Sopoforic Agents in Childhood

Just another weblog

ChemRacer 2713: The Legend of Kid Chem

Posted by Tracy Poff on December 28, 2007

I’ve recently added ChemRacer 2713: The Legend of Kid Chem, an edutainment title by Ohio Distinctive Software, to MobyGames. Having searched for reviews of the game, or indeed any mention of it whatsoever, I begin to wonder whether anyone has ever purchased it. I certainly don’t remember doing so, although I have a copy, so I must have acquired it through some means. Perhaps a gift from some well-intentioned but misinformed person.

A Google search for ‘chemracer’ yields only 187 results, which includes the pages from MobyGames that I’ve just added. I would like to say that this an obscure gem, but sadly that would be a lie. The game was made in 1999, and really shows its age. It looks just like countless other games made around the same time with various game construction kits (ChemRacer was made with Macromedia Director)–the car follows the mouse slowly; some other cars move randomly; a chemical thing appears and disappears at intervals, and you can cause your car to move over it to collect it, or something; crashing into another car opens a multiple-choice trivia screen with a countdown timer; and that is the whole of the game.

The movement is sluggish; the main ‘racing’ element is far from fun or interesting; the trivia section is annoying and has such enlightening clues as ‘this element is a solid at room temperature’ when the options are four solids–forcing you to reduce your score by taking another hint and removing any particular reward for knowing anything about the elements, even satisfaction.

ODS has made several other software titles, and claims to have served 1.5 million customers. I strongly suspect that all but a few hundreds of these customers were purchasing third-party titles from ODS, for I cannot imagine that many people could be tricked into buying their internally-produced software.

ChemRacer is a piece of history, indeed; a piece to learn from and never to repeat.


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