Donkey Kong Jr. Math (Famicom/NES, 1983) – #0009






RELEASE DATE: 12/12/1983 (JP), 06/1986 (US), 07/10/1986 (EU)

ALSO ON: Wii Virtual Console (03/27/2007 – JP, 04/20/07 – EU, AU, 09/03/07 – US), Wii U Virtual Console (08/28/2014 – US, 01/22/2015 – EU, AU, 04/15/15 – JP)

FEATURED IN: Animal Crossing (Gamecube, 12/14/2001 – JP, 09/16/2002 – US)


Just as Popeye has no business teaching English, Donkey Kong Jr., his pink clone brother, and his recently freed poppa should not be toying with numbers.


Now, it’s not that DK and co. can’t help younger players with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. Donkey Kong is adept at holding up signs with numbers on them, and Donkey Kong Jr. is both a skilled vine climber and number selector. If you really wanted to, you could solve basic math equations with Donkey Kong Jr. Math.


Smoke you, pinko.


Nevertheless, I have questions. Why would these apes participate in extracurricular math excursions? What purpose does any of this serve? Donkey Kong got famous because he kidnapped Mario’s girlfriend, and DK Jr. was hailed as a hero after he rescued his dad from Mario’s abusive hands. They’re platforming stars, not math teachers.


I fold.


And anyway, proper edutainment – Donkey Kong Jr. Math‘s supposed genre – combines both education and entertainment, hence the name. This game provides plenty of education, provided you suck at basic math. The entertainment, however, is nowhere to be found. Donkey Kong Jr. Math is a math game through and through; whatever platforming you encounter still serves math, not the other way around.


This equation really speaks to me.


Then again, Donkey Kong Jr. Math was part of the NES’ super short-lived “Education Series” when it released in the US in 1986, not the non-existent “Edutainment Series.” At least Nintendo was honest, but that doesn’t make Donkey Kong Jr. Math‘s existence any less confounding.




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