Baldi’s Basics: The Story You Never Knew | Baldi’s Basics in Education and Learning


From deep in the screen savers of the 90s
came a creation that now haunts the youtube
corner of cyberspace.
The game is cancer manifested into digital
reality and yet has conquered our fears in
ways that feel more terrifying than poopy
youtube poop.
This game isn’t just cancer…it’s SCARY
CANCER!
And that’s a big deal.
But why?
And how?
But mostly why.
GOOD GOD PLEASE ERASE THIS PLACE FROM EXISTENCE
AND MAKE IT ALL STOP.
WHAT DOES THIS ALMOST OCCUPIER OF THE UNCANNY
VALLEY WANT WITH US IN HIS WEIRD CREEPY SCHOOL
AND NO I DON’T WANNA PLAY JUMP ROPE HOLY
OSHOIWEHGh YOU CREEPY BIT
It’s all gonna be fine don’t worry about
it.
So get out your thwacking stick, brush up
on your arithmetic and prepare yourself for
math problems that are truly unfair, for education
gone horribly horribly wrong, the story of
Baldi’s Basics in Education and Learning…the
story…you never knew.
First things first.
This game is a parody of 1990s edutainment
games like Math Blaster, Mavis Beacon and
probably some other favorites.
That’ll be important later so keep that
info stashed away somewhere.
Somewhere safe.
Next up…what’s the deal with this guy?
“You got it…Fantaaaaastic”.
He’s so upbeat yet his voice is so creepy
it’s like it’s tapping on my bones.
Well one of the first things to notice is
Baldi’s unsettling positivity doesn’t
last long.
This here “You can think pad” is merely
the first encounter of seven.
With this run of the thinkpad you can get
all the problems correct…the prize for which
is an acknowledgement that you exist and a
shiny quarter.
Cool.
But move onto the second and…HEY THAT’S
NOT..NUMBERS.
I mean they are but I can’t read them and
this isn’t fair.
Go fuark yourself and your stupid math Mr.
Baldi.
And you have the gaul to get angrier at me.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR SIR.
Metaphorically.
Don’t don’t that to yourself literally.
Anyway the goal of this game to to collect
all seven notebooks and escape out the exit
which would be pretty straight forward if
YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO GET TO THREE OF THEM
BEFORE THE LAST ONE FINALLY OPENS.
Safe to say, leaving is hard.
This schoolhouse is a fire hazard Mr. Baldi.
DO YOU EVEN CARE?
Of course you don’t.
You don’t even exist!
Except…wait a minute.
Isn’t it odd the first set of math problems
gives us a confirmation that we exist?
Does this mean we’re really here?
That we as a character really, truly exist
in this limited, mid-90s microsoft paint hell?
And if we exist…then Baldi does too.
THIS MAN IS A SENTIENT BEING WHO OCCUPIES
THIS PLACE AND HE…has an educational agenda.
No.
SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP.
NO!
In this closet, hides a broom who was hired
in place of a janitor.
Because “What do you do when school starts
in 7 hours and you haven’t hired a janitor?
Hire a broom!
It sweeps.”
Everything.
And sweeps everything it does.
Also apparently this broom is named “Gotta
Sweep” but calling it broom is way funnier
and this game is dumb anyway.
Indeed Broom is the neutral chaos of Baldi’s
schoolhouse.
Broom is a being whose entire existence is
passionately focused on the act of sweeping.
Not a single novel thought ever crosses Broom’s
mind.
There is only the need to sweep regardless
of who is in the halls and regardless of what
is happening.
This may seem like a tangent (and it is) but
it’s also not.
Broom is important!
You see, after learning that we exist, we
can therefore infer that Baldi exists and
therefore that everyone and everything else
in this game exists.
You might be wondering what exactly I mean
by that.
Well gentle viewer…allow me to explain.
With every work of fiction, there is the acknowledgement
by the creator and the audience that none
of this actually happened.
That none of this is actually real.
Mario isn’t really a person.
He is not a thinking, feeling entity who actually
saved the princess.
He does not have the moment-to-moment conscious
awareness that comes with the territory of
having a mind.
Because he doesn’t exist!
And neither does the mushroom kingdom.
Nintendo never tried to say otherwise.
But Baldis schoolhouse and the students in
it…we exist.
The game said so! THIS GIRL NAMED PLAYTIME
EXISTS AND SO DOES THIS SOCK AND AND SO DOES
THIS BULLY WHO DEFINITELY WOKE UP ON THE WRONG
SIDE OF THE LIQUIFY TOOL AND SO DOES BALDI
AND SO DOES THIS PRINCIPAL WHO LOOKS 14 AND
SO DOES…Broom.
So I ask the question.
What would it be like to exist here?
In this sterile prison of schoolhouse with
hideous things roaming and rules, rules rules?
Hell need not be made of fire…gentle viewer.
And yet…Broom’s perspective on things
is (oddly enough) a state of bliss.
A state of mind that is so hyper-focused on
one thing, one purpose that Broom is able
to shut out the rest and lead a meaningful
existence within this place…sweep sweep
sweep indeed.
And Playtime, this jump roping, existentially
terrifying girl thing is no different.
Well…slightly different.
While broom is a chaotic neutral…playtime
is…we’ll call her chaotic good.
If you need to brush up on your DnD alignments
I’ll just leave this here.
While broom only wants to sweep, playtime
wants not only to jump rope…but to have
fun…and for us to have fun too.
I mean playing with her is about as fun as
playing hopscotch because you’ve got a gun
to your head but she means well right?
But like Broom, playtime is extremely focused
on one activity.
But unlike Broom, she’s aware of more than
just her activity…she’s aware of us and
whether or not we jump rope correctly.
What’s particularly unsettling about playtime
is that her sense of fun is…a little wonky.
SHE’S THE WORST.
And will almost certainly get you caught by
Mr. Thwacky over here because she wants to
play.
HOW SELFISH.
And how not fun.
Don’t you see the error of your ways little
girl???!
Don’t you?
Hah.
Of course you don’t.
When you exist like this…fun is fragmented
and bastardized and squeezed into the second
dimension to become the annoying, scary timewaster
that is jumping rope with this bitch.
But where am I going with all of this?
We’ve analyzed the psychology of Broom and
Playtime…and how their mindsets make sense
in the context of the world they live in…but
what about Baldi?
This is his schoolhouse after all.
The principal may be the head-honcho of…the
thing?
I guess this place is called the thing?
Whatever.
The principal may be the man-in-charge according
to his position of authority but this is Baldi’s
Basics.
He is the true mastermind behind this realm.
AND I WANT ANSWERS GOSH DARNIT!
Answers to why any school would be organized
by a man who can’t even administer a test
that makes sense.
Answers to why this same man would be driven
to levels of angry insanity so high that he
chases us around with a ruler for minutes
on end…and nobody even tries to stop him.
What’s wrong with this place??
And why has this poopy game of poopiness resonated
enough with the world to garner millions of
views on YouTube??
Sure the game is worth its weight in entertainment…in
spite of and BECAUSE of its jankiness, but
sometimes…sometimes pieces of art tap into
our culture in a way that’s more relevant
than is immediately obvious.
Sometimes what’s on the surface is merely
what draws you in and it’s something lying
below…something real… that really keeps
you engaged.
Indeed Baldi’s Basics…is real.
THIS PLACE AND ALL THE PEOPLE IN IT EXIST!
Kind of.
This game is a parody of 1990’s edutainment
games like Math Blaster, Mavis Beacon and
whatever and those games were molded around
the thought patterns that created and still
run our education system today.
If they weren’t then I wouldn’t have been
allowed to play Mavis Beacon during Computer
Lab and been so totally not into her stoic
yet friendly smile and classy attire.
Oh Mavis I…
I mean THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG HERE.
Something…fundamental.
The parody that is Baldi’s Basics in Education
and Learning runs deep.
So deep that it strikes right at the heart
of any child whose ever filled in a standardized
testing bubble.
It speaks to the shortcomings and outdated
teaching methods within our education system.
THE LOGIC IS SOUND AND REASONABLE AND TOTALLY
NOT SHOEHORNED IN AS AN EXCUSE TO TALK ABOUT
SOMETHING IMPORTANT OKAY.
You see Baldi gives tests like we’re given
in school.
Sure his tests are ridiculously easy and often
completely incomprehensible…but this idea
of giving a list of problems in the same category
(in this case simple arithmetic) and then
giving you a pass or fail…well there’s
nothing wrong with that idea itself…but
look how Baldi reacts when you fail.
He gets angry, sure that isn’t how a teacher
should act when a student can’t pass but
more importantly his tests never change.
You can get the first three question right,
but after that you fail every time.
Baldi wants to test your ability in one aspect
of one subject and considers you to be stupid
and useless enough to be chased around and
smacked with his ‘splainin stick if you
can’t pass.
You’re never given a chance to see what
else you might be good at.
You’re never allowed to learn in a way that’s
more natural to the human mind.
It’s just learn it or you don’t pass.
You’re bad at math?
WELL THAT MEANS YOU FAIL AT MATH AND THEREFORE
WILL NEVER HAVE THE MENTAL CAPABILITIES TO
USE IT IN ANY CONTEXT EVER.
THWACK THWACK MOTHERFUCKER.
If you’re a bit confused what I’m getting
at, don’t worry!
The takeaway that I’ve shamelessly shoehorned
in is best understood with the ideas of educational
philosopher David Hawkins.
In his essay, On Living in Trees he asks the
question of how the human mind really learns.
If you were to map out someone’s knowledge
over the course of their life, it would look
eerily similar to veins in a leaf.
You have some large arteries like math, writing,
etc and from those you’d have branches into
smaller categories that can be as common as
arithmetic or as obscure as linear algebra
in the context of how your mom moves through
3D space so I can bang her.
Knowledge isn’t a ladder…it’s a network.
Yet with the way schools teach us, we learn
in chunks, one class for math, one for english,
one for science and in each of those subjects
(in each of those chunks) you’re allowed
to move onto the next level (the next grade)
if you can get enough points for a passing
score.
While truly not understanding something should
keep you from progressing, the way we are
taught doesn’t take into account how knowledge
is best organized in the human mind.
It doesn’t take into account how when you
work on a real-world project, you pull information
from many subjects at once and rarely are
you ever hyper focused on one concept like
pure mathematics or pure writing.
For example, when I wrote the first ever SYNK
script about Samus Aran…I pulled from my
knowledge of writing I gathered from my English
classes, my knowledge of existential whachamahoosit
from my philosophy classes and own research,
and my knowledge of video games I learned
from playing video games…all at once!
Practically anything you do outside of school
will test your ability to pull information
from many disciplines at once.
The more complex the project is, the more
subjects you’ll need to pull from and the
deeper into each individual knowledge tree
you’ll need to go.
Yet with the way we learn in school, you’d
think the only thing relevant to math is math
itself and all it’s subsections.
That the only thing relevant to writing is
writing itself with all it’s subsections.
Once you get to college subjects can start
to mix…especially when you’re talking
about hardcore research papers or engineering
or whatever…but during those crucial formative
years you’re learning each subject separately.
But what if…instead of having information
boringly thrown at you for 7 hours a day and
then having to regurgitate that information
on paper with no real context for how any
of this could or will be useful to you…what
if you had the chance to contemplate your
individuality and focus on projects that seamlessly
combine the subjects every student must learn
into projects that you are passionate about.
Or at least actually care about.
Maybe it’s building a dope robot for a dope
competition, maybe it’s writing a paper
about those endangered polar bears you’re
sad are dying and using statistic analysis
and data collection to study them so you can
learn more about their predicament while practicing
something that matters.
The specifics don’t matter.
You wouldn’t be told you suck at math because
you can’t stand to focus on the next statistics
lecture, you’d choose a project or a class
that utilized that subject and made you understand
it in a context you actually care about.
And if you still suck at it after that…then
you really do suck at it!
I was never a fan of geometry in school, but
when I joined the robotics club and got to
use it a little to build a robot I got to
drive in a competition…suddenly the numbers
and angles and proofs started flowing.
Depending on what school you go to, opportunities
for individualized learning experiences might
be very abundant or non-existent…but what
can’t be denied is that learning in the
context of something you care about fits incredibly
well with how information is organized in
the human mind.
It’s not organized in a ladder where how
high you can climb determines how good you
are…
It’s a network where every subject you learn
is interconnected with every other subject.
You may have seen that dope RSA Animate spoken
by Sir Ken Robinson…it has like 15 million
views so odds are pretty high you have seen
it.
In it he delves into what’s wrong with western
education and really education in general.
The way we’re taught is based on an out-of-date
model of education put in place to groom hordes
of mindless factory workers.
That’s not a conspiracy… that’s a fact!
The seperate buildings and classes for each
subject, the timed bells…it’s all a throwback
to when kids had to get ready tighten bolts
for 12 hours a day.
Education (as it stands now) squashes creativity
and gives gold stars to those who happen to
function just fine in its mind-boundaries.
If you happen to be one of those people…good
for you!
BUT YOU GOT LUCKY SON.
Or daughter.
But to those who don’t fit well into this
mold…and to those who are bored by it…how
things work at school feels like how Baldi
runs things in his standardized, monotonous
HELL.
Clearly school is way better than this place
no matter who you are but IT’S AN EXAGGERATED
METAPHOR OKAY.
Which is why I can keep going with it and
why those who thrive in the current school
system won’t be offended by the next sentence.
There are those who have found a sort of creepy
peace with this endless monotony…Broom and
Playtime with their hyper focused mindsets
are okay with this place.
But even they could see the world more richly
if they had the courage and clarity to go
through the motions and walk through that
exit.
That’s not a metaphor for dropping out DO
YOUR HOMEWORK YOU LAZY.
It’s a metaphor for graduating from this
place and forging your path based on your
genuine interests and not necessarily following
the path you’ve fallen into because of what’s
been drilled into your head all these years.
There’s a difference between what you think
is right and what you feel is right.
The system doesn’t know you but also you
don’t know everything.
If you can reconcile the thoughts you’ve
been told with the feelings you’ve been
having then you can find your place in this
dumb world.
You really can.
That’s the story of a teacher and his silly,
creepy standardards.
The story of Baldi’s Basics in Education
and Learning…the story you never knew.
And…that’s my take on Baldi.
What’d ya think?
If you wanna look more into how our education
system can be improved there’ll be links
in the description.
It’s an important conversation so why not
talk about it on a video where nobody was
expecting it?
Anyway if you made it this far then chances
are you liked the video.
Which means you could use some more treesicle
goodness in your life.
Every weekday at 3PM Pacific Time we’re
playing games on twitch!
And oftentimes we’re playing games that
we’re covering on the channel…Baldi’s
Basics included!
So check us out LIVE at twitch.tv/treesicle
where I’m streaming something cool with
Ryan (the Real Truth dude)…right now.
Basically.
Unless it’s the weekend, then maybe not.
And if you missed it, you can click here to
see Ryan and I getting a SECRET MYSTERIOUS
ENDING in Baldi’s Basics….and raging super
hard.
Check that out if you missed the stream or
if videos are more your speed.
Besides that, I’m Grant, that’s all I’ve
got today and I’ll see you next time.
Bye!

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