About 20 years ago, an educational video game called “Zoombinis” was launched to help children improve problem-solving skills. The game, from Broderbund Software, which was later acquired by a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt subsidiary, The Learning Co., ended up selling more than 1 million copies.
Now the original creator, Cambridge-based TERC (for Technical Education Resource Centers) has teamed up with a Boston children’s media company, FableVision, and the Learning Games Network to launch an updated version of the game for Android, iOS and, eventually, a wide array of other devices.
To bring back “Zoombinis,” TERC, FableVision, and LGN launched a Kickstarter campaign that has, in less than a week, surpassed its initial goal of $50,000. With almost $65,000 raised, the “Zoombinis” team has set its sights on a “stretch goal” of $80,000.
The game features cartoonish characters called Zoombinis that go on a journey through a mythical land, all the while making the players figure out various puzzles. The game was based on research done by TERC in the early 1990s with the goal of pushing math and logic puzzles.
The game became a hit, winning awards, and eventually led to two sequels.
“We had fans writing us saying that they couldn’t play the game anymore and they wanted to play an updated version of the game,” Libby said. “So we decided to release the game for tablets, because it adapts very naturally to touch screens.”
“We’ve had a long, wonderful working relationship with TERC,” said Sarah Ditkoff, FableVision’s head of communications, of the media company’s interest in the game.
She added that many employees at Fablevision had been “Zoombinis” fans growing up, so the partnership just made sense.
The company expects to launch the updated version of “Zoombinis” on iOS and Android devices this coming summer.