CGRundertow DONKEY KONG JR. MATH for NES Video Game Review

Uploaded by CGRundertow on 15.11.2011

In the beginning, there was Donkey Kong, and it was good. And then there was Donkey Kong
Jr., and it was kinda okay we guess if you like that sort of thing. And then there was
Donkey Kong 3, which was an abomination by any stretch of the imagination. But even that
nadir, that pit of despair couldn’t prepare gamers for what was about to come down the
Yeah. Screw Uncharted, Arkham Asylum, or Skyrim. THIS IS ACTION. You never know from one minute
to the next if you’re gonna make it safely to that next number. And the falling hazards!
One wrong sum, and you could plummet to your doom! DOOM!
… Naah, I’m not fooling anyone. It’s math. Not exactly the most riveting action
known to man. Welcome to the dark horse of the NES Launch lineup: Donkey Kong Jr. Math.
The one and only game in the “Education” series, and for good reason. It... stinks.
Y’see that? You climb all over chains, doing math. Big pappa DK holds up a sign with a
number, and you have to arrive at that sum through some combination of addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division. Do this five times, and you win. Win what? Well, the knowledge
that you are, in fact, smarter than a potted plant, and a trip back to the title screen.
Oddly enough, even if there’s only one player, the second-player DK Jr. appears on screen,
just chillin’ while you do all the work. Who is this other Donkey Kong Junior? Are
they twins? Some bastard child of DK and Pauline? He does look kinda hairless.
Anyway. That’s the calculate mode, only one half of this game’s superlative (ly
dismal) offering. A whole new world of pain awaits in the Plus-minus-x-division-sign exercise,
where (after selecting a difficulty by climbing up a chain and pointing at it...
… you have to complete a math problem by... climbing chains. The higher up the chain,
the higher the number for that particular place. Moving to the next chain to the left
locks in your choice... and if you realize you made a mistake (even if that mistake was
accidentally hitting left), you get to do the whole thing over again. I have no idea
of the thought processes that led someone - anyone - to think that doing multiplication
with chains and an ape would be in any way satisfying, but - for better or worse - it
happened. And now we can point and laugh at it, from almost three decades in the future.
That’s all this game entails: Doing math and running Junior around. Man. Donkey Kong
must be a horrible father. Most would just sign the kid up for tutoring, or let him watch
Square One or something. But to make your children fight to the death over hazardous
terrain, climbing chains to appease the big ape and his sign full of numbers... well,
we’re getting into Genma Saotome levels of parental neglect. I realize that a good
understanding of math is essential to success in life... but poor ol’ DK Junior just fell
off the face of the earth. From having his own breakfast cereal and TV show, to competing
in go-cart races for a shot at redemption, to a mere cameo in the GBA version of Mario
3... wherever he is, at least he knows that 39,103 x 136 is 5,318, 008.