The best computer game ever

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I can’t really explain how much I loved Treasure Mountain. Which is lucky because it was the only computer game I ever had. We didn’t have a computer, but I used to spend a lot of time at my grandparents’ house and I would sit for hours and hours and hours walking round and round and round.

I can still recall the music perfectly, which as it turns out is because it was some quality shit. Beethoven, CPE Bach and some Bach Sr, to be precise.

When I looked up the game on Wikipedia recently, about 25 years later, I was surprised to see it described as an ‘educational computer game’ that ‘teaches children aged five to nine reading, basic math, and logic skills’. I was like, bullshit man. That game was about catching elves in nets and collecting coins and shit.

Then I watched a video of the gameplay on YouTube and about 20 seconds in, this happens:

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I was like, what the fuck, man. Word sums?

Those sneaky guys.

Anyway, it turns out Treasure Mountain was made by a software firm called The Learning Company that headed up by a very questionable character called Kevin O’Leary.

The Learning Company was bought in 1999 by Mattel – the Barbie people – at the hopelessly overblown valuation of $4.2 billion. Just about a year later Mattel sold it for about a tenth of the purchase price, making a loss of about $3.6 billion.

It’s often called one of the worst acquisitions of all time.

As a sidenote, O’Leary signed a three-year contract with Mattel, but left after six months. With $5 million in severance pay. Genius.

Ultimately, Mattel experienced a $105 million loss after acquiring The Learning Company, instead of the projected $50-million profit. Its stock crashed, and the company lost $3 billion of shareholder value in a single day.

At the time Mattel sold The Learning Company, it was losing $1 million a day.

That would make a pretty epic word sum.

You can play Treasure Mountain here

(I still wish I knew what ELF XING meant.)

Author: ProjectJennifer

Project Jennifer was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.6 billion in 2012 dollars).

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