Number Muchers (Apple II)

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andrew

Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby andrew » March 8th, 2008, 1:18 pm

Critic was recently talking about educational reviews so I figured I'd review an actual worthwhile educational game that was a learning tool in elementary school called Number Munchers. I had to use an emulator for this review but the speed and graphics are emulated properly and of course the game uses a keyboard so I feel this review is 99.99% accurate.

Graphics:



As you can see by the picture you play on a 5 X 6 grid each with numbers inside. The muncher resembles a simplistic frog  who has a munching animation when you eat a number but makes a disgusted munch animation when you eat a bad number. Nicely detailed and animated troggles which move up, down and side to side but not diagonally litter the screen as you progress the levels and become faster. After clearing every three levels, you get a Moment in Muncher history where a short funny animation plays such as him carving his face into mount rushmore or shooting an apple off another muncher's head with a bow and arrow.

Sound:

Simple munching sounds and getting eaten sounds. Nothing special but does the job.

Gameplay:

This is where the game shines as an educational math tool. You choose from several categories such as primes, factors, multiples, equality and start with three extra lives. In primes you have to munch prime numbers scattered around the grid.   In multiples you must find multiples of the number they give. Factors is similar but for factors. The equality challenge requires the most thought as you must find equations such as the sum of two numbers,product of two numbers etc. that give a specific number. Standing in your way of course are enemy troggles who are out to eat you. As you progress there are larger numbers and  more and faster troggles litter the screen. Luckily, troggles can eat each other by accident relieving the pressure in later stages. You of course gain points in the game by selecting the correct numbers and lose lives by eating a bad number or getting eaten. At certain point tallies, you gain another life. When you lose all your lives you enter your name in the Number Munchers hall of fame. I find the troggle game element really helps the student stay interested and learn better instead of getting bored with just selecting numbers feeling more like a chore.   The game is great tool for kids to improve  their fundamental mental math skills. Even for older people it helps with your mental math efficiency for simple everyday calculation problems. I cannot recommend this game enough as an educational math tool. It's the cream of the crop when it comes to educational titles. A+

Anonymous Prime

Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby Anonymous Prime » March 8th, 2008, 4:41 pm

DUDE! LOL! I played this game when I was in first grade! I loved that game! I think they had a vocabulary version of it, and i played it in the classroom all the time! This game had a safety zone and a monster that tried to get you, right?

Kevin T.

Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby Kevin T. » March 8th, 2008, 8:06 pm

You can't directly link an image from your computer's hard drive... you have to upload it to the Internet first.

Here's an Apple II Number Munchers screenshot I found:

Image

My favorite "educational but fun" Apple II game was "Pick-A-Dilly Circus"... mostly because of the surprisingly good polyphonic music it managed to squeeze out of the speaker.

andrew

Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby andrew » March 8th, 2008, 8:10 pm

Anonymous Prime wrote:DUDE! LOL! I played this game when I was in first grade! I loved that game! I think they had a vocabulary version of it, and i played it in the classroom all the time! This game had a safety zone and a monster that tried to get you, right?


I kept wondering what that random white square popping up was so I guess that must be the safety zone. I didn't bother reading the instructions when they asked if I wanted to. And from my review, yes monsters that are called troggles try and eat you.

Anonymous Prime

Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby Anonymous Prime » March 19th, 2008, 9:57 pm

I miss that game, it was fun XD

Luigi & Peach
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Re: Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby Luigi & Peach » March 11th, 2016, 7:26 pm

One of the reasons I love this site is that it reminds me of games I'd completely forgotten about!! :D

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Retro STrife
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Re: Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby Retro STrife » March 30th, 2016, 2:36 pm

Definitely one of my favorite educational games from early childhood. I don't even own an Apple II right now, and yet I still bought Word Munchers for it on eBay a couple months back. Just to have it handy if I ever get an Apple II. Considering how common these games seemed in schools back then, there are surprisingly very few of the old floppy disk copies floating around on ebay. In fact, I just checked for the purpose of this post, and found no Word Munchers or Number Munchers games on there for Apple II. Surprising to me.

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scotland
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Re: Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby scotland » March 30th, 2016, 6:48 pm

Retro STrife wrote:Considering how common these games seemed in schools back then, there are surprisingly very few of the old floppy disk copies floating around on ebay. In fact, I just checked for the purpose of this post, and found no Word Munchers or Number Munchers games on there for Apple II. Surprising to me.


That's an interesting comment, RST.

Our hobby usually involves only consumer goods, but the Apple II really made its mark as an educational product. As Steve Jobs said himself, "One of the things that built Apple IIs was schools buying Apple IIs." To mark how savvy Steve Jobs was, he got a change in California's tax code to allow corporations to donate computers to schools for tax writeoffs, and then he donated one computer to thousands of schools. That got Apple a sizeable tax writeoff, possibly based on their wholesale value, and the schools themselves then turned around and purchased more Apple computers to compliment the free one. Brilliant.

What happened in the mid 80s when all those Apple II's were obsolete to IBM PCs? (which is also a shift to focusing on productivity with computers instead of creativity with computers) I would guess that a very large percentage of school owned Apple IIs were surplused by the state, and the state later sold them for salvage. The software may have just been junked. So educational software like Word Muncher might be quite uncommon due to the only surviving copies being those that were never owned by schools. Couple that with Word Muncher being on a floppy disk, and that might heighten its rarity.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby Retro STrife » March 30th, 2016, 7:31 pm

Good point, Scotland. The same problem exists even for Oregon Trail for Apple II, an even more notable game. I haven't checked today, but there weren't any copies of that Apple II game available on ebay when I looked a few weeks ago. I'm sure there weren't many copies of Word Muncher, Number Muncher, or Oregon Trail sold for home use. Mostly just in schools. And, like you said, when the schools upgraded to new computers, I'm sure the software was worth too little to them to bother saving.

twilighthotel
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Re: Number Muchers (Apple II)

Postby twilighthotel » October 29th, 2016, 10:40 am

The Troggles made for an interesting game. There were three or four species of them, right? A slow one which moved randomly and wouldn't necessarily chase you, a medium speed one that would chase you and a fast one that would also pursue you. I recall that as they moved over the numbers, depending on the type of Troggle, the number would either disappear altogether (get eaten) or change to a different number, sometimes making it easier or harder to complete that board.


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