Mario is Missing! -- Note: the cover art here is 200 to 500 percent more exciting than anything that occurs in-game.
Every so often Mario, like a nervous, sweaty, uncomfortable dad sitting his kids down to give them "the talk," tries to teach us something. He doesn't like this, and neither do we. He feels that it's his obligation. And it's not that he teaches us about jump stamina or koopa murder. He does that all the time, and we all love it. No, no, no. Sometimes he tries to teach us other stuff. Like, real
There are several self-consciously educational entries in the long list of Mario games. Mario desperately tries to get your WPM count up so you can land some kind of halfway respectable job in Mario Teaches Typing. In Mario's Time Machine, instead of going back in the titular machine and killing Hitler (or at least Mussolini) like anybody with a soul and a time machine would do, Mario just goes on a painfully informative scavenger hunt.
Perhaps there will be a time when we discuss more in depth those two attempts to educate gamers using Mario lore as a cover. But right now, we're going to focus on the SNES version of Mario is Missing!
Mario is Missing! is essentially an hours-long lecture about geography and world history given by Luigi. If you completed this game as a child, you either had an immense yearning to become an anthropologist at an early age or you had a gun to your head. You do have to hand it to Mario is Missing!, though -- it did teach us a lot. Sometimes it taught us things it wasn't even trying to teach us.