Gaming Post 21: JumpStart First Grade

The random number generator has chosen a game from my childhood that I only played for a little while. It was called JumpStart First Grade.

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My friend Jonah actually owned this game when it was new, while I owned JumpStart Second Grade (before getting JumpStart Third Grade, which is the best edition I ever played), so I’m not as familiar with the game as he is, but I did eventually complete it after I played the game at my own house.

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It’s not very long, but essentially, as the player you do activities around the school and collect animated milk bottle caps. I had to find images of the game on the internet to remember what some of those activities were.

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My favorite was probably the cafeteria game that taught fractions. The kids wanted different amounts of different food, so the objective was to fill their orders.

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Then, they teach you how to work a cash register.

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Of course there was a game in which you learned about American money and making exact change with it in order to get an item from the vending machine.

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You can also sort pizza orders, but some of them are considered inedible by normal humans. Don’t mess it up or you may end up with a lawsuit on your hands!

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None of those ingredients are fit for human consumption.

You can also cook, but again, be careful.

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Not enough milk or eggs! The dog isn’t phased though.

You earn bottle caps from completing activities, and it really doesn’t take that long to get them all. Then apparently you can use them to play games during recess.

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What I think is weird about this game is that it is perpetually lunch time, recess, and field trips. JumpStart School doesn’t appear to have any classes either. There are no chairs anywhere. Still, the game’s pretty good, but it’s pretty short, and it’s nothing compared to JumpStart Third Grade. If you’re going to try one of these old games out on your kids, definitely go for JumpStart Third Grade rather than this. I beat it when I was in first grade, but it’s still a pretty lengthy game. Here’s my article about it if you are curious.

https://zelgerath.com/2015/01/12/gaming-post-7-jumpstart-3rd-grade/

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As always, Thanks for Reading! =)

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Gaming Post 15: Portal 2

The random number generator just told me to write about the game Portal 2. I’ll just say right now that I highly recommend this title.

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I knew that there was a game called Portal for the longest time before I knew that it was good. I knew “The cake is a lie” was a reference to something, but at first I didn’t really care what it was. At college, a friend of mine gave me a free copy of Portal on Steam, which got me into the series.

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It’s a puzzle game involving spacial reasoning. Basically the point of the game is to use a portal gun to find your way through each puzzle room and into an elevator that brings you to the next puzzle room, all while being insulted by the laboratory’s AI named GLaDOS. I got Portal 2 on PC for $5 during a Steam sale, and played it using a wired Xbox 360 Controller.

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Portal 2 builds upon the characters and the back story of the first game. It is now the distant future, the laboratory from the first game is falling apart, and the main character is woken up from suspended animation by a little robot friend named Wheatly.

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Now, although Portal 2 is a really good puzzle game, what makes Portal Portal is the entertaining dialogue. There’s lots of it in Portal 2. That’s why I would recommend starting with Portal 1 and moving forward to Portal 2. I did it for the sake of the story.

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As amazing as Portal 2 is, it’s not too long of a game. I think you get a lot of value for your time spent playing the game. My first recommendation would be to install Steam, and then wait for a sale. You can probably get Portal and/or Portal 2 for $5.

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This game is going to challenge your mind. Let me know how you do if you decide to try it out. My Twitter account is @Zelgerath, so feel free to send me a mention any time.

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There is a Cooperative Mode that I haven’t played yet, but I hear that it’s pretty good, so I’ll definitely get around to playing through that some day. I’ll count it as its own separate game.

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Until the next Gaming Post, Thanks for Reading! =)

Gaming Post 7: JumpStart 3rd Grade

The random number generator just told me to write about the best educational computer game from my childhood. JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade, Mystery Mountain!

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It’s a bit arbitrary whether or not I decide to count a video or computer game towards my list of beaten games. Usually, I will not count a computer game if it takes less than an hour to complete. That way, games intended for toddlers do not get counted (I don’t even remember all of the ones I played when I was that young).

JumpStart 3rd Grade was, on the other hand, a pretty long game. I played the game when I was in first grade, then again when I was actually in third grade, and finally once more in fifth grade. Learning, after all, is for all ages.

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The antagonist of the game is a third grader named Polly Spark. Her dad is a scientist, and has all kinds of inventions at their house, including a time machine. Now, Polly was accustomed to getting perfect grades at school, and she suspected that the teacher would give her a perfect score on her 25 question test even if she purposely answered all of the questions wrong. She, however, totally failed the test, so she decided to send 25 of her father’s robots back in time to change history so that all of the answers she gave on her test would be correct.

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Another robot belonging to Polly’s father, named AndroidXL2 (or Botley), figures out what Polly has been up to and seeks the player’s help to restore history back to its proper state.

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After breaking into Mystery Mountain, you never have to leave it for the remainder of the game.

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To save each robot, you need to collect 4 hints hidden throughout the mountain by completing randomly chosen activities. The activities include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, words, music, puzzles, creativity, science trivia, reading comprehension, driving around a little rocket, playing complicated version of pong, astronomy, shooting lasers at objects going around in circles and robotics programming logic.

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The whole time, Polly is in her father’s control room, and she contacts you whenever she feels like it using the many television screens hidden throughout the mountain. It becomes less frequent as the game goes on, but she is always watching.

I hate this little girl

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After collecting the four hints, you gain access to the time machine room, but before you can use the time machine you need to participate in a game show using the hints to determine where in time you’re supposed to be headed. This is where the history aspect of the game comes in.

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Once you know where you’re going, you can use the time machine to go back and recall the robot, restoring history to its proper shape.

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Occasionally, the mountain will run out of power. When that happens, you need to go to the basement where the generator is and recharge the mountain by quickly solving math problems. I really liked this dynamic of the game, because as the generator’s power lasted longer than it took to save a robot, it mixed up the pace of the game to make things a little more interesting.

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There are 25 robots you need to recall from the past. When I played this game it usually took me about an hour to save each robot, but if I played this game again today I wonder if I’d be able to finish it in just a day. I don’t really want to, though. It’s a good game, but I’ve pretty much memorized it by now.

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Because of its length, it was one of the most satisfying games to complete as a kid. I’m not sure if kids today would like this game as much as I did, but if you have one, I’d say let them give it a shot. Although this game came out in 1998, I think that it might still work on current computers.

Well then, Thanks for reading!