By Andrew Liszewski
I’m not entirely sure where the idea to develop a video game based around oral hygiene and dental care came from, but it almost seems like Commodore was trying to make up for the other… let’s say… ‘less educational’ titles available for the system. And this was 1982, well before video games became the scapegoat for the majority of society’s woes. As I recall, Tooth Invaders was included with certain Commodore 64 bundles since I’m sure it would have had a hard time competing with other more exciting titles on store shelves. I mean it’s hard enough to get kids to brush every day as it is, I can’t imagine too many would have been thrilled with the idea of doing the same thing in a video game.
But it turns out that Tooth Invaders was one of the first games my uncle actually had for his Commodore 64, and whenever I visited it was usually the best option. In the game you play a kind of an oral superhero who goes around brushing small parasites off a set of 8 teeth. You had to be fast though, as the parasites were spread by a small army of roaming green meanies who were quick to undo all the work you had done. Once you had a tooth completely cleaned you could call for a fluoride rinse which would permanently protect the tooth so you could concentrate on cleaning the others. Of course if you didn’t stay on top of things a tooth would quickly become so covered with parasites that it would basically fall out, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make an impression on a 5 year old kid who felt brushing was a waste of time. Though it did take our family dentist quite a few years to convince me that my mouth was free of those roaming green meanies.