Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 37 / JUNE 1983 / PAGE 137


Marathon For Atari    Mike Kinnamon

More Than A Math Drill
Marathon departs somewhat from typical math drill programs. It makes use of the Atari's graphics and sound capabilities. The object is to advance your marathon runner from the starting line at the left of the screen to the finish line at the right. This is accomplished by giving the correct answer to the math problem presented before your opponent does or before the timer runs out.
    When the game is loaded from disk or cassette, an option allows one or two players. You may then select which mathematical operation the game will focus on - addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. You may opt for a mixture of these operations by selecting the general category instead.

Four Levels Of Difficulty
There are four levels of difficulty; walker, jogger, sprinter, and olympian. Each successively higher level decreases the amount of time allowed to correctly answer the math problems. Pressing START begins the game.
    A math problem, nothing larger than two-digit numbers, will appear near the middle of the screen. Two matrices (one for each player) containing eight answers from which to choose appear on each side of the screen.
    Once a player has located the correct answer on the matrix, he or she uses the joystick to position the cursor over the appropriate cell and presses the red button to indicate the answer. The player who gets the right answer first is rewarded with the advancement of his or her marathon runner at the top of the screen.
    The game continues in this manner until one of the player's marathon runners crosses the finish line. On every fifth problem, the players are asked to identify the multiple of a given number. At the game's conclusion, the winning player will be ranked from "Walker-Team Six" to "Olympian-Team One." These rankings are derived from a combination of correct answers, advancements due to the opponent's incorrect responses, and the number of times that the timer expired.

screen shot

Good Graphics
Geoff Brown, the author of Marathon, employs effective mixed screen modes and color schemes. The flow of the program is smooth and bug-free.
    I have used this program in my fourth- through sixth-grade classes and found it helpful in motivating students who need remediation. Ten to 15 minutes seemed to be the attention span for the majority of the students. Marathon can be put to good use in the classroom.
Educational Software Inc.
4565 Cherryvale Avenue
Soquel, CA 95073
Requires 16K RAM Cassette
24K RAM Disk