Spanish for Everyone is a 2007 educational game for the Nintendo DS, developed by Humagade and produced by Activision. A young boy, Shawn, has lost his brother's Nintendo DS after his friend, Miguel, accidentally takes it home with him to Mexico. It's up to Shawn to travel to Ensenada and get the DS back, and learn some Spanish from an interesting cast of characters along the way.
The game is notable for its interesting story and an impressive dictionary of nearly 6,000 words in both English and Spanish, all fully voiced.
Spoiler Warning: Due to the game's premise and numerous Shocking Swerves, there will be some unmarked spoilers below simply by showing the existence of certain tropes.
This game provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: When Shawn arrives in Tijuana, Mr. Bull tells him he is the subject of an ancient bovine prophecy. This is never mentioned again after Shawn reaches La Zorra.
- Adult Fear: Shawn's parents are nowhere to seen. Worse yet, he is easily manipulated by a cartel boss into becoming a drug mule, and has a one-way plane ticket to France, unknowingly smuggling drugs inside stuffed dolls.
- The Cartel: Miguel's father is heavily implied to be a drug dealer of some kind. Tio Juan calls himself an "exporter" to the United States, and arranges for Miguel and his father to be gunned down after Shawn gets his DS back.
- Covers Always Lie: There is female character in the cover, that is not in the game at all.
- Dissonant Serenity: Mr. Bull recognizes that, as a toro, he will most likely die in the bullring. He seems oddly at peace with his fate, and even waves goodbye to Shawn as he leaves.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: Done on purpose. Shawn doesn't understand that he's been turned into an international drug mule, or how close he came to being gunned down in a cartel gunfight; he's just happy he got his DS back.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The entire game is full of this, but special mention should go to La Zorra (literally "the vixen", or female fox), a fictional Ghost Town. In Mexican slang, zorra means "bitch" (in the sexual sense), and on the game map, La Zorra is marked with an icon of a fox's head, showing that the developers definitely meant the literal meaning of the word.
- Fake Difficulty: One of the language minigame, "Match las Tarjetas" is a card-matching game that depends on memorizing images, rather than associating the images with certain Spanish words.
- Fake Longevity: To progress to each world, you must score a certain number of points playing minigames. The combined point total to reach World 3 of 4 is 150,000 points. The point total needed for World 4? 250,000.
- Killed Offscreen: Miguel and his father are heavily implied to be gunned down by Tio Juan and his cartel in the ending. We don't see the result, but several cars pull up to Miguel's mansion and gunshots can faintly be heard.
- Never Say "Die": Despite the disturbing subject matter, the game never goes so far as to mention death directly in order to preserve its E rating. The closest it gets is Mr. Bull saying he will "meet his maker" in the bullring.
- Poirot Speak: Miguel's father tells him to "Vamos! Get in the car, now!" in the opening cutscene.
- Sacred Language: According to Mr. Bull, Spanish has the power to thwart evil.
- Show, Don't Tell: One of the ways Humagade was able to get away with so many disturbing things in the story is by showing and implying a lot of the dark subtext in the cutscenes. When taken at face value, most of the dialog is innocent.
- Standard Snippet: The background music for the Vocabularia minigame is a cover of the Mexican folk song "La Bamba". It's used again for the end credits.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Bulls have been able to talk since the dawn of time, and no one noticed or cared until Shawn.