by Austin Brewer
All throughout the 80s and 90s, edutainment games were at their prime on PC and Mac. Series like Reader Rabbit, Jumpstart, and Carmen Sandiego truly shined out of the slew of kids’ titles. Most were quite tame in their content, to obviously be appropriate for children. Although, there was one title released in 1997, under the name of Grossology.
Before its game release by Appaloosa Interactive Corporation in 1997, Grossology already had a presence in libraries as a children’s book in 1992. It proved successful enough to warrant the computer game, a tv series, and even a highly-popular traveling exhibit. So, what makes Grossology stand out, amongst other edutainment titles? It’s crass, in terms of children’s games.
As soon as one boots the game up, they’ll already get a taste of what they’re in for. A jingle begins with the lyric line “It’s time to learn about secretion.” If that’s not enough, the title screen shows a small baby projectile vomiting… there’s also fake vomit plastered to the original game’s case!
The game starts in the “Main Hall” classroom, where you’re abruptly introduced to your guide and/or cool cat “Ginger Vitis.” The options Sound Lab, Gross-Out, Sing-Along, and Developer’s Lab (that last one’s little more than a note pad, so I won't bother talking about it) are available at your disposal. To the left of them, displays a human body map.
Sound Lab is essentially a music maker, with guts. Farts, burps, and gurgles are one’s compositional wonder workers. There’s not too much to say about it. The next option, Gross-Out, isn’t accessible until you’ve essentially scoured every piece of information in the game. So, let’s get on to Sing-Along.
If you were ever a child of toilet humor and had access to the internet, there was a good chance you enjoyed funny songs and sounds of farts and other bodily functions. Well, this CD-ROM is a goldmine of inappropriate songs for your inner-child to giggle at. The Sing-Along feature contains these songs: Scab Joy, Stuffed Up, Mama Mia!, Ice Scream Spit, Excuse Me, Nature Calls, Pimple Explosion, Sympathetic Heaver, and Science Project. Being easily amused, children most likely spent plenty of time in this area.
Now on to the main meat of the game, the Body Map. The BM contains 11 different labs to choose from. The labs consist of Zits, Boogers & Snot, Spit & Saliva, Burps & Belches, Barf, Poop Diarrhea & Farts, Pee, Scabs Wounds & Blisters and B.O. Sweat & Smelly Feet (these can also be accessed through the Barf Bag “Campus Map”, on the bottom right). Each lab will have a distinct instructor that will give you the rundown of the subject at hand. This is where the game shines, because of its hilariously-bad voice acting and interesting information.
In terms of entertainment though, the labs will have an interactive model and game for you to mess around with. After you answer a question correctly, only then will you be able to play the games. Most of the games are simply clones of existing games.
The Scab game is Othello, the Burp game is Simon Says, the Booger game is Kaboom!, the Poop & Farts game is simply pinball (yeah, if you ever thought Space Cadet Pinball lacked raspberries, look no further), the Body Odor game is Concentration, the Pee game is Pipe Dreams and the Zits game is Tetris. The Saliva and Barf games I have no idea.
Through its charmingly-stereotypical characters and cool facts, Grossology serves as an appealing children’s edutainment title even to this day. Overall, despite its fruitless efforts at “games”, this CD-ROM has enough content to keep kids entertained and laughed out.
The fact that there exists a CD-ROM with a sound clip of a grown man exclaiming “anus” should be enough of a reason to check this out.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 319 Mb. Install Size: 535 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Grossology is © Appaloosa Interactive Corporation
Cover Design and Installer created by me
Review by Austin Brewer