Back in the days when life made sense and video games mattered, Wisdom Tree were one of many small-time publishers to squat in Mario's shadow and sneak out unlicensed NES cartridges. Setting them apart from generic outfits like Camerica and American Video was their fundamentalist Christian focus: their games were unswervingly nonsensical, frequently goofy, and somehow both half-hearted and painfully earnest. Few of the games feature much that resembles fun, but their value as conversation pieces makes the Robotic Operating Buddy look like a loaf of bread.

Wisdom Tree began its life in 1989 as an unlicensed developer called Color Dreams. Responsible for games like Menace Beach and Raid 2020, the struggling company had little to offer beyond eyecatching sky-blue cartridges. Nintendo were eager to sue Tengen into the ground for creating excellent unlicensed games, but Color Dreams weren't worth the bother of pursuing, safe behind their wall of shit. The decision to create a religiously themed game (Bible Adventures) was perhaps desperation -- unsure of the possible reaction, they published it under a different name. Bible Adventures performed excellently for an unlicensed game, tapping a market that no other publisher had even looked at, and Color Dreams transformed into the new Wisdom Tree.

Altogether, they made seven games for the NES -- or far fewer, depending on your point of view. Almost all of their games were haphazard knock-offs of Color Dreams carts; this may be explicable in terms of the number of programmers to secede with the transition to Christianity. (Although they certainly didn't skimp while inserting obscure biblical trivia between rounds.) Most of their games are repetitive, dull tile-pushers; however, Spiritual Warfare is an excellent Zelda-style adventure that features some of the most intriguing and bizarre gaming elements this side of wonky Japanese madness. Sunday Funday (the last game produced for NES), which encourages you to blow up old women with bombs, is downright odd.

Wisdom Tree are also behind the only unlicensed game in the history of the SNES, a flagrant rip-off of Wolfenstein 3D called Super 3D Noah's Ark. To circumvent the SNES copyright protection, the cart was designed with an open top (like a Game Genie) that must be filled with another game before it will load. The level design is identical to the SNES Wolfenstein, although the graphical elements have been changed to reflect the tale of a zookeeper who subdues ravenous camels by hurling fruit at them until they fall asleep. They also produced several Game Boy cartridges (including a digital Bible), and various ports to the Genesis and PC.

Strangely, these people are still around, and even still selling some cartridges from their homepage at http://www.christianlink.com/media/wisdom/. If you find their games in your local thrift store, pick them up. Then give them to me.


PRODUCT LINE

Bible Adventures           N, G, PC
Be a part of Bible stories as exciting characters come to life. Help Noah fill the ark before the big storm; pretend you are David battling the giant Goliath; and help save baby Moses from the Pharaoh’s overwhelming forces. Assisted by direct quotes from the Bible, your adventure will be fun and educational.
Bible Buffet               N, PC
Bible Buffet combines the best features of a board game with the fast action of a video arcade. Spin the spinner to see where you’ll land. Visit exciting places like Pizza Land, Bread Land and Fruit Land. Win the game by gathering the most food for the food bank, finishing the map first, or answering the most Bible questions correctly. Pop quizzes test your knowledge of Bible stories and characters. Parents & teachers can contact Wisdom Tree for an answer key to make their own custom quizzes for the game. Every trip through Bible Buffet is a unique adventure, giving the whole family hours of food-frolicking fun!
Exodus                     N, G, GB, PC
Help Moses solve the puzzle with 100 fascinating levels featuring mazes and other obstacles to faith. With your staff and the spoken Word of God, you will defend against enemies including magicians, taskmasters, Pharaoh’s soldiers, weaknesses of man, hardened hearts, and other devices that challenge the character of God. Along the way, Moses can gather Holy oil, the armor of God, greater faith, and much more. Illustrated with 50 colorful reward screens, this learning tool also includes 250 questions spanning the entire book of Exodus.
Joshua                     N, G, GB, PC
You, as Joshua, must lead God’s people into the land of promise. But watch out! There are falling rocks, soldiers, battering rams and elite forces that will try to block your every move. Sound challenging? You bet! But God has given you the power. Weapons like the horn of Jericho, God Speed, power-ups, secret exits and other armor will help you in your quest. Conquer the Cannanites, Amorites and Hittites as you collect silver and gold, race through deadly mazes, and defeat the enemies of God!
King of Kings              N, G, PC
Experience the majestic birth and childhood of Christ. Collect gifts for baby Jesus; escape to Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod; and search for young Jesus in Jerusalem. Test your Bible skills by answering Bible questions designed to complement your game play.
KJV Bible                  GB
The Entire King James version of the Bible plus two challenging word games are all packed into this one little cartridge. You also have the choice of a simple or complex word search to find any word or combination of words in the entire Bible.
KJV Bible and 20 Lost
    Levels of Joshua       GB
The official site gives no mention of this cart. Presumably it's just a spin-off of Joshua, packed in with their KJV Bible.
Spiritual Warfare          N, G, GB, PC
You’re a soldier in the army of the Lord. Explore the regions of a modern city as you attempt to collect the full armor of God. Along the way, you’ll encounter villainous characters and numerous obstacles designed to test your faith. Correctly answering Bible questions will help restore your health and strengthen your spirit.
Sunday Funday              N
Sunday Funday - The Ride is here! Sunday Funday - The Ride includes two games - Sunday Funday and Fish Fall - plus an all new sing-along to “Ride of Life” by Dove Award winning group of the year, 4HIM. Skate on over to your local Bible Bookstore and pick up your copy today, or call the number below to order it right now! Are you ready for the ride of your life?
Super 3D Noah's Ark        S, PC
It's been a long journey. In just a few days, the ark doors will open and Noah, his family & the animals will be back on dry land. But the animals have become a bit restless and are out of their cages. Camels, giraffes, monkeys, kangaroos and more are wandering throughout the corridors of the ark. As Noah, it's your job to regain order & get the animals to sleep until you leave the ark. Your only tool to accomplish this is the food you brought aboard the ark. Can it be done? You bet! But how. . ?

(G = Genesis, GB = Game Boy, N = NES, S = SNES, PC = PC.)
All game summaries are taken from the official site.

Sources:
http://www.christianlink.com/media/wisdom/
http://www.nesworld.com/art-wt1.htm
http://pressreset.tripod.com/
http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repository/gameboy/history/wisdomtree.html