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Welcome back to Warped Pipes, the series where I discuss how the Super Mario franchise of games fit together into a beautiful, if unintended, tapestry. It’s time to get your calculators out because this time I’m talking about...

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

Box Art
Image: Super Mario Wiki

Donkey Kong Jr. Math is an educational game for the NES released at the end of 1983. In the game, DK Sr. presents DK Jr. with various math equations to solve. A second young ape who looks like a pink DK Jr. also joins in. This other ape is known only as Junior (II). An example of gameplay is shown below:

Image: Super Mario Wiki

The game appears to take place in the same jungle setting as Donkey Kong Jr. and also features some industrial areas reminiscent of the later levels of that game.

And that’s really it. The game is really more of an educational tool than anything and features very little content.


My Interpretation

Clearly, DK Sr. is working on educating his young son.

The more confounding part here is the presence of Junior (II). Given the absence of this pink ape in all future titles, my best guess is that he or she is just another young ape in the community the Kongs live in and DK Sr. is acting as a teacher for the youth. The other, and much darker, interpretation is that Junior (II) is another child of DK Sr. who reaches an unfortunate fate soon after this game.


Also interesting is that parts of the game seem to take place in Mario’s hideout from the end of Donkey Kong Jr. My interpretation here is that the Kongs have taken over the complex, which was abandoned after Mario’s defeat at the end of Donkey Kong Jr. The large industrial building seems to act as an effective schoolhouse for the apes.

World Building

Primarily, this game builds upon our understanding of the ape’s intelligence. We see here that the apes understand Arabic numerals and arithmetic and even have formalized lessons. These apes clearly have a more advanced society than those in our world.


The Timeline So Far

Donkey Kong Jr. Math is an easy one to place since everything about the game, including its title, implies that it follows after the events of Donkey Kong Jr. This leaves us with the timeline below:


Next Up

In the next article we will learn more about the bitter relationship between Mario and DK Sr. in Donkey Kong Circus.


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