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Math Gran Prix (Atari 2600) artwork

Math Gran Prix (Atari 2600) review

"Atari made up for their edu-tainment disaster ''Basic Math'' with the excellent ''Math Grand Prix.'' This title takes the premise of ''Basic Math'''s quiz structure and applies it to an auto race. "

Atari made up for their edu-tainment disaster ''Basic Math'' with the excellent ''Math Grand Prix.'' This title takes the premise of ''Basic Math'''s quiz structure and applies it to an auto race.

The auto race itself is a board game style layout. Your car can move 2 spaces ahead for an easy question, or 3 spaces ahead for a more difficult question. Various spaces have specialized functions such as a bonus turn, being shot ahead multiple spaces, or protection from being bumped off the track by the other player.

The questions themselves are geared for children ages 6 to 10. A unique feature of ''Math Grand Prix'' is the ''built in tutor'' in the game which responds to incorrect answers with easier questions, thus automatically handicapping the game and providing a more exciting race for the players.

Graphically, this game is still a 2nd generation 2600 title. The cars and the track are recognizable for what they are, and that's about all. The symbols for the special spaces on the track will probably send you to the manual the first few times you encounter them, but after a few rounds you'll get the hang of it.

Sonically, there's not a lot there. The cars engine rumbles as it moves around the track, and the ''answer tunes'' from ''Basic Math'' are back.

What I can't comprehend is how anyone could be critical of the play control in this game. If you can't maneuver a joystick to display the correct digits to the math problem, or push it left or right to select a 2 or 3 space math problem, perhaps video games aren't your forte. I found the play control to be adequate to the task at hand, and not so complex as to discourage a young child. Remember, children are the focus for titles like these.

I would highly recommend ''Math Grand Prix'' to any parents who still have a 2600 around the house. There are many titles available for the PC that are for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and on through high school. However, these largely rely on the use of a mouse, which some children have difficulty with. This uses the simple Atari joystick, and allows kids to focus on gameplay rather than mouse mechanics.

All in all, I found ''Math Grand Prix'' to be a satisfying gaming experience, and worth an extra couple of points on the 1-10 scale for hitting it's target audience so well. It's got a good beat and I can dance to it. I give it an 8.

ddsilver's avatar
Community review by ddsilver (October 26, 2004)

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