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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (January 31, 2014) – ThinkFun®, Inc., the world’s leading developer of addictively fun games that sharpen your mind, will bring Kickstarter sensation Robot Turtles™, the board game for little programmers, to the market in concert with national movements supporting code literacy and STEM education. ThinkFun is internationally known for Laser Maze™, Rush Hour® and Zingo!®.

Robot Turtles is the most backed board game in Kickstarter history and teaches kids as young as four how to program before they even learn to read. Widely available this June for $24.99, ThinkFun is launching pre-orders today at in anticipation of high demand. Pre-orders will include a free Special Edition Expansion Pack that doubles game play and features new challenges, game tokens and accessories.

“Last month, President Obama came out in support of’s Hour of Code, saying, ‘Don’t just buy a new video game. Make one.’ We couldn’t agree more,” said Bill Ritchie, ThinkFun President and Co-Founder. “Until Robot Turtles, a screen-free option for teaching code to the critical preschool age group did not exist. This game sneakily teaches programming basics amid silly family fun.”

Tale of the Turtles

ThinkFun’s passion for code literacy is rooted in its co-founder’s family, with Bill’s brother Dennis Ritchie considered by many to be the greatest coder of all time. Dennis Ritchie was awarded the National Medal of Technology for creating the C programming language and co-creating the UNIX operating system. ThinkFun hails Robot Turtles as a tribute to Dennis Ritchie, who died in 2011. “Robot Turtles is an important first step in ThinkFun’s commitment to code literacy,” continued Bill Ritchie. “My brother Dennis would have loved it!”

Robot Turtles is inspired by Logo, an educational programming language designed in the 1960s, remembered fondly for its turtle graphics. In bringing Robot Turtles to the market, ThinkFun is collaborating with game inventor Dan Shapiro, a self-proclaimed Geek Dad who wanted to give his four-year-old twins what he feels is the single greatest superpower – the skill of programming. His 2013 Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 and produce 1,000 games made history when it raised $630,000 and shipped 25,000 games. With players calling the game a “big hit,” “great educational tool,” “sheer genius,” “10 stars!” and “very simple,” Robot Turtles has proven entertaining, educational and a boon to early childhood critical thinking skills – a perfect fit with ThinkFun’s mission to change the world through play.

Robot Turtles Role Reversal – Kids Boss the Grown Ups!

Kids ages four to eight play the game with a grown up, using Code Cards and Bug Cards to program their Robot Turtle to reach its matching jewel. As you advance, the game incorporates obstacles like Ice Walls and more complex Code Cards like lasers. Best part? Kids have all the control, acting as programmers to control the parent, who becomes the computer. As kids create code, parents respond with goofy beeps, bops and zaps, eliciting shrieking delight and belly laughs. Robot Turtles is played with one adult and up to four kids.

To pre-order Robot Turtles with the free Special Edition Expansion Pack, watch a video and soak up game play, please visit

In other news...

Board Game Teaching Preschoolers How to Code and Marble Run Inspired by Laser Maze Top ThinkFun's 2014 Lineup. Click for full press release.

ThinkFun Celebrates Three Toy of the Year Award Nominations. Click for full press release

Access Complete Press Archive here.


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About ThinkFun

ThinkFun is the world's leader in addictively fun games that sharpen your mind. ThinkFun was founded in 1985 by husband and wife team Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello with a dream to change the world through play.

Our mission: "To translate the brilliant ideas of the craziest mathematicians, engineers and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world."

Over the years, ThinkFun has strengthened its commitment to products that inspire learning, spark creativity, and nurture problem solving. We continue to push into new frontiers with apps, online games, education programs – even brain research!


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Who We Are:


Bill Ritchie - ThinkFun CEO & co-founder

Bill Ritchie CEO/Co-Founder

Bill Ritchie is president and co-founder of ThinkFun®, Inc., the world’s leading developer of addictively fun games that sharpen your mind. He is a lifelong puzzle enthusiast whose passion drives the development of ThinkFun's innovative products and education programs.

As a child in the 1960s, Bill played with as many puzzles and science toys he could get his hands on. Thanks to his father, a researcher at Bell Labs, Bill was also privy to intriguing concepts that never made it onto store shelves.

In 1985, Bill and his wife Andrea Barthello founded ThinkFun, originally called Binary Arts, with a noble mission: "To translate the brilliant ideas of mathematicians, engineers and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world." It is a mission that continues to drive the company today.

Bill believes fiercely in the power of a great game to strengthen thinking skills and prepare kids for the challenges of the 21st century. His pioneering efforts have led the development of innovative programs that stretch and sharpen the mind, and his partnerships with researchers and inspired educators all over the world are an important part of furthering this vision. He continues to push into new arenas, including the development of mobile apps and online gaming and learning communities.

Bill is a respected member of the international puzzle community and travels worldwide to share his knowledge, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and discover the next great game. He is a member of the World Presidents Organization and the founding President of the World Entrepreneur Organization. He was the recipient of the "Sam Loyd Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mechanical Puzzles" from the Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors and a featured speaker at TEDx.

Bill earned a degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University and a Masters in City Regional Planning from Harvard University. He and his wife Andrea live in Alexandria, Virginia, with a vintage car on their front lawn modeled after ThinkFun’s internationally acclaimed Rush Hour.


Andrea Barthello - ThinkFun president & co-founder

Andrea Barthello, Chairman/Co-Founder

Andrea is ThinkFun's ambassador in the worldwide marketplace. Her drive and passion have fueled the charge to build ThinkFun from the ground up. Shipping, orders, sales, marketing, accounting, everyday operations - you name it, she's done it! Named one of Washington Business Journal's "Women Who Mean Business," Andrea currently serves on the Board for the Toy Industry Association and is a past member of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Board.


Charlotte Fixler - ThinkFun Communications Manager

Charlotte Fixler, Director, Communications

A former elementary school teacher, Charlotte is the “face behind Facebook,” managing ThinkFun’s social media outlets and leading communication and marketing initiatives. Her SmartPlay Blog explores the connection between learning and play. Please direct all media inquiries to Charlotte at cfixler@thinkfun.comor (703) 549-4999 x3500


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ThinkFun is the world's leader in addictively fun games that challenge your mind and inspire creative thinking. Over 25 years ago, ThinkFun was founded with a dream to change the world through play. ThinkFun continues to expand on that dream every day with online games, mobile apps and global education programs. To learn more about ThinkFun, go to


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