyReps. Well, at least the ones who aren't meant to look like non-human animals.
  • Robot Buddy: MICK.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: You have to build one out of simple machines.
  • Threatening Shark: And what is the best way to bypass such a shark? Throw a pistol shrimp at it, of course!
  • Totally Radical: The player character can be like this some times.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Kinda. You are apparently capable of reaching into a television set and pulling out fully functional stack scrubbers, with no comment on why that makes no sense.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: How did MICK get broken into pieces, have those pieces dragged to a locked up room and have a cassette tape with a fake recording left behind him? How could the virus do that, considering that it was shown as only influencing/manipulating programs before that?
  • A Winner Is You: Squashing the virus rewards you with a bit of dialogue between MICK and E.J. before kicking you right back to the DOS prompt.