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Little Pythagoras

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Kenneth Moodie



Copyright 1992, Kenneth Moodie

Little Pythagoras is a fun and educational text adventure for the Macintosh. You play Pythagoras, a clever young man trying to make a living in rural Greece, long before he became famous for a theorem. In the author’s words, “…as you go through your day, you shall encounter simple and not-so-simple geometric and logic puzzles. Shoot the bunny for your breakfast, if you can figure out how far away it is. Solve the King’s puzzle of the misplaced signs. Figure out who won the Olympics by piecing together bits of information from those who were there.”

All the puzzles in the game are math-related: you will have to deal with algebra, geometry, logic (mostly of the “which door is lying” variety), and – of course – a good dose of basic trigonometry. There is also plenty of non-math riddles to solve. What I like most about the game is that all these math puzzles are cleverly integrated into the game’s plot. For example, you have to shoot a bird for breakfast. But first, you have to deduce the distance from the rabbit to you based on information the game gives you – usually this involves visualizing relative locations of the bird, the tree it’s perched on, and the tree in front of it in your head. One nice touch is that not all puzzles have to be solved correctly: you just need to solve enough of them to advance the story. I have some gripes with the game, but they are all minor: you need to revisit many locations several times to “trigger” the next story bit, and some puzzles require exact phrasing – the parser is just not very robust. Fortunately, most of what you need to type will be numbers (answers to puzzles), so this isn’t a big nuisance.

Overall, if you like math or logic puzzles or have kids in your house who can use some practice while having fun, Little Pythagoras is a neat little game that is well worth your time. The game is supposedly shareware, but registering ($5 at the time) only got you a full walkthrough without adding anything to the game, so as usual I’m labelling this one “freeware.” Two thumbs up, way up!

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