You might think that fast food marketing tie-in video games couldn’t get anymore absurd than the Taco Bell Tek Kids Flash-Ops games, or perhaps the Burger King Xbox/360 trio of games. But try this on for size: A Little Caesars Pizza-based game for the purpose of teaching fractions. Perhaps even stranger, though, is the fact that the sleeve in which Little Caesars Fractions Pizza is packaged actually labels it as a demo disc. My suspicion is that this demo was given away free with pizzas during some promotional period and the full version was available from Panasonic’s PanaKids division. The only record of the full version that I can find is this cover art picture.
The above depicts the main menu of the game. It’s sort of a futuristic pizza service operated by dinosaurs. Just work with it. You are enlisted as a new hire after a brief screening process where you demonstrate that you can identify which pizza out of a selection of four represents 5/8 of a pizza. The staff informs you that you have a lot of pizza to deliver to various time periods. However, in this demo, you only have access to the Triassic Park period. So you accept this assignment. When you arrive in your time machine to deliver the Hot-N-Ready food items (Little Caesars trademark marketing campaign), the cavepeople see fit to give you a brief education about fractional equivalence. You would be content to just collect your tip and move on to the next time period, but no. The cavepeople spell it out for you with rap.
And just for that, I have finally seen fit to post actual music on this blog:
Little Caesars Fractions Pizza — Caveman Pizza Fractions Rap, 1.23 MB, MPEG-4 AAC (.m4a) file
In fact, there are many fully-produced songs on this CD in redbook CD audio format.
After the rap, many of the cavemen disband, presumably to enjoy pizza. One early specimen of a woman remains behind to school me, man from the future, about fractions. In the process, she makes me work for my tip. In the following game, she gives you a goal such as “less than 3 and 5/6″. Then, a number of creatures walk, crawl, and fly through the screen holding fractions. You must use your slingshot to hit the fractions that match up with the given spec. The things a pizza delivery boy will do for a living.
Back at base, there is also an arcade game that you can play using your tip money. It’s called Tails and it’s a Nibbles-type game. The game gives you a mission to collect the fractions that are equal, less than, or greater than a given fraction. Hit a fraction that doesn’t match up, or a barrier, or your tail, and lose a snake. When you consume a qualified fraction, your tail grows.
A curious facet of this variation is the addition of the scissors icon. I haven’t seen anything similar in other Nibbles-type games. The scissors cut your tail in half.
Here are some of the pizzas I was assigned to deliver in the game:
- cheese, cheese, and extra cheese pizza
- pineapple and mosquito pizza
- popcorn and jellybeans pizza
Did Little Caesars sign off on this game? I can’t say I was exactly hungry for pizza, especially after the mosquito mention. Or maybe that’s actually part of their menu; I don’t know. The last time I remember having Little Caesars was in 1996 which predates the copyright on this game by 2 years.
Another curious feature is the janitor’s closet off the main menu which leads to the parents’ and teachers’ access control. It’s password protected. No worries since one of the dinosaurs pops up to tell you that the password is ‘access’. The control panel allows configuration of certain gameplay options and allows account management. I’m surprised it didn’t also allow changing the password. Perhaps that’s in the full version.