They're literally doing homework until they go to bed. Isn't that a bit on the excessive side? What about kids having a life? What idiot sanctioned this massive increase in homework? If I'd spent my entire free time doing homework, I'd probably not be doing whatever it is I'm doing now (sitting on the sofa in my underpants, with one hand in a bowl of crisps).
Of course, back in the day they attempted to foist extra-curricular learning upon us by stealth - with ill-considered edutainment video games. Here are ten of the most wrong-headed.
Admittedly, there is a 3D, ring-collecting bonus stage, featuring some thoroughly incongruous music, and Sonic advising the player that "You're a smart", but it makes fair claim to be the worst Sonic game ever. Which takes some doing.
Indeed, the most interesting thing about Sonic's Schoolhouse is that it was developed by a company called "Bap Interactive".
- Captain Condom, a scientist, who, after a freak lab accident is now half man, half condom. Stretches to any size like a condom, and when used correctly is 98% effective.
- Power Pap, a sexually active woman who believes strongly in getting tested regularly. After a close encounter with a horrible STI, she was treated and now dedicates her life to testing and pap tests.
- Willy the Kid, because he never grew taller than four feet, he joined the Sex Squad to prove that size doesn’t matter. POWER: Massive rock hard strength.
- Wonder Vag, a virgin who believes in true love and promotes abstinence until marriage.
The antagonist was The Sperminator, who has sperm-firing penis arms, and whose goal is to "infect everyone with his evil sperm". When the characters are hit with this "evil sperm" they remark "Eww - that's sticky!".
None of this is made up.
This remarkable game - essentially a sex-related trivia quiz, featuring a luchador with glans-fists shooting piranha-like giant sperm - can be played right here and now.
"WARNING: ANY CHANGE OF INSULIN SHOULD BE MADE CAUTIOUSLY AND ONLY UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION."
A super-hero with Type-1 diabetes, Captain Novolin had to rescue the equally diabetic mayor of his city from aliens who resembled junk food. Every time he was hit, Captain Novolin's blood glucose level went out of whack.
If that sounds a bit worthy and dull, then I've some good news: players could also earn bonus points by correctly answering questions that relate to diabetes!
Get this for some high concept sci-fi: years ago, meteorites struck the city of San Saurion (San Saurion Girlybox?), blanketing the city in choking dust - and giving asthma to all of its inhabitants. Fortunately scientists were able to construct a wind machine to clear the air... until one day the machine was stolen by "Mr Rexo".
Now Bronkie and his friend Trakie (do you see?) are aiming to get it back - while trying not to aggravate their asthma from encounters with cigarette smoke, furry animals and dust. Fortunately, Bronkie can collect asthma inhalers to help him along the way.
Here's a funny story: I once threw my friend James's asthma inhaler onto his extension roof. I know I probably shouldn't have done it, but in my defence, I was quite drunk. The End.
A school was sued for offering the game to its students, over what a group of irate parents claimed was racial insensitivity in the dialogue of its black characters, and the game was pulled from sale.
Freedom!'s noble aim was to recreate the attitudes, prejudices, and speaking patterns of the times, but it was felt "that 'the slaves' uneducated, dialect-heavy speaking manner presented the wrong impression of African-Americans to a predominately white student body", while it "Nintendoized a traumatic and difficult period".
In reality, providing you have some degree of moral context, it's actually quite effective in depicting the most shameful period of American history - the video game-i-ness providing an unintentionally stark backdrop to seeing your character bound and shackled by white plantation owners.
Get this: after smoking since he was just 15 years old, Jake Westboro is now dying - and wants to tell the world just how much he regrets his habit. Unfortunately, if he's going to stand a hope of doing so, Rex Ronan is going to have to be miniaturised and sent inside Jake's body to remove tar, nicotine and pre-cancerous cells.
But wait! The evil tobacco company which - irony! - Jake used to work for has sent microscopic robots into Jake's bloodstream to stop Rex Ronan!
Before leaving to go to Uncle Gary's house, Wally's parents tell him to invite the rest of his friends to the party, and make sure he reaches his uncle Gary's house before dark. They give him sensible parting advice to stay away from drugs and strangers. Although I cannot help but feel that warning him to stay away from his Uncle Gary might've been better advice...
Pure Poochy - with his backwards baseball cap, shades and skateboard - Wally Bear tried to show that you can be cool without having to use drugs. Of course, this is ridiculous, as there's literally nothing cooler than someone lolling around on a beanbag, with bloodshot eyes, drooling from the corner of their mouth, while saying stuff like "You know what blows my mind? How today already feels like a memory from tomorrow..."
Six missions had the player locating hungry people across the fictional island of Sheylon, juggling budgets and resources to feed them - and leading a convoy of food aid trucks, while avoiding landmines and other hazards.
And to think... we all once thought solving famine was as simple as getting a load of coked-up celebrity narcissists to release a Christmas record!
Feed the world,
Do they know it's Christmas time?
No they are too hungry to know it's Christmas.
There aren't even any decorations in their shops,
Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you!
Tell me about it, brah!
Millions of copies of Food Force were airdropped into famine-stricken Sudan, along with Annie Lennox and Olly Murs, who showed the inhabitants how to load up a CD-Rom, probably.
Every week, the top three players in the world would win a Catch the Sperm mousepad, inside of which "mock sperm swim in a liquid". Who wouldn't want one of those?
Inexplicably, updated versions of Catch The Sperm featured Christmas, Summer and World Cup-themed stages.
You can download it here.
It features an endless cycle of eating, drinking, pooing, and weeing - while being given useful advice such as "Turn on the light before you go to the toilet" and "Don't eat in the toilet".
Horribly, for some reason it also featured a number of pets doing their dirty business right next to your character. Anybody who has ever had a litter tray in their home will know that you want it as far away from you as possible, and keeping it in the lavatory is merely adding bad-smell to bad-smell.