Number Munchers is an

educational game initially made available for

DOS,

Apple II
and

Mac computers, designed for children 8 years of age and older. Winner of the

Classroom Computer Learning Readers' Choice Award for

Programs of the Decade,

Number
Munchers
was the

archetypal math game of the

1980's --

Oregon Trail and the

Carmen
Sandiego series hold this honour for their respective

genres. Later,

Fraction
Munchers,

Word Munchers and

Math Munchers would appear.

Created by MECC (the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation, now The Learning
Company) in the mid eighties, Number Munchers promotes rudimentary math and
motor skills. From the box:

With the Muncher's help, you'll learn basic math skills the fun and exciting way.
Earn points as your Muncher matches and munches multiples,
factors, primes, equalities, and inequalities. But
there's trouble brewing all around the game board. Mischevious Troggles will
stop at nothing to make it difficult for you and your Muncher to maneuver successfully
through the games. And if you earn enough points, you could even qualify for the
Muncher Hall of Fame.

The

player navigates their

Number Muncher through a six-by-five

grid using the

arrow
keys or a

joystick,

eating (removing) all of the

functions that

conform to that

level using the

space bar.
In the first three levels, only one

Troggle appears. In levels four through seven, two

Troggles appear and in levels eight and higher, the player must contend with three

Troggles.

May God have mercy on your soul.

Each level can be of five types:

Every three levels, an amusing

cutscene appears in which

Troggles are defeated in a humourous manner.

A typical Number Munchers level appears:

Level: 3 Equals 7
+------+------+------+------+------+------+
| | | 14/2 | 1x15 | | 33-9 |
+------+------==----==------+------+------+
| | 3+4 | | 12+5 | | 35/5 |
+------+------==----==------==----==------+
| | | T | | 11/1 | |
+------+------+------+------==----==------+
| T | 12-5 | | | N | |
+------+------+------+------+------+------+
| 1+6 | 7-0 | | 5+2 | 14-7 | 49/7 |
+------+------+------+------+------+------+
Score: 350

Where
T = a Troggle

N = the player's Number Muncher
Regions surrounded by '`=`'s are safety zones -- Troggles that attempt to
enter one of these squares disappear.

The Cast:

Number Muncher *(Munchicus digitus)*
The Troggles:

Reggies *(Trogglus normalus)*

Reggie Troggles cross the playing field, leaving different problems in their
wake.

Bashfuls *(Trogglus timidus)*
Like Reggie Troggles, Bashful Troggles also wander across the
playing field changing problems.

Smarties *(Trogglus smarticus)*
Smartie Troggles follow the Number Muncher in an attempt to catch it.

Helpers *(Trogglus assistus)*
Helper Troggles cross the playing field, removing problems.

Workers *(Trogglus laborus)*
Helper Troggles cross the playing field, adding new problems.

One unattributed '

cheat' for

Number Munchers is circulating:

The player can pass through Troggles headed straight towards them when the
Troggle is approaching from an adjacent square.

Of course, here's the obligatory poor

ASCII Art representation of the

protagonist (generated via a tool named

*ASCII Pic 2.0* and massaged by hand):

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See my home node pic for a shot of the Number Munchers hero.