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Donkey Kong Jr. Math

System: NES
Release Year: 1986
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Players: 1-2 Simultaneous


Yadda, yadda, yadda, educational titles. This one doesn't stand out in any big way. If there is a story behind this one (which I doubt), then I don't know it. But it would probably go something like this: once upon a time, three little monkeys were making fun of DKjr and throwing coconuts at him, because he didn't know how to count. He told his dad on them. DK then asked "how many monkeys were making fun of you?" DKjr didn't know how to count, so he said "uhh...46!" So DK went out and beat up the 46 nearest little monkeys. When the monkey's parents found out, three of them tried to sue him, and he was kicked off the PTA. After that, DK decided that it was time for DKjr to learn how to count.


This game didn't seem very well thought out. There are three game modes. In all the modes, DK stands around holding a sign with a random number. The first two games involve going head to head with another player, the winner being the first to reach the number DK holds by combining numbers with math symbols (add, subtract, multiply, and divide). To add some DK elements to the game, you have to manuever DKjr from vine to vine to reach the different numbers. However, some of the numbers that DK throws at you are quite large for an educational game. The average little kid would need a pad of paper to calculate some of those numbers. And also, why is it that both these modes are two-player only? And why is the second player just a pink rendition of DKjr? It would have made more sense to me if the second player had been Mario or someone like that. This seems like a lot of nitpicking over and educational game, but Nintendo could have done better than this.

The third game mode seems like it had more time spent on it. It is based on the last level of DKjr, with chains and keys, crows, and buzzards, but they have virtually no affect on the gameplay. You are given the the layout of a math problem, but there are missing numbers all over it. DKjr has to climb the chains to pick the correct number (with one being at the bottom of the chain, and the numbers getting bigger from there) to fill into each blank space, which completes the problem. Although this doesn't make too much sense (I don't know of anyone who does math that way), it is unique and can be challenging.

Overall, this game is quite baffling. I don't know why they picked the DK series for an educational game, nor why they would make such strange game modes. My guess is that this game wasn't meant for younger kids, the way educational games are today. This game will be very frustrating to someone below a fourth or fifth grade math level. Interestingly, Nintendo didn't release any educational titles for a long time after this. Unless you are a DK game collector, or someone who likes math a lot, buy something else. On a scale of one to ten, this game gets a three.