Number Munchers
● ● ● ◌ ◌(3/5: decent)
MECC (1986)
Basic arithmetic and monsters, what could be better?

To be honest, though, there's a debate I've always had as an educator: Do educational games actually teach you anything that translates to real life or does the math learning just make the game less fun? That is, does the education wreck the game or does the game wreck the education?

I would posit that not a single person reading this mastered factoring or multiplication because of Number Munchers. The game itself could be played without math at all and it would be just fine (I mean, they made other "munchers" games...), so clearly the math part of this is not beneficial to the game. The converse statement is the one that is debatable: is the game beneficial to the math? My theory is that most of the time when you hit space bar on the wrong number it is because you made a mistake, not because you don't know the math. Since the game punishes you for your mistake, you're probably more likely to give up on the game and go play Oregon Trail instead of finding out why 9 is not a multiple of 2 or whatever. So, it's not really an educational game, it is an assessment game.

Playing it all those years ago on the green screen in the computer lab when we were supposed to be... doing something else felt like skipping school, though. Maybe that was the real draw for this game: it convinced parents and educators that learning was happening, but kids didn't care and just wanted to play games!

But it has monsters!
Last updated: 07/13/2021
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