LGR – Jump Start – PC Game Review
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LGR – Jump Start – PC Game Review

September 14, 2019


You know there are a ton of edutainment games out there. And even though I played a ton of them, sometimes there’s just a series that falls through the cracks. And today’s subject is one of those and it’s kind of impressive seeing as it’s been around for about two decades now and is one of the best-selling edutainment series ever. That, of course, is the Jump Start games. It all began with Jump Start Kindergarten developed and published by Knowledge Adventure in 1994 for Windows and Macintosh computers. Although this is the first game in the series, it was by no means the last as it was updated, re-released, and followed up with sequels for years. Not only was this known as Jump Ahead in the UK but it was also known as Davidson’s Learning Center Series Kindergarten after the Davidson & Associates merger under CUC International in 1996. Beyond that, it was re-released as this classic version with patch 1.2 on disc, there was an upgraded 2.0 version in the late 90s that overhauled all sorts of things and it was replaced entirely with Jump Start Advanced Kindergarten in 2002. Bloody hell, kindergarten jump starting is serious business! Start the original, classic game up and you’re given an ear worm via an unnecessarily catchy theme song. ♪ Go go, go to school ♪ ♪ Go to school ♪ Then a green-laden miniature humanoid beckons you to come inside. Although, you can just stay outside and click things in pure point-and-click pop up computer gaming goodness. [assorted goofy sound effects] Click the door and a bird tells you to enter your name so make sure to make the best of it. Go inside and you’re greeted by Mr. Hopsalot, the teacher and Jump Start mascot from the cover of the game. [Mr. Hopsalot]: I’m Mr. Hopsalot, your teacher. From here, you can click on more stuff to see random animations, but many of them will take you to a Kindergarten-y minigame. These are all incredibly simple interactive thingies appropriate for 4-to-6 year olds and cover things like counting, similarities and differences, pre-reading, order and sequences, shapes and colors. Although later versions of Kindergarten awarded you with stars for completing each game, there’s no real goal in this classic version, because screw you. You do get a progress report, but what kindergartener would give a crap about that when you could play object-dropping puzzle games to feed a fat mouse cheese. Or play a harvesting game where you grab strawberries and sunflowers to watch a gopher dance like a doofus. Or play a language comprehension game where you learn the incorrect way to spell weird. There’s even some activities that’s just here because it’s stuff that kids like to do like a park where you can photograph things that turn into pages of a virtual coloring book. And then there’s this guy which just cracks me up for some reason. [Announcer]: These are… french fries. [Announcer]: And that starts with the letter… F. Jump Start Kindergarten is vibrant, cutesy, fun, educationally entertaining and is chock full of positive reinforcement and I can see why it spawned like six re-releases and a hundred thousand sequels for different grade levels. In fact, let’s look at one more here: Jump Start 1st Grade, released in 1995. And right away, you can tell Knowledge Adventure stepped up their game with this one. Just listen to this glorious autoplay menu! [choir and sparkle sound effects] After this, you get yet another ridiculously catchy theme song that has not stopped tormenting my brain for weeks. ♪ Jump, jump, jump, start first grade ♪
♪ Jump, jump, jump, start first grade ♪ ♪ Jump, jump, jump ♪ And just like Kindergarten, you have an outdoor area that’s simply there for you to click on things and see what happens like opening the windows to the building and pantsing some schoolboy against his will? Okay, just go inside and you’re exposed to yet another theme song, this time for Franky, the anthropomorphic wiener dog. ♪ He’s Franky ♪ [Franky]: Hi! I’m Franky. I’m the Jump Start mascot. Wait, the Jump Start mascot? What happened to Mr. Hopsalot!? [gunshot]
Oh. From here, it’s pretty much identical to Jump Start Kindergarten in the way the game works. You have things to click on that do nothing but entertain you for all of five seconds and things to click on that take you to a minigame teaching you something. In this case, you have games teaching reading, addition and subtraction, geography, science, counting money and slightly artsy stuff. And holy crap, there is a lot to do in this one! So much so that it’s downright overwhelming at first. There’s at least a dozen learning games to play, all of which have completely different rules and objectives and a slew of random side activities to take part of. On top of that, you have an overall goal to collect enough points to earn milk caps. Every 100 points, you can unlock a new milk cap and being that this was the mid-90s, these are pogs. Yes, pogs! Those silly cardboard and plastic disks that were confusingly but undeniably collectible for all of six months? Okay, maybe they were around a bit longer than that, but it absolutely tickles me to see this particular fad in an edutainment game. These milk caps you unlock are really just slammers and you can play against a youngster that looks like the typical kid that takes pogs way too seriously. Earning these milk caps can take a freakin’ long time though, so it’s worth cranking up the difficulty from five-year-old level to seven-year-old level so you can earn points faster. And when you’re tired of playing board games about time, using a metal detector to uncover hidden letters, and baking free food for that slave-driving, homicidal dog, you can just drive on over to the zoo or the beach to enjoy some more pop-up clicking fun and a song with surprisingly high production value. ♪ The whales sang a song and the seagulls clap along ♪ ♪ In the ocean, they put on a show ♪ With all these places to go, you might think navigation is a chore, but thanks to that omnipresent back arrow at the top-left of the screen and the layout of the school and surrounding areas, even a first grader can manage. And uh… that’s good, cuz it’s made for first graders. And that’s all the Jump Starting stuff I’m going to cover here because if were to look at all the other 99,998 games in this series, I’d be here until well beyond humanity’s extinction. But anyway, the last thing I really want to say is these games are fantastic for what they are anyway. Other than a few misspellings and the murdering of Mr. Hopsalot, the success of the Jump Start series is completely merited. They’re insanely well-designed, have lots of stuff to do, they educate, they entertain, and they’re something that I would probably worshipped as a four-to-seven-year-old. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite happy playing Duke Nukem 1 and Wolfenstein 3D back then, but you know, as far as educational stuff goes, I’d have been quite happy. And I think these games still hold up today and the newer versions seem to be quite compatible with modern operationing systems, so I would even recommend them to people with underdeveloped humans in their possession nowadays. Now if you’ll excuse me… [Clint sings along]
♪ Jump, jump, jump, start first grade ♪ ♪ Jump, jump, jump, start… ♪
[Clint]: Please kill me… [Clint stops singing]
♪ Jump, jump, jump, start first grade ♪ ♪ Jump, jump, jump ♪ And if you enjoyed me jump-starting your education about the Jump Start educational games and would like to see some similar stuff, well Edutainment Month is going on all throughout April, and I do other videos every other week throughout the year. So, subscribing is an option as is following me on Twitter or Facebook or pledging on Patreon or contacting me via mental telepathy or astral projection. And as always, thank you for watching!

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  1. The one in this franchise I remember the most was Jumpstart 3rd Grade. That evil little scientist brat and having to collect robots throughout history.

  2. I forgot that my kindergarten actually HAD Jumpstart Kindergarten until just now. I flashed back to age five for a second there, that was wild!

  3. Is it just me or…. did the 1st grade dog have different voices between releases?

    Cause my copy of this game the voice was very different from what I’m hearing now.

  4. I was watching this to try to remember the name of a different game I played as a kid, but Jumpstart 1st Grade was also a nostalgic game for me!

  5. I HATED that stupid dog when I was little. He was annoying, looked like a hotdog, and he was a narcissist. Ugh. Hate him even more now that he's a murderer.

  6. I used to play these and the learning company games all the time when I was in early elementary school! I probably still have them somewhere…

  7. Hey man I have been trying to find this game for a long time. I use to play it when I was young. I don’t remember the name but I remember it was kind of an educational game. There were two games to the series. The first one you travel around the earth and I remember you ride in some sort of bathtub as your mode of transportation. The second one takes place in the solar system. If you could help that would be great

  8. I played Jump Start 1st Grade when I was 7……..that was 21 years ago.

    I remember loving that cafeteria game.

    Good times, good times.

  9. The jump start series has a LOT of interesting games and some are still even fun today (yeah i know that sounds weird from a 21 year old but hey nostalgia attacks in interesting ways)

  10. OMG nostalgia rush!!! I used to play this on my moms computer in 2006/2007 (when I was actually a first grader) Now I’m 17 and I still game, but I play retro arcade and console games that are not educational and I also enjoy pinball.
    Also, where’s the “glop monster?”

  11. Shit, I always wondered what that game was called. I apparently never played it before I could read

  12. Oh man I loved Jumpstart as a kid. The 1996 Jumpstart 2nd Grade was my favorite! It had more earworm songs including the intro and a song about nouns!

  13. I want to thank my parents for getting me this gem (Kindergarden) growing up. It definitely got me interested in playing games for the PC.

  14. Thanks, Clint! Your video review helped me to wean my 4 year old son from playing minecraft, brainlessly. He is Russian and study in Irish school and he wasn't wanted to learn English, but thanks to your review, he learns English now with pleasure and joy 😉 And also thanks to those guys, who created such an attractive educational game. GL.
    Btw, nice channel!

  15. So I had Jump Ahead Year 1 when I was little, and I kid you not, I have not seen these games since I played it, going on 15 years ago.
    You have no idea how weird this subliminal-esque nostalgia is.

  16. Oh my god, the 1st grade one was my first Jump Start game as a child and I remember all those things! Never realized how oddly shaped the dog's hands were at that vending machine tho…

  17. Oh lord, a long time ago I discovered a glitch in the metal detector minigame that made the dog's head suddenly vanish. Good times, good times.

  18. I remember playing one of these games, specifically one of the ones for Windows 7. Maybe it was a rerelease of 1st Grade.

  19. Was thinking about this game the other day and how I would NEVER figure out the name of it and would just have slightly odd memories of it lol. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been hit over the head with the exact nostalgia I was looking for lmao. Ever heard or Rockets World? If so pls do that one if you can.

  20. Oh goodness I remember this. I loved playing JumpStart kindergarten and jumpstart first grade but they were later releases

  21. I remember commercials for these games all the time.I even have an unopened and sealed copy of one of these games for the ds(assuming there was more than one game for the ds.If there is,mine is deep sea escape

  22. Oh my god this is what we would play during computer class in elementary school the memories are flooding back

  23. Jumpstart 1st Grade gives me such nostalgic feels. I played it so much as a kid. I may or may not still play it occasionally

  24. Holy fuck i remember these games back when i was in elementary… and when i was in special education, but let’s not go there.

  25. There was one version of JumpStart that I played on Windows Vista when I was really young, and I can't seem to find it… It makes me really sad.

  26. I had advanced jump start. I will NEVER forget the theme. JUUUUMP START, AROUND THE WOOOORLD WE CAN–

  27. OMG this game made me smart lmao. I only remember doing the cooking parts, but watching this video made all the memories come rushing back!! I was like 3 or 4 lol

  28. I had Jumpstart 1st Grade, 3rd grade, and Typing. I played the 4/5/6grade games at other kids houses, during play dates. I miss these games. Jumpstart a typing was the best one, that’s the one I miss the most!

  29. I loved playing jump start first grader when I was a kid thanks for the memory lane trip!! Would it be weird to find it and download the game to play it?

  30. I remember playing the sticker/coloring book game and the lunch tray game exclusively. I was too bad at math for literally anything else, so they weren't fun for me.

  31. I played both of these as a kid. I don't really remember the kindergarten one all that well. Almost to the point that I thought I never did play it till I saw the part about the Flowers and the Strawberries. For some reason that jogged my memory. But I do remember playing Jump Start 1st grade, and I remember playing it a lot. Probably why I remember it better.

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