Video games have long been touted as a great way to teach people new skills – whether you are a pilot clocking hours on a simulator before taking an actual flight or a surgeon operating in an AG or VR setting, video gaming engines are definitely helpful. One of the games that were designed to seek and nurture skills in people was Outback Joey, a game released back in 1994 for the Sega Pico, an educational video game console that was specifically intended for young children.
Exploring Outback Joey
The console was most popular in Australia, and in parts of Europe, and it sought to help children develop new skills and understanding of the world through video gaming. It’s interesting though because some sources argue that the game was designed for a North American audience, rather than Oceania or Europe. The game itself was developed by Code Monkeys, an Australian gaming company, which sought to transform Outback Joey into a great way to teach children rudimentary skills, such as problem-solving, maths, and reading.
The game was created into levels of difficulty, but always relied on logical problem-solving more so than rote learning, allowing kids to figure out concepts and overcome challenges based on their experience with the game. Kids would count objects or match letters as they progressed through Outback Joey. The game was indeed a bit of an oddity at the time, as it was one of the few games to take on the ambitious goal of educating children and do so on a platform that was somewhat less popular than its counterparts at the time, such as the Nintendo. While Outback Joey petered out and the franchise was eventually retired, people in Australia still remember the game and its unique design and to this day, Outback Joey is a worthwhile collector’s item, especially if you are into retro games.
Forget Education, There’s A Lot Of Action
Outback Joey was an action-packed video game of its time, much as action-packed gaming can be found at some of the best Australian online casinos these days. While there were obvious instructional elements to the game, Outback Joey was as much about action as it was about teaching some fundamental fundamentals. The game, for example, included a heartbeat sensor that literally monitored the player’s heartbeat – the faster the heartbeat got (and you can imagine kids getting overly excited), the faster the kangaroo, the titular character, began to move across the screen, creating new challenges for those playing. This heartbeat tracker was actually a precursor to the adoption of such technology across numerous games to follow after that – think the Nintendo and its Wii platform which has been committed to making gaming as much about fun as it could be about losing the fun, which dovetails nicely.
Now, in terms of Outback Joey rarity, there are only 1,000 units of the game, making it even more difficult to find. Not only that but purchasing a working copy of Outback Joey in 2023 will cost you anything between $2,000 and $7,000, which is acceptable given the rarity of the original game.
When it debuted, Outback Joey was a one-of-a-kind game that introduced numerous novel features to the gaming industry. Unfortunately, the heartbeat tracker accessory prompted privacy issues, and just 1,000 copies were sold. Although it was not as well-known as another Australian-themed game, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, and despite being forgotten by most gamers, others recall the fun they had playing the game and the task of collecting the four parts of the talisman to complete each level.
The game’s true purpose remains shrouded in mystery, with some claiming it was an educational game while others say it was purely about testing the heartbeat monitor technology. The reality is likely somewhere in the middle. Outback Joey is a rare gem that few members of the gaming community know much about, but with a little digging, you can uncover more information about this unique game.