February 16, 2011 - by jacksonwest
Counting down to the Game Developers Conference, we’ll be highlighting one game a day powered by Joyent technology. Partly for an excuse to play games at work, sure, but also because our customers have developed some really fun, cool titles!
If you ever want to feel really old, give an iPhone or an iPad to a toddler -- I once left my iPhone out around Jason's daughter, figuring how much trouble could she get into? Well, it wasn't three seconds and she was past the "slide to unlock" and opening apps on my home screen. All of which means that it's a nearly perfect platform for educational games like those from MathZee.
I went ahead and downloaded Piggy Math, the company's first game, which teaches fundamental counting, addition and subtraction. You control a small, talkative pig who runs around collecting numbers and coins, uses rhyme as a mnemonic for numbers and concepts, and otherwise works hard to make both the gameplay and the math fun.
What's interesting is how MathZee uses server-side processing (on Joyent SmartMachines, naturally) to keep track of a player's progress so that it can customize the "lessons" to best shape the game for the player's development. It means that the game can stay appropriate for a wider range of ages and learning levels, and presumably keep the game fun but not frustrating.
More recently, MathZee introduced Math Shapes, which instead of counting and simple math, covers early geometry. Both Piggy Math and Math Shapes are available for the iPhone, with Piggy Math also available in a higher-resolution version for the iPad. At only $2.99, both look like a great way to keep little ones occupied and learning at the same time.