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Microsoft is pretty excited to introduce Minecraft Education Edition as part of the new Microsoft Classroom suite for schools. And why not? Redmond has found another market for Minecraft, an extraordinarily popular game it purchased for $2.5 billion. The the school version of Minecraft is designed for educators to incorporate into lessons about storytelling, teamwork, and more than anything, navigating around Windows 10 and Office 365 programs.

For students, it is sure to join the pantheon of rainy day recess activities, and make computer lab time something to look forward to.

School-approved gaming has gone hand-in-hand with computers in the classroom since the beginning of time, so how will Minecraft Education Edition match up with the floppy-disk schoolroom greats of past generations?

It’s some pretty fearsome competition. Let’s look at favorites remembered by students of the 1980s and ’90s.

Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail


If you went to school in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Oregon Trail taught you everything you know about Manifest Destiny, dysentery, river crossing in covered wagons, and shooting more wildlife than you could carry back to the wagon.

Odell Lake

odell lake

Odell Lake is an actual lake in Oregon. Maybe you transformed into a fish once completing the trail. Anyway, this game taught you about aquatic food chains and ecosystems.

Number Munchers

number munchers

In Number Munchers, we learned that prime numbers are poisonous and will kill you.

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing



Did you know that Mavis Beacon is not a real person? What a sham! Still, her Rad Racer-style typing challenges helped a generation to evolve beyond hunt-and-peck keyboarding.

Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?


carmen san diego bigger

This game inspired a generation of world travelers and geography buffs; the television series showed us the awesomeness of a capella vocal groups wearing stonewashed jeans.

Lemonade Stand

lemonade stand

Here’s one that planted the seed for young entrepreneurs. You learned to balance material costs, advertising spend, and how rainstorms suck for selling lemonade.




The enormous Sim-franchise started with this title originally developed for Commodore 64 in 1985, but it sat shelved for four years until a tiny start-up called Maxis published it. It inspired a generation of urban planners and llama enthusiasts.

Kid Pix

kid pix

The original Kid Pix bitmap drawing program took the frustration out of drawing (on a computer or otherwise) for a lot of young artists. I’d still choose it over MS Paint even today.

Car Builder

car builder

Students could learn a ton about physics and car design with this 1982 DOS game, seeing how different chassis shapes and building materials affected vehicle performance on the track or in the wind tunnel. Even though it looks clunky by today’s standards, the educational principles still hold up.


Which were your favorite floppy disk games to play in the elementary school computer lab?

Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

More posts by Adam Lovinus

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