The Game: Wow! We must be in the future, for we now have electronic flash cards! This is more or less the function fulfilled by Math-A-Magic, while Echo is a slightly watered down version of the classic electronic game Simon. (Magnavox, 1979)
Memories: This may sound a wee bit pretentious, but this “game” – at least the Math-A-Magic! side of things – was instrumental in me getting through some problems comprehending basic math many years ago in grade school. I’m still not a math wizard – I barely passed any applied or theoretical math classes beyond Algebra I in high school and college – but way back when, this actually helped. Who said that video games can’t change anyone’s life for the better?
One of the nice things about Math-a-Magic! was the fact that you could set a rough skill level for your exercises – it could go anywhere from addition and subtraction all the way up to some not-quite-long division. For grade schoolers, that’s not a bad range.
Echo!, in the meantime, is a bit of a Simon rip-off, replacing Simon’s colored touch pads with the numbers 1 through 4, but it’s still fun if you’re in that frame of mind. Actually, maybe rip-off is a bit harsh: Simon was, after all, invented by Ralph Baer, the creator of the original Magnavox Odyssey console who later championed the Odyssey2 project to Magnavox management, just as the project was about to be scuttled in its infancy. Perhaps in that light, it’s more appropriate to say Echo! is a tribute.