“Yes, that’s right: I’m a grown man and I wish to purchase the Kids’ Meal toys. No, I don’t want 4 Kids’ Meals; I just want the 4 different toys that come with the meals, which are usually available for purchase separately for a dollar each.” You wouldn’t believe how creeped out the nice, young Taco Bell order taker was. When she asked me “for here or to go” when I ordered some supplemental food items along with the games, I just know she was pleading in her mind, “To go, pleeeeease, to go!”
So Taco Bell has another series of games distributed as a tie-in with their Kids’ Meals. This is at least the fifth such video game promotion that I know of. Since I thoroughly covered the last 2, you better know that I am not going to miss this one.
This is a slightly different deal, though. This is a series of Eco-Rangers games and they are straight DVD-video games. Not Windows or Mac games, but games meant to be played in a DVD player (well, you can play them on a Mac or PC with the appropriate playback software, as I did, and that’s also how I captured the screenshots). MobyGames has no current provisions for DVD-video games. That means my mission here is to scan the sleeves and the media for each game, just in case MobyGames adds listings for DVD-video games. Then, I play just one for curiosity.
Each of the games (Ocean / Rainforest / Woodland / Arctic Adventure) features a different member of the Eco-Rangers team. The objective is to save the environment. The preferred method for carrying out that task in these games is to answer a series of earth science trivia questions correctly. There are 9 gems spread about 3 missions; each correct answer to a trivia question yields a new gem.
I chose the Ocean Adventure because I like water. This is the first DVD-video game I have ever played. I can’t really recommend them. Honestly, they are full motion video games in the purest sense because that’s really all the technology allows for. A DVD remote pretty much allows up / down / left / right cursor navigation and a select button on top of that.
The game shows you some fish footage and then asks you a trivia question about marine life. It’s purely a trivia game, not a teaching game; you either know the questions or you don’t. However, I’m pretty sure the game only has 9 trivia questions at its disposal, so if you get one wrong, it will come up again pretty soon, and you will already be equipped with the correct answer. The first question I received was, purely coincidentally, something I had read on Wikipedia just 2 days prior regarding the fascinating symbiotic relationship between sea anemones and clownfish.
So I got that right. If you get too many questions wrong, your (presumably carbon-neutral) vehicle runs out of whatever kind of environmentally-friendly fuel it’s leveraging and you have to return to base and start over.
This game serves as a promotional platform for an Eco-Rangers DVD game called Animal Adventures. That’s technically a different title than Animal Kingdom, which was written up in USA Today more than 3 years ago. In fact, the Eco-Rangers site, believe it or not, plays host to a massively multiplayer online game, or will in Summer, 2009.
- Taco Bell Tek-Kids games, another series of 4 save-the-planet-themed games, but with specific Taco Bell tie-ins
- 2 3D Ultra Mini Golf Adventure games and the other 2 in the same series, another Taco Bell promotion (and very fun games, to boot)
- Comics Constructor, the most recent electronic tie-in from Taco Bell