Software Review: Multiplication Kingdom

This is a welcome educational game for children, and it should be translated into English and other languages.

calculator 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
calculator 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mamlechet Hakefel (Multiplication Kingdom), a CD-ROM in Hebrew by Goldis, requires Windows 98 and above, for children aged five to 12, NIS 58 at Tower Records and other software shops. Rating: ***** Multiply children's math skills Software Review There aren't many software games whose companies ask that they not be played on Shabbat or Jewish festivals, but this delightful one - developed by a 30-year-old hassidic woman teacher - has such a request printed along with installation instructions. Goldie Ferman, who has just flown with her husband Elimelech to set up a Chabad House in Chile, has left behind a wonderful game that teaches kids the multiplication tables in a very imaginative way. A green-eyed boy with red hair and a red cap is joined by Kef-Li, an animated multiplication symbol. When Kef-Li is multiplied by a zero who visits the kingdom, the monarch is turned into a 0, and a new king is needed. To receive his scepter, royal cape and crown, the player must go through three stages of learning how to multiply numbers 1 to 10. The numbers are depicted in the form of animals: One appears in the shape of a parrot, two a snake, three a sea horse, four a clown fish and through to 10, which is represented by a snail. They are introduced by a short video film with text giving background on the creature, including some biblical material such as the fact that the owl (eight) is not kosher because it's a predator, and that liquid produced by a kind of snail was used to color the priestly tribe's garments. However, secular families should not fear; there is absolutely no "missionizing." After learning to multiply one number by others, you must quickly click on the correct number - among several floating on the screen - to answer a multiplication problem. At the end of each of the three adventures - situated in a forest, under a lake and in a street in the kingdom - you are presented with a "pocket calculator" to click out answers to 20 multiplication problems as a clock ticks. If at least 15 are correct, you are presented with a symbol of kingship and go on to the next level. The graphics are pleasant; the cursor is a butterfly, fish or dragonfly, depending on the environments; the narration is very professional. This is a welcome educational game for children, and it should be translated into English and other languages.