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Amplify Announces Groundbreaking Lineup of Educational Games

Developed in Collaboration with Leading Independent Game Designers from Across the Globe. More Than 20 Titles Focused on English Language Arts and STEM.

(NEW YORK, June 18, 2013) Today Amplify CEO Joel Klein unveiled the largest selection of cutting-edge games designed to help students achieve core educational goals in English Language Arts and STEM. The company is producing more than 20 games targeted at middle school-age students as a part of its broader digital curriculum initiative.

The games, which are currently being piloted in schools across the country, will be playable on the Amplify Tablet and major mobile operating systems, including iOS. School districts may purchase the games—either bundled with Amplify’s digital curriculum or separately—in the spring of 2014 for classroom deployment at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Amplify is dedicated to reimagining the way teachers teach and students learn. In addition to developing cutting-edge tools like the Amplify Tablet to improve one-to-one education inside the classroom, the company is keenly focused on building a portfolio of resources designed to encourage and enable voluntary learning beyond the traditional school day.

“Our games are like nothing you’ve ever seen,” Klein said. “We’re not designing homework here. These games will improve learning not because kids have to play them in school, but because they want to play them in their own free time.”

Increased outside-the-classroom learning is important for all students, but critical for those from low-income families. Decades of research has shown that learning loss during the summertime and other vacation periods significantly impacts the growing gap in test scores between children from families of high and low socioeconomic status.

In addition to extending learning time, educational games hold the potential to build “growth mindsets”—a set of beliefs and attitudes that are a key predictor of positive academic performance. The games seek to help students better understand the relationship between effort and success, to persist in the face of difficulty and to embrace (rather than fear) failure as a part of the learning process.

About the Games

Lexica, Amplify’s premier English Language Arts game world, brings together more than 14 embedded games, each with multiple levels and episodes. Lexica is an immersive world packed with characters from literature and nonfiction. The center of that virtual world is a beautiful library stocked with more than 300 classic and contemporary books catering to a broad cross section of reading interests and tastes.

Players have the ability to seamlessly transition from reading books to game play. The games help build key reading and writing skills and reinforce language and themes from the books a player has read. Reading books from the library enables players to better understand the characters and puzzles they encounter in the game world and provides a way to unlock customized capabilities.

The core educational goals of Lexica are to increase the amount of challenging reading that students do outside the classroom; bolster specific skills related to reading and writing; increase vocabulary; and to help students develop strong academic behaviors and habits. Games embedded within Lexica include:

Mukashi Mukashi: A syntax and storytelling game based on Japanese folklore. The game mechanics “make failure fun” while driving students to engage in sustained exploration of the impact of word choices within longer narratives.

Story Cards: A collectible card game featuring authors and characters from classic and modern literature. Have C. Auguste Dupin match wits against Scheherazade!

W.E.L.D.E.R.: The educational version of a top-selling iOS word game. As one reviewer described it: “If Boggle, Scrabble and Hangman had a baby, the end result might come close to being as good as W.E.L.D.E.R., a word game lover’s delight…”

Tomes: A choose-your-own-adventure series with a focus on vocabulary, featuring characters from classic literature. Its evocative social dynamics are similar to those found in hit games such as Surviving High School.

Unearthed: A game teaching students the many complexities and irregularities of subject-verb agreement. Unearthed offers students an engaging way to master this usually tedious topic in an addictive arcade game format.

Sentence and Sensibility: An arcade-style word puzzle game that encourages students to use more varied and complex sentence structures in their own writing. It takes full advantage of the tactile game mechanics available on tablets and other mobile devices.

Venture!: A bundle of quick-play games focusing on spelling, conjugation of irregular verbs and overcoming homonym confusion.

Spelling Stone: A puzzle game that links spelling to morphology.

Examples of our STEM games

For the 2014-15 school year, we will also have at least 15 science, math and engineering games, including:

SimCell: an immersive exploration game, with beautiful and realistic depictions of the inner worlds of a human muscle cell. This is a game that takes full advantage of the processing and graphics power of the latest generation of tablets.

Crafty Cut: a swipe-to-cut puzzle game that enables students to explore the relationships between 3-D and 2-D geometry. Students can quickly manipulate objects in 3-D space, using the same sorts of intuitive actions found in some of the best commercial games. This is an educational topic that would be difficult to address in any other medium.

Metabosim: a pinball-style game about how plants and people get energy. It offers a highly engaging opportunity for multiple students to play simultaneously on the same tablet.

Habitactics: a puzzle game with a sardonically playful visual style, covering ecosystem interactions among predators and prey, fungus and decaying bodies, etc.

Immuno-Defense: a real-time strategy game about using the various types of white blood cells to defend the human body from bacteria.

Twelve: a story-rich puzzle platform that integrates math in elegant ways into core game mechanics.

Food Web: an arcade-style, casual game that teaches about the complex relationships between plants and animals in an ecosystem.

TyrAnt: a light, real-time strategy game where the player seeks to protect and grow a colony of ants.

About our Partners

Although there are some great educational games for younger children, there are almost none that are innovative and engaging for middle school students. To help solve that problem, Amplify has commissioned work from some of the best commercial game designers in the world.

Justin Leites, vice president for games at Amplify, explains: “The designers who are working with us are a rare breed, extraordinarily talented in the craft of making great games and passionate about finding new ways to help kids learn.”

These design teams include:

Schell Games, led by award-winning game designer and Carnegie Mellon professor Jesse Schell. While working for Disney, Schell was lead designer for ToonTown, the first (and still popular) MMO (massively multiplayer online game) created for children.

Zachtronics, a Seattle-based team led by Zach Barth, creator of Infiniminer (the original game that Minecraft is based upon) and Spacechem.

Preloaded, the extraordinarily innovative British team that previously created Thingdom, which teaches basic concepts about genetics, and The End, which helps teenagers reflect upon religious and philosophical ideas about death.

Highline Games, the New York City team that built W.E.L.D.E.R., the spelling game that was widely acclaimed as one of the best iPad apps of 2011 (and a no. 1 hit in the Apple App Store). (Highline’s designers previously worked for Rockstar Games, where they worked on cinematography and other aspects of Grand Theft Auto and other hit games.)

Ira Fay Games. Fay was a senior game designer at Electronic Arts for half a decade, where he led Pogo iPhone game development and released several top Web games. Ira also previously worked at Activision on X-Men 3 and at Maxis on The Sims 2.

Strange Loop, the Seattle-based team of former AAA studio designers who went indie and created the liquid-physics puzzle game Vessel.

Bossa, the British team that produced the popular Surgeon Simulator.

About Amplify

Amplify is reimagining the way teachers teach and students learn through data-driven instruction, one-to-one learning and next-generation digital curriculum. Our products and services are designed for tomorrow’s promise and today’s realities.

At Amplify, we’re creating exciting new approaches to teaching and learning that are: as immersive as the best films; as compelling as the best video games; as social as the best networking applications; as personal as the best tutors; and as analytically sophisticated as the best search engines.

We’ve helped more than 200,000 educators and 3 million students in all 50 states begin their digital transition through mobile assessment solutions, adaptive curricula and tools that harness the power of data for classroom teachers. And we’re just getting started.

Headquartered in New York City, and with more than 1,000 employees across the country, Amplify is led by a team of digital education experts and has provided industry-leading instructional tools, data analytics and assessment solutions to the K-12 market for more than a decade as Wireless Generation.