Blaster Learning System

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Blaster Learning System
Genres Edutainment
Developers Davidson & Associates, Knowledge Adventure
Publishers Davidson & Associates, Knowledge Adventure
Creators Janice G. Davidson
Platforms Windows, Macintosh, Apple II, Apple II GS
Platform of origin Apple II
First release Math Blaster!
1983

The Blaster Learning System is an educational video game series originally created by Davidson, but is now owned by Knowledge Adventure. Titles in the series have been produced for various computer systems, video game consoles, and as stand-alone handheld units. Originally, the series simply taught mathematics, but eventually expanded to other subjects, such as language arts (reading) and science. Due to the popularity of the original Math Blaster series, Davidson introduced Reading Blaster in 1994, which also went on to become successful.

A Science Blaster was introduced in 1996, but did not reach the same popularity as its predecessors.

History[edit]

The first remake of the Davidson fundamentals line came in 1989. The original Math Blaster was written in Applesoft Basic and the Microsoft equivalent. Under Mike Albanese, the Davidson programming crew created a cross platform development system based on Fig Forth. The product was well received and was the first of many Forth based products developed at Davidson.

After starting off with a huge bang and providing the base for the establishment of a very successful public corporation, the Blaster series eventually fell victim to marketing cuts. In an attempt to sell both up and down the age band more and more, Blasters were produced with increasingly thin, fuzzy and overlapping target age groups. Eventually the line came under fierce attack from the Gross brothers of Knowledge Adventure, led by Barton Listic. Knowledge Adventure countered with a simple grade-based segmentation with their JumpStart logo. Eventually, Knowledge Adventure was acquired by Davidson and the company lines were merged.

In 1999, coinciding with the CBS Saturday Morning cartoon "Blaster's Universe" produced by Nelvana and Teletoon, the characters once again changed, probably to be more identifiable as people, with Blasternaut becoming Max Blaster, a 12-year-old boy obsessed with science and space in the 21st century, and his Galactic Commander becoming G.C., a cool 12-year-old girl who looks like an earthling but is really an alien. Together they must secretly work to save G.C.'s universe, using logic and creativity to outsmart the intergalactic outlaws. Spot, the robot companion was dropped, with a robot dog named "MEL" ("Mechanically Enhanced Lapdog") replacing him.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, for the most part after Davidson began its series of being bought and merged into other companies, these titles were renamed and repackaged with no change in content. One example is the 1999 release of "Math Blaster for 3rd Grade" in which the box art shows the brand's all new CBS cartoon characters, while the screen grabs of the game show a very different Blaster character and style; "Powerful Praise" quoted on the box shows 4½ stars for the game while admitting it was "previously published as "Math Blaster Ages 6–9," but ironically that was itself previously published as "Mega Math Blaster."

Design[edit]

Art[edit]

Game designer Brian Reynolds worked on the sketches for the characters in the age group products.[1]

The Blaster series[edit]

Maths[edit]

Games Platforms and Release Years
Math Blaster!
Math Blaster Mystery[3] Apple II, Macintosh (1989)
Math Blaster Episode II: Secret of the Lost City'
Math Blaster Mystery: The Great Brain Robbery
Alge-Blaster!
Math Blaster Jr.
Geometry Blaster
Math Blaster for Kindergarten Windows, Macintosh (1999)
  • Re-released as Math Blaster Mission 1: Cosmic Critter Challenge
Math Blaster for 1st Grade
  • Re-released as Math Blaster Mission 2: Race for the Omega Trophy
Math Blaster for 2nd Grade
Math Blaster Cross Terrain Challenge: Ages 9–12 Windows, Macintosh (2001)
Math Blaster: Master the Basics Windows, Macintosh (2006)
Math Blaster in the Prime Adventure Nintendo DS (2008)
Math Blaster iOS (2013)
Math Blaster HyperBlast iOS (2013)
Math Blaster HyperBlast 2
  • Re-released as Math Blaster HyperBlast 2 HD
Math Blaster Space Zapper iOS (2013)
B-Force Blaster iOS (2013)

Reading[edit]

Games Platforms and Release Years
Reading Blaster: Invasion of the Word Snatchers Windows, Macintosh (1994)
Reading Blaster 2000
Reading Blaster Jr.
Word Blaster
Reading Blaster: Ages 9–12
Spelling Blaster
Reading Blaster for Kindergarten
  • Re-released as Reading Blaster Mission 1: Secret Of the Sunken
Reading Blaster for 1st Grade
  • Re-released as Reading Blaster Mission 2: Planet of the Lost Things

Other[edit]

Games Platforms and Release Years
Science Blaster Jr. Windows, Macintosh (1996)
Writing Blaster: Ages 6-9 Windows, Macintosh (1998)

Compilations[edit]

Year Title Games
Math Blaster Anniversary
  • Math Blaster: Ages 6–9
  • Spelling Blaster: Ages 6–9
Blaster Learning System 3R's: Ages 4–6
  • Reading Blaster: Ages 4–6
  • KidWorks Deluxe
  • Math Blaster: Ages 4–6
Blaster Learning System 3R's: Ages 6–9
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
Blaster Learning System 3R's: Ages 9–12
  • Reading Blaster: Ages 9–12
  • Multimedia Workshop
  • Math Blaster: Ages 9–12
2005 Math Blaster Game Pack: Ages 6-12
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

Other languages[edit]

Math:

  • Swedish (titled "Matte Raketen")
  • Finnish (titled "Matikkaraketti")

Reception[edit]

II Computing listed Math Blaster second on the magazine's list of top Apple II education software as of late 1985, based on sales and market-share data.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]