Challenge Math is an educational video game developed and published by Sunburst Communications for the Apple II in 1982. It was ported to Commodore 64 published by HesWare as "Tri-Math" in 1984 with improved graphics. The game contains three separate math games: Alien Intruder, Digitosaurus and Math Mansion. Alien Intruder is an action game where you must solve arithmetic problems before a computer-controlled alien does. In Digitosaurus, you estimate which of three equations will yield the largest result, then solve it. Math Mansion is a traditional adventure game where you must solve arithmetic problems in reverse (basic algebra) to escape a haunted mansion.
When I was in elementary school in the late 1980s, my classroom had a single Commodore 64 in the room which was occasionally loaded with various educational games. This was one of them. I don't remember playing Alien Intruder or Digitosaurus, but Math Mansion enticed me enough that I still remembered the game decades later. I searched for it multiple times over the years but, because it is a game inside of a larger package, it was hard to find. I eventually found a Commodore 64 forum where someone else was looking for the same game and found it. I followed his link and was very pleased to see the game again. I played it and promptly beat it on 2020-08-25.
I do not own this game. I have beaten Math Mansion, but Alien Intruder and Digitosaurus cannot be beaten.
Best Version: Commodore 64
— This section contains spoilers! —
- Haunted Mansion has lovely artwork.
- You can customize each of the games to feature addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, each at three levels of complexity.
- The graphics of Alien Intruder and Digitosaurus are pretty bad.
- Alien Intruder is the only game with sound, and it's just beeps and boops.
- The AI in Alien Intruder sometimes solves problems extremely fast making it near impossible to beat, though this only happens occasionally, and not enough to out-pace a decent player.
- Without a time limit in Digitosaurus, the player can just solve all three of the equations, rendering null the goal of teaching estimation.
- The maze in Haunted Mansion is far too easy to solve, and, because there is an obvious shortcut, several rooms can be skipped.
- There isn't anything horrible about any of the games, but there isn't anything very good either.
Only the programmers are ever mentioned, not the artists or designers.
|Programmers (Apple II)||C. McMahon, J. Sweedler|
|Programmer (Commodore 64)||Eric Grubbs|
|English (Apple II)||Challenge Math|
|English (Commodore 64 Title)||Tri Math|
|English (Commodore 64 Box)||Tri-Math|