“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Though Ben Franklin had no statistical proof to back this statement up, education is generally still perceived as somewhat important these days. But in a fast-paced modern world where there’s not a moment to waste on inventing bifocals or flying kites, let alone sitting at a desk without making money, who really has the time for school? Thanks to Nintendo’s Virtual Console University, now everyone does! We’re proud to offer learning on the go via our new online Game Boy Degree, perfect for all those motivated movers and shakers looking to climb that corporate ladder by taking massive shortcuts, as well as a great way for others to avoid that hidden shame when lying on an application or answering an innocent background question during a swanky cocktail party.

Really, the Game Boy Degree is so simple the syllabus fits right in the palm of your hand. Students will participate in bite-sized versions of popular classes, often streamlined of any color commentary so as to get down to the basics. Whether bored during that walk to the bus stop, avoiding eye contact on the evening subway ride, or driving with your knees because it’s totally not that dangerous, it’s a curriculum based around your convenience, so you choose when and where to learn instead of some so-called “teacher” making all the rules. Finally!

So sign up with VCU today and experience a wide variety of glossed-over subjects, including:

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Pharmacology 101: Dr. Mario

Look, it’s no secret that those tiny, ingestible tablets from heaven called pills have made life on this Earth worth living. I mean, there have even been songs written about the virtues of popping capsules that I’m sure weren’t sarcastic at all. What all this popularity means is that the demand for people who understand what all the different colors and shapes mean for the average consumer patient has skyrocketed. Students who enroll in the Dr. Mario pharmaceutical program will be given a crash course in medicine by one of the finest physicians in the Mushroom Kingdom. This one-stop digital shop named Mario can cure that pesky stomach bug and unclog the toilet all in the same house call, so you know he’s an expert. Via his patented training system, the mustachioed MD will simulate an array of illnesses and the demonstrate how to quickly make those nasty little viruses disappear. It turns out that writing a prescription is totally easy, as all that’s necessary in diagnosis is to match the color with the disease. From there it’s all about dosage. Just tossing a bunch of drugs into the problem area works well in most cases, but you’ll have to be quick so as not to cause any messy overflow. Some skill in positioning these oval mini-miracles is required as well, but this is easily learned after only a few sessions.

Please note, in an effort not to exclude the colorblind or single-coned animals, the Game Boy version of this course deals only with infections ranging from black to white and all the gray in between. Those interested in further studies that target additional hues are encouraged to sign up for one of our many console programs.

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Economics 101: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

With inflation, the influence of foreign markets and currencies, talk about a gold standard, and all the other complications inherent in money, the smart capitalist knows that it’s a return to the time-tested barter system that is where the real future of business lies. We here at VCU are one step ahead of the cost curve and offer a quick tutorial in this fool-proof exchange of goods and services in the form of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. By following a young industrialist on his journey across the island of his dreams to find that much sought-after giant nest egg, students will be shown an example of just how easy it is to acquire whatever you desire simply through trade in only a few effortless steps. From a cheap prize in some Trendy Game to the elusive Boomerang and everything in between, players will learn that profit is in the eye of the beholder, something that should be exploited as much as possible. It turns out that for some reason  a ribbon is worth the same as dog food, a broom will get you one fishing hook, and somehow a bunch of bananas only buys a single wood stick. Hey, it’s a tough economy.

As an item’s value is only what someone is willing to give for it, so the Link’s Awakening barter simulator offers another lesson more meta than the game itself: in order to sign up for the class, students will be required to render payment for university fees in either goods or services acquired through serendipitous means. That means give us something, and it better be good. Seriously. We want that Yoshi Doll.

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Marketing 101: Pokémon Yellow

Aspiring mad men and women that want to get better at the art of selling people things that they don’t really need should look no further and bow down to the masters behind the 20-year international phenomenon, Pokémon. Essentially releasing multiple versions of the same product and convincing obsessed consumers that they gotta catch ’em all has been one of the most lucrative business models in gaming, as the Pokémon Yellow class will demonstrate. Students will first be tasked with playing Pokémon Blue before repeating the exact same steps with Pokémon Red. While they argue over which of these mildly amusing games had the better starter and link up to trade and get all 150 cartoon beasts, subconsciously a change will be taking place in the part of their brains that controls desire. To stimulate this, images of a new yellow Game Boy Color will be flashed during the commercial for a Pikachu-themed Volkswagen Beetle that plays before a trailer for a brand new Pokémon movie starring everyone’s favorite electric rat. Soon, for reasons no one can explain or even understand, the class will retread the exact same material yet again, and they’ll like it. All hail Pokémon Yellow.

The idea of marketing outside the box will be fully explored, and examples of Nintendo’s sometimes odd approach will be on full display. For instance, is this class even designed to teach, or is it merely yet another advertising masterpiece designed to hook even more of the Earth’s population on a bare-bones RPG, all the while masquerading as education? There’s only one way to find out…

*Required lab materials: One large-sized wallet containing hundreds of dollars, or credit card with equivalent spending limit

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Political Science 101: Kirby’s Dreamland

For those who want to learn more about methods of government different from the democratic republicanism of our own, VCU’s Kirby’s Dreamland online course simplifies totalitarian monarchy to a black-and-white situation by illustrating the control one penguin king has over his monster-filled acid-trip kingdom. As Lord Acton once ironically opined, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and so to that end students of this course will be shown the inherent flaws in a one-party system as the simulated King Dedede robs the titular pink puffball’s homeland of it’s food. Why? Because he can, and who are you, peon, to disagree? Perhaps this despot should have read Nicolo Machiavelli’s treatise on acquiring and holding power before making a decision that lead to open revolt, but such is often the case in these situations. Class discussions will revolve around whether a coup initiated by Whispy Woods could have prevented all the cute bloodshed and maintained the monarchy, or if violence was inevitable to produce the type of change necessary for Dreamland to evolve.

The issue of aftermath will be touched upon as well. The death of any heirless dictator leaves a void that must be filled before the country erupts in chaos. Infrastructure must be maintained and security must be established immediately upon a change in power so as to ensure a smooth transition, but often those aiming to bring down the government are not prepared themselves to govern. Politicians must be capable of shape-shifting, absorbing the powers of their enemies, and blowing lots of hot air. Hmm. So maybe Kirby is the logical choice to succeed his slain enemy as leader of the people, but how long until the conquering hero becomes the villain himself?

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Behavioral Genetics 101: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

The role of genetic and environmental influences on human behavior has been much debated, and now VCU students can join the fray with our new Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins study software. Much like with the well-researched and scientifically-lauded docu-drama Twins, students will be introduced to a yin and yang duo who, despite no “official” evidence of such from supposed canon, surely share some DNA (I mean, c’mon). Over the course of 32 levels, the class will examine the actions of these very different men and form conclusions as to how they became the good and evil plumbers they are today. How much did their individual upbringings come into play? Did Mario’s bullying really push Wario to a life of crime and revenge? How did their mustaches grow in contrasting styles to perfectly reflect their respective personalities? Also discussed will be the glaring similarities in the behavior of the two that manifest in different ways. For instance, both Mario and Wario clearly have an unhealthy obsession with coins, as one amasses piles of money out of pure greed for shiny gold and the other stores them up to buy his way out of his many failures. Though not “technically” from the same parents (pending blood sample analysis), students will treat this case much in the same way as a twin study and explore the pairs phenotypic differences.

Another emphasis of this course will be the nature of good and evil. What possible evolutionary reason causes one half of twins (usually the one on the left) to be a sinister shadow of its more righteous sibling? The jealousy that arises often leads to hostility in the form of world domination, or in the case of Super Mario Land 2, stealing a castle and attempted murder. Students will examine the psychological motivations behind this.

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All these and more crash courses are available at the push of two buttons! So what are you waiting for? Education couldn’t be any easier with the Online Game Boy Degree!

*Those interested in a more traditional learning experience are encouraged to try out our NES Program, the advanced SNES curriculum, and for those terrified of leaving school, our N64 Masters Degree.

About The Author

Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy grew up in the hearty Midwest, where he spent many winter hours playing Nintendo games and watching movies while waiting for baseball season to start again. When he’s not writing screenplays to satisfy his film school training, he’s thinking about his next Legend of Zelda post.