Tag Archives: Bill Ritchie

ThinkFun Says Farewell to a Dear Friend…

For years, visitors to ThinkFun have been greeted by a very friendly, very hairy, orangutan named Clyde.  Perched in ThinkFun’s reception area, Clyde has welcomed (and oftentimes frightened) unsuspecting guests for several years!

Clyde 225x300 ThinkFun Says Farewell to a Dear Friend...

ThinkFun co-founders Andrea Barthello and Bill Ritchie received the following in the mail today:

Clyde the Orangutan

The ThinkFun Chair

1321 Cameron Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

April 19, 2010

Dear Andy and Bill:

It is with deep regret that I inform you of my resignation from ThinkFun, effective immediately.  I have decided to take another direction in my career.

I want to thank you and the entire ThinkFun team for your guidance, friendship and occasional vacuuming.  Sitting in my chair all these years has been quite enlightening – I have seen people come and go; I’ve seen products come and go.  But there is no doubt in my mind – ThinkFun is just top bananas!

In case you are wondering, I am leaving to join Edoardo Kulp’s family (Marketing Manager at ThinkFun) as the children’s caretaker – call me the Orangu-nanny!  So I’ll be close!  If you need anything, like product testing, just call.  After all, testing products runs in my family – my cousin is the Samsonite Luggage tester.

Again, thank you ThinkFun!!

Warmest regards,

Clyde

Many thanks, Clyde,  for your years of service to ThinkFun, and best wishes in your new adventures!

Calling all iPad Junkies… Universal Rush Hour App Now Available!

Press Release: April 9, 2010

Renowned game and puzzle manufacturer, ThinkFun Inc., is proud to announce the release of Rush Hour for the new Apple iPad.  Rush Hour for iPad is the latest addition to the suite of Rush Hour apps available across a wide range of mobile platforms.  The new iPad app is designed to take advantage of iPad’s larger screen and Multi-Touch user interface to enhance the play experience.  The universal app costs $2.99 while existing Rush Hour for iPhone and iPod touch customers will receive free upgrades.

iPadScreenShot 300x225 Calling all iPad Junkies... Universal Rush Hour App Now Available!

Rush Hour on the iPad

“It’s fitting for Rush Hour to be one of the first apps launched on the iPad,” said Bill Ritchie, CEO and Co-Founder of ThinkFun.  “Rush Hour is the original sliding block logic puzzle, and it is the granddaddy of all the ‘beginner to expert’ logic puzzles now on the market.  The iPad is a genuine game changer, and we are thrilled to again be at the beginning of a new era in game playing.”

The Rush Hour iPhone App has received rave customer reviews on iTunes for its clever challenges and intuitive navigation.   ThinkFun has completely rebuilt the game graphics to take advantage of the iPad’s innovative Multi-Touch interface and large screen.

Rush Hour for iPad is packed with features, such as:

  • The free app has 35 original challenges.  The full version has 2500 challenges ranging from EASY to EXPERT
  • Will entertain novice players and test advanced players with super-hard expert levels.
  • Perfect Score — Rush Hour tracks the spaces moved to get out of traffic jams and compares it to the shortest path possible. You win when you get the Red Car out… but you can’t claim mastery until you hit a perfect score.
  • Hint Button — If you feel a little lost and want a nudge in the right direction, the HINT button is ready for you to press as often as you like.
  • Solve Button — No matter where they are in a challenge, the solve button shows players how to solve it, then puts them back where they left off so players can learn and complete the challenge themselves.
  • Multi-language — In addition to English, Rush Hour is available in German, Spanish and French. Viva Rush Hour!

“Rush Hour was late to the mobile app market, and we knew we needed to do something special to make an impact,” said Ritchie.  The company contracted with a master programmer to reimagine how to generate the puzzle challenges, developing a system that can create and sort tens of thousands of new Rush Hour challenges!  “Bringing that program up to speed was like discovering a gold mine; it brought a whole new dimension of play to what was already the world’s most fun puzzle!”

So is having Rush Hour available at the launch of the iPad a pinnacle of success for this venerable puzzle game?  “Not at all,” says Liz Deakin, ThinkFun’s Director of Marketing and Sales.  “We are now working on a Multi-Player version of Rush Hour, slated for release this summer, where players compete for fastest times over the internet.  We are developing an online version of Rush Hour to help teach thinking skills as part of a disciplined program for families and schools.  For us, the Apple iPad release doesn’t represent an end, it’s more like a new beginning.  We are very excited!”

For more information on the ThinkFun Rush Hour iPad app, please visit: http://www.ThinkFun.com/RushHour

The Next Billy Mays…

ThinkFun co-founders Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello may be moving into the infomercial-making industry!  Check out this silly ad they created over the weekend!

*Note:  This “infomercial” was created entirely in fun, certainly not the type of hard-sell marketing approach we take with our products!  Sorry, but you won’t see Bill on QVC any time soon icon smile The Next Billy Mays...

All that’s missing is a Snuggie!

Zingo! To Go is on the move!  The Zoomer car recently braved the crowds at the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC… and traveled into the desert!  See more adventures on this new Facebook Page.. and share your own photos!

What a Great Gathering!

This past weekend I made my bi-annual trek to the Gathering for Gardner, a four day celebration of recreational intellectualism held in honor of Martin Gardner, who was for many years the Mathematical Games columnist for Scientific American.  Martin is a hero to generations of mathematicians, magicians, metagrobologists (puzzle lovers), skeptics, Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum scholars, and assorted polymaths, this conference is a true “gathering of the clans”.  And yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.

Martin Gardner (still going strong at age 95) was a hero to my father; I have vivid childhood memories of the yellow jacketed Mathematical Carnival, Mathematical Circus, and Mathematical Magic Show books that he kept on his bookshelf.  One of my grand ambitions when we started Binary Arts/ThinkFun in 1985 was to someday meet Martin… and one of my proudest achievements has been that we developed Visual Brainstorms 2 with him.  I have visited Martin several times and we are friends… wow!

Making this experience video was a lot of fun, thanks to all who were included.  And, to read more about the G4G9 experience, read the blog post from our own ThinkFun Puzzle Hunter, Tanya Thompson.

If You Give a CEO a Camera…

bill ritchie 150x150 If You Give a CEO a Camera...

ThinkFun CEO Bill Ritchie in his Super Solver cape!

This is as good a time as any to introduce ThinkFun CEO and co-founder, Bill Ritchie!

Over the last few weeks, Bill has been jetting all over the country, stopping in Berkeley, CA to visit the folks at the Bunge Lab for Cognitive Control and Development who are gearing up for a new study measuring the impact of our Rush Hour Brain Lab program on reasoning skills!

Bill made his way through Seattle to brainstorm with a designer and meet with the programmer who generated over 20,000 new Rush Hour challenges!  Next, he and his wife, ThinkFun co-founder Andrea Barthello, went to LA for the TED Conference… Here he purchased a Flip video camera, and the rest is history!  Bill and his new gadget made the rounds at TED, then came to NY Toy Fair to document the events and people with whom he met!

This one minute video of Bill’s whirlwind tour gives a great sense of the incredible people with whom he and ThinkFun have connected.  Enjoy!