Donkey Kong Jr. Math
|Donkey Kong Jr. Math|
European box art
|Developer(s)||Nintendo Research & Development 2|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo Entertainment System|
Donkey Kong Jr. Math[a] is a Nintendo edutainment video game where players solve math problems. It was released in Japan in 1983 for the Family Computer, in North America in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and in 1986 in the PAL region.
It is the only game in the Education Series of NES games in North America, owing to the game's lack of success. It was made available in various forms, including in the 2002 GameCube video game Animal Crossing and on the Virtual Console services for Wii and Wii U in 2007 and 2014 respectively. Donkey Kong Jr. Math was a critical and commercial failure. It has received criticism from several publications including IGN staff, who called it one of the worst Virtual Console games.
The game features two modes, one single-player and the allowing for one to two players. Its mechanics are similar to its predecessor, Donkey Kong Jr. The Calculate mode has Donkey Kong hold up a number, which players must attempt to reach by collecting a combination of digits and arithmetic symbols to eventually reach that number. Players must climb vines to reach these figures. The +-X% Exercise requires players to solve fixed math puzzles by climbing chains to reach the correct numbers and arithmetic symbols to do so.
Donkey Kong Jr. Math was developed by Nintendo Research & Development 2 and designed by Toshihiko Nakago. It was published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Family Computer (Famicom). It reuses its engine, assets, and gameplay from Donkey Kong Jr. It was a part of the Educational Series on the NES, a series that was originally supposed to have three entries, including a Donkey Kong music game. However, it was the only one released under that line. A lack of success by the game was attributed by a Nintendo spokesman to be the reason Nintendo did not make more educational titles. It was the first spin-off title Nintendo made.
The game was first released in Japan on December 12, 1983, and was released shortly after together with Donkey Kong Jr. as a licensed multicart (released in a bundle together with Sharp's C1 NES TV). Donkey Kong Jr. Math was released for the NES in North America on October 18, 1985 and Europe in 1986. In August 1995, the Sharp multicart was re-released separately from the C1 NES TV. The game has been released on other platforms, including the video game Animal Crossing, which featured several NES games. Donkey Kong Jr. Math was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on March 27, 2007, Europe and Australia on April 20, 2007, and in North America on September 3, 2007. It was re-released again for the Wii U's Virtual Console in North America on August 28, 2014, in Europe on January 22, 2015, and in Japan on April 15, 2015.
Donkey Kong Jr. Math was met with negative reviews from the press. Despite this negative reception, the magazine Joystick felt Nintendo was worthy of praise for its attempt at making an educational game. It was also a commercial failure, with a Nintendo spokesperson noting its lack of success as being due to poor reception. It performed better in Japan but was forgotten in the United States. Its poor sales contributed to it becoming a rare and expensive collector's item.
Jeremy Parish of Polygon called it the worst Donkey Kong video game, suggesting that it was a "half-finished game" to have a larger launch lineup on the Famicom. He was also critical of its asset reuse from Donkey Kong Jr., while Skyler Miller of Allgame found this reuse creative. Bob Mackey of 1UP.com called it the worst NES launch window title, criticizing it for its lack of value and sluggish movement. It had a poor reception from IGN, with Lucas M. Thomas finding its controls and execution poor, while Cam Shea regarded it as one of the worst Virtual Console games and criticized it for a lack of value. Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer similarly could not justify the asking price for the Virtual Console version. Frank Provo of GameSpot felt that its math problems were either too easy for young children or too boring for older ones. Damien McFarren of Nintendo Life criticized the game for "shoehorning" education into this game and for poor controls.
Donkey Kong Jr. Math has received criticism for its qualities as an educational game. Elizabeth Sweedyk, associate computer science professor at Harvey Mudd College, felt that Donkey Kong Jr. Math was too realistic an educational game to be fun. Kevin Gifford of 1UP.com felt that it lacks appeal for children, while Frank Caron for Ars Technica felt it inferior to other educational games like Brain Age and Math Blaster.
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- Official Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Minisite (in Japanese)
- Official Nintendo Wii Minisite (in English)
- Official Nintendo Wii U Minisite (in English)
- Donkey Kong Jr. Math at MobyGames