Games Can Teach Review of Hooda Math

I found out about Hooda Math when the creator of the site posted a guest entry on Emanuele Feronato‘s Blog. Michael Edlavitch is a math teacher who made some educational math games while he was between teaching jobs. He made a website to host his games, and then decided to host other math-related games as well. Now he owns a successful niche Flash game site with 10,000 visitors per day! What interests me the most about this story is that Michael’s games are based on the classic Apple II game “Number Munchers“. Number Munchers was was one of my favorite games for the Apple II when I was a kid. I played it outside of school way more than I did inside. I was motivated by wanting to see how each of the different types of bad guys (called “Troggles”, if I recall correctly) behaved. I also loved watching the humorous animated cutscenes you would earn after every few levels. Wanting to see more of those kept me playing for longer than I probably would have. Depending on your age, you may have played the Mac version of the game instead.

Hooda Math’s Number Eaters games are actually a bit of a dissapointment from the perspective of a childhood fan of Number Munchers. Flash game technology is leaps and bounds beyond the technology of the Apple II, but Number Eaters actually has less graphics and animation than Number Munchers did. There also seems to be only one kind of enemy, and he isn’t much of a challenge. Where’s the Troggle that follows you? Where’s the cute one that actually sometimes helped you by eating numbers? Where that annoying one that added numbers to spots you’d already cleared? Where are the “safe zones”? Those extra gameplay elements may not have added much to the educational value of Number Munchers, but it did make the game more entertaining by requiring more strategy and quick-thinking from the player. This isn’t me advocating the “spoonful of sugar” approach – eating the correct number is the core gameplay mechanic  – this is me saying “games should be games”.

Still, Hooda Math is worth checking out. New math games are always being added, and beyond that it has resource links, and tutorial videos for math concepts.

Play the Apple IIgs version of Number Munchers using a Java-based emulator!

Play Multiplication Eaters on Hooda Math.

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