COCOA BEACH, Fla., May 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Kids can now instantaneously reinvent the digital world. GameBender, the education startup from the creators of Makey Makey, today introduced a radical new gaming system that helps kids learn to code while playing and “bending” code. GameBender unleashes wild creativity during gameplay, and creates a path into coding that looks more like a party or an art class, less like homework.
“If you can bend and break the game, that’s a true maker’s game,” said Dale Dougherty, Founder and CEO of Make: Magazine / Maker Faire.
Andrés Monroy-Hernández, lead research scientist at Snapchat wrote, “Simple yet revolutionary. It’s like Apple TV meets Scratch meets AR.”
GameBender has grant funding from the National Science Foundation and a partnership with Scratch, a community of 40 million users providing access to more than one million coded projects like games, apps and DIY TV. Parents, engineers, teachers, heads of nation-states, scientists, and kids (with parental approval) can pre-order GameBender starting today for $299 USD (a $100 discount from the estimated in-store retail price of $399) on gamebender.com.
Professor Mitch Resnick, Founder of Scratch, commented, “GameBender opens new possibilities for tinkering with code: play, experiment, modify, remix.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Program Director, Rajesh Mehta added, “We’re excited to fund companies like GameBender, helping to launch their creative ideas into innovative products for kids with the potential to make a substantial positive impact on society and the world.”
The involvement of the NSF and Scratch, along with GameBender’s deep commitment to nutritious gaming, has Google employees like Seth Raphael, Senior Designer of the Future, saying, “This is the only game platform I will let my kids have.”
Designed in bright red with a playful bananas theme, GameBender’s new system includes a state-of-the art game controller, matching console, advanced augmented reality camera, 3D glasses and easy-to-use code flash cards that help kids write their first code stacks, also known as “glitches.”
What’s In the Box
The GameBender innovative gaming system includes three cool hardware products, 3D glasses and supporting materials that make getting started for kids, parents and teachers easy right out of the box.
- The only game controller with a dedicated “code” button. GameBender’s bright red controller allows kids to see the code in a glitch with the press of a button.
- Compact, square gaming console is literally made out of a circuit which sports a playful large banana with dozens of dancing LED backlights. From the moment you touch the on button, you are touching a circuit. The gaming console is the “brain” of the GameBender system, providing an interface to the television and pathway to the Scratch content.
- Camera for use with augmented reality experiences. With the GameBender camera, kids can have fun, taking selfies to insert directly in games and apps, or play games with their full bodies.
- Easy-to-follow glitch cards guide you through your first bend. GameBender includes 50 glitch cards explaining each glitch. You can also play glitch card games by passing out cards and taking turns applying glitches against or with your friends.
- 3D glasses make bending more fun by empowering kids to glitch any game to be 3D (using straightforward 2-depth anaglyph 3D technology) and see their creations in a new way.
For parents, teachers, or kids who are serious about coding and learning socially, GameBender also offers a Social Coding Immersion Edition. For an extra $100 you get all of the above, as well as an extra controller, 50 Code Cards, three more pairs of 3D glasses, a code class curriculum, and a custom branded wireless keyboard and mouse.
The resulting experience is that “GameBender is an immersive tool that lets students sit in the seat of a videogame designer even if they are an absolute beginner,” said Colleen Graves, Creative Educational Director at JoyLabz.
“Finally a learning platform for kids that they actually want!” said Sherry Huss, Co-Founder of Maker Faire.
The Power of the Glitch
With GameBender, kids aged eight to infinity can get inspired and reinvent the online gaming world, fundamentally changing the game rules by altering the underlying code. Here are some specific glitch examples:
- “Become a pinball within the game.” Using the camera, put your face (or any physical object) right into the game in seconds.
- “Make the treasure huge.” You can edit a character’s size, shape, position, controls, in seconds.
- “Play a virtual piano with a domino run, or knock down virtual towers with bean bags. You can even let your pets play.” Bring the game into your physical room using the camera so you can control the game with everyday objects.
- “Become a game designer and edit levels.” Insert portals, lava, etc. or add items, like jetpacks and drones, to any character or even to an inanimate object.
“We’ve been making educational products for more than a decade. From Drawdio to Makey Makey, we’ve shipped more than 1 million products,” said Jay Silver, Founder and CEO of GameBender and Makey Makey. “We believe everyone is an inventor.” GameBender lets you reinvent the gaming world by offering you the power to control the game, make edits as you see fit and immerse yourself in a new experience of your own creation.
Senior VP of GameBender Todd Eddie, an engineer who co-designed the system calls it “A digital sandbox for code literacy and creative play.”
Gamebender will be live tweeting the launch from the founder’s handle @wakeupsilver. You can follow and join in on the discussion by following him or the hashtag #gamebender on Twitter.
GameBender: Pricing and Availability
GameBender’s original gaming system is available for pre-order world-wide starting today for a discounted price of $299 USD, estimated in-store retail price is $399. Parents, scientists, teachers, future presidents, and kids (with parental approval) can pre-order one starting today for $299 USD on gamebender.com. GameBender estimates its first shipments will happen in Q4 2019.
GameBender, a Cocoa Beach-based education startup from the makers of Makey Makey, is on a mission to develop an entirely new type of digital world creativity. GameBender believes everyone is an inventor. The mission has been the same for a decade: “The World is a Construction Kit, let’s reveal all of us as the constructors that we are.” GameBender CEO and Founder, Jay Silver, has been making educational tools for more than a decade and has shipped more than 1 million products from Drawdio to Makey Makey. With their first gaming system, GameBender transforms gaming so kids have the power to use their creativity to reinvent it. GameBender’s system teaches kids to code by having fun, unleashing creativity while playing games. GameBender has grant funding from the National Science Foundation and a partnership with Scratch, a community of 40 million users providing access to more than one million coded projects like games, apps and DIY TV. To learn more, visit gamebender.com.
Contact: Spark for GameBender, Cristina Dunning, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-507-4758
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