The series Nintendo is Great will explore every game ever released for a Nintendo console/handheld, beginning with the Famicom and working our way up to the Nintendo Switch.
DONKEY KONG JR. MATH
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.
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.
Donkey Kong Jr. Math does indeed exist in Animal Crossing. At least if you find it, you don’t have to pay for it with real money, unlike the Virtual Console releases. Still, Nintendo couldn’t have included Mach Rider or Kid Icarus or some other better NES game?
Nintendo thinking players wanted to find Donkey Kong Jr. Math in Animal Crossing: F
WII/WII U VIRTUAL CONSOLE
No matter who wins, we all lose.
No question, Nintendo knows that Donkey Kong Jr. Math is a clunker and one of the worst early Famicom/NES games. But as the Virtual Console grew in popularity, they also knew they could make money from people with misplaced nostalgia. Hence, Donkey Kong Jr. Math‘s presence on both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console. I hate to think how many people wasted five dollars just to remember how much Donkey Kong Jr. Math sucked.
On the plus side, there’s no sign of the game coming to Nintendo Switch Online, and the 3DS’ Virtual Console was blessedly spared from DK Jr. Math‘s corrupting influence.
Playing Donkey Kong Jr. Math on Virtual Console: F
Feelings of regret after purchasing Donkey Kong Jr. Math for Virtual Console: Priceless