“Teach Through Play” Hops Border and Language Barriers

DEMO COMPANY SPOTLIGHT: ThinkFun, Inc.

ThinkFun, Inc., originally known as Binary Arts, is an Alexandria, Virginia-based educational toy company. Founded in 1985 by Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello, the company has since been featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, and Wired, while also winning many awards for their games. The company is on a mission to “Teach Through Play” and neither borders nor language barriers will stop them: their games are sold in over 60 countries and have been translated to over 20 different languages.

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With a catalog of over 70 games throughout its history, ThinkFun, Inc. continues to innovate and remain relevant. 2014 saw the company release the game Robot Turtles (one of the most backed board games in Kickstarter History) followed by 2015’s Code Master, with both games sharing the intent of teaching children the logic and problem-solving mentalities needed to be successful at coding.

Looking for work in coding? Apply here.

For 2016, the company is making its rounds to toy fairs and gaming conventions alike in promotion of their newest game, Escape the Room, a logic-puzzler that is based on the internet and real life sensation.

If you want to meet ThinkFun, Inc., up close and personal, you can find them on February 25th at Tech in Motion DC’s Demos: EdTech Edition. Otherwise, you can learn more about them on their website.

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Is Pac-Man a Museum Piece? You Bet!

When video games finally win widespread recognition as a major art form, some of the credit will surely go to Chris Melissinos. Chris, a guest speaker at Philadelphia’s Gaming Expo, is the man who created the largest-ever exhibition on “The Art of Video Games” for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

“Video games are a medium that incorporate all forms of art: illustration, sculpture, music, narrative, character, culture, everything,” said Melissinos, a Queens native whose exhibition drew near-record crowds in Washington before starting a nationwide tour that just landed at The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. (Feb 15-May 18)

As Verizon’s Director of Corporate Strategy for Media and Entertainment, Chris tracks new technology, picks the coolest stuff and develops the plans for bringing it to Verizon’s customers.

“Given my experience with and passion for video games, you can bet they will examining their role in Verizon’s future media strategy,” said Melissinos, who began programming at 9 and completed his first game when he was 12. “Verizon provides an amazing set of platforms, from mobile to cloud, upon which video games can be delivered and enjoyed.”

Such efforts to shape gaming’s future come just as many Americans are enjoying the efforts Chris made to chronicle its past.

He first got the idea for a gaming retrospective 9 years ago. He and a friend came across a treasure trove of gaming memorabilia, systems, accessories and more than 6,000 games. Chris remembers marveling for several hours at his friend’s time capsule, and then the idea struck him.

“These,” he thought, like Indiana Jones before him, “belong in a museum.”

It took Chris 7 years to make his idea a reality, but the reception vindicated the effort. The Art of Video Games drew 680,000 visitors in its 6 months at the American Art Museum, second in the museum’s history.

The family-friendly exhibition features 20 gaming systems spanning 40 years, each equipped to demonstrate 4 artistically important games. Visitors can also play five of the pivotal titles in game history: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.

“Video games, at their core, are about connection,” Chris explained, “connecting players to the artist and other players. Verizon, at its core, is also about connection, connecting customers to the people and things who matter most to them.”

RSVP to see Chris speak at Tech in Motion’s Gaming Expo in Philadelphia on October, 16th, along with some awesome demos from ten Philadelphia-area gaming studies and video-game inspired anthems from Dj CUTMAN.

This post was adapted from the original article “Pac-Man a Museum Piece?” at Verizon.com. Read the full story at Verizon.com.