No Pineapple Left Behind is a management sim that forces you to be a terrible person. A satirical view of the American school system by Subaltern Games, where money is the final goal and people don’t matter. Children are awful. They have wants and needs, and they’re all individuals. Pineapples on the other hand, don’t need anything. They just go to class and get grades. The better the grades, the more money you make. So every time you start a scenario your first goal is to dehumanise all your student so they’ll start turning into pineapples. The AI of the children is varied and interesting, and gets in the way of making money. No Pineapple Left Behind is the first game I’ve ever yelled “Stop making friends!” while playing.
No Pineapple Left Behind is effective at delivering its message because it puts you in a situation where these awful decisions are better for you. Teachers getting burned out? Fire them and hire new ones. It’s cheaper than paying them while they recover. Students getting a bit too distracted? Break up their friendships so they can focus on school work. These characters aren’t people, they’re statistics, and they’re statistics that only matter when they’re making you money.
While definitely an interesting concept, once you get past the “I see what you’re doing here” feeling of No Pineapple Left Behind, the actual game is a bit bland. The gameplay gets repetitive quite early, and the management decisions lose their impact nearly immediately. The message is meaningful, the humour is clever, the presentation is decent, but the gameplay is the unfortunate crux of an otherwise fun concept.