An expensive educational video game starring Donkey Kong Jr? What kind of novelty game is this. Hope you passed your basic math class as we find out if this game gets an A+ or a F-.
Donkey Kong Jr Math Memories
I loved playing educational games as a kid, especially when we had computer hour every week in elementary school. Sure you were learning but you weren’t looking at chalkboard as the teacher explained fractions. Nope, instead you saving artifacts in Carmen Sandiego, traveling across the United States in Oregon Trail, or blasting math equations in Math Blaster. These were fun games that tricked you into learning.
Naturally when you’re collecting video games you come across some odd pieces you never heard of. Donkey Kong Jr. Math was one of those games. Browsing through Gamestop when they were selling retro games I came across it. I never heard of this educational game before but through some sort of internal logic I thought it was semi rare. This was around the time I heard about the Wisdom Tree games so I naturally thought anything educational on a major system was a good choice for as there would be low demand. In this situation, I’d say I was semi-correct in my assumption. Not a super rare game but definitely uncommon.
My friends questioned my purchase and rightfully so. They would pick up games that cost more but actually good games. I sometimes did the same but I’m drawn to games with weird box art, names, and concepts. This was definitely a concept I was interested in and it only cost $3 so it felt like a no brainer. We went back to my friend’s house I convinced them to put it in their system. Let’s see how bad of a purchase I made. Noticing there was a multiplayer mode, we were instantly drawn to it. This was a serious competition, a no holds barred blood bath. We were actively competing with each other to find out who was best math wiz. Swearing, shoving, and all the dirty tricks in multiplayer video gaming was coming to the surface. We had to find out who was the best at this game. We definitely had a blast in the time we spent playing it.
Stay Awhile and Learn Some Math
When you think of educational math games you think of Math Blaster or Number Muncher. These are fun action packed games where it’s fun to learn. Then there is Donkey Kong Jr. Math, the only game in Nintendo’s Educational Game series when released on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
There are two types of gameplay in this epic math video games, single and multiplayer. In single player it borrows from Donkey Kong Jr’s 2nd stage where you have to push locks up to rescue your father. In this version you’re climbing ropes to solve math problems Donkey Kong gives you. Just climb up the rope to select the number and move to the left to input it. Guess wrong and you lose a life. From addition and subtraction to multiplication and division, you can brush up your math skills. That’s it. Boring math problems. There’s really nothing else to say about it. Controls & graphics are the same from Donkey Kong Jr, a little stiff but they get the job done.
As for the multiplayer, this is where the game shines. You and your friend compete in a one on one battle of wits. Donkey Kong will throw up a number and you have to be the first one to reach it. Calculate A gives you easy numbers like 90 while Calculate B gives you more difficult numbers like -837. It’s a no holds barred math competition where there can only be one winner. The catch is that the numbers and math symbols are randomly placed throughout the level. Once a number is picked up by a player it will disappear for awhile. So if DK wants you get to 81 you better hope you get both 9’s and the multiplication sign before your buddy. Swear words will be flying as Junior slowly makes his way across the stage. The only caveat was that you need to play with friends who are willing to commit to this strangely competitive game. They’re not going to get the same multiplayer high like other great co-op games unless they keep an open mind.
An educational game going for $80+ feels a bit unheard of. If you’re a Donkey Kong collector you’ll have to add this to your collection. Otherwise this is a very unique game that’s really not worth the price of admission. I found that if you play this game competitively with friends it’s a blast, but are you going to spend $80+ on a novelty game like this one? I don’t think you should.
Rarity: Cart 6/10, Box 9/10, Manual 8/10
Retail Price: Loose $85, Complete $900
Max Spend: $10
Buy or Emulate: Buy it on Virtual Console you want to play competitively, otherwise skip it.
Do you agree with my recommendation for Donkey Kong Jr. Math or want to suggest a different game for the Game Consultant? I want to hear from you about it. Please leave a comment below.
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