Tag Archives: mobile app

A Love of Game Play Runs in the Family…

I had a very informative email exchange with a customer recently who shared great insight on what he looks for in a game and the ways he sees his daughter’s thinking skills improving through play.  It’s clear Marcel has passed on a love of brain games to his little girl, and I’m pleased to share this post in hopes it inspires others to be more mindful about the games and toys we provide our little learners!

 

Hi Charlotte,

I often check your blog, and I really enjoy what you describe there. My 5 year old daughter likes to play several of the ThinkFun games!

Shape 5941 HiResSpill 150x150 A Love of Game Play Runs in the Family…

The big secret for us is variety. We have several ThinkFun games (for both my daughter and myself, as I like logic games a lot), but also lots of games from other companies Also, we have different tangram games (we have Shape by Shape and the egg-shape tangram from ThinkFun), and my daughter likes to play that as well.

Another thing that I personally find important is to only buy good games and toys for her. In Seattle, we have a store called Math-n-Stuff that sells lots of educational toys. When we need a new toy, I’d rather spend a little bit more money to get a toy that helps my daughter instead of some toy that she gets bored with after a day. Also, I spend quite a lot of time reading various blogs (including yours) to find out about good educational games.

What I really like about most of these games is how they start simple and slowly add more complexity. Initially, my daughter gets very excited when she can easily do it and gains confidence. But slowly things get harder, and she needs to start thinking how to solve the problems. Slowly, with some help from us, she is making progress with most of the games. However, after she has played the game for a while, she starts to really understand how it works, and is than able to finish the hardest levels in most of the games.

It normally takes her about 3-4 months to get there, but when she gets it, we can take out the game at any time, pick any level, and she is able to do it without any help from us. This is the part I really like about these games – that they gradually help the kids in doing more and more difficult problems, and when they get it, they can actually do most of the puzzles.

ipad chocolatefix 300x270 A Love of Game Play Runs in the Family…

Chocolate Fix for iPad

Another thing I just noticed is that you released Chocolate Fix for the iPad. Chocolate Fix is too hard for my daughter (5 years is a little bit young for that), but I enjoy the game myself. It is a great game to play.

One thing I like about the ThinkFun iPad games is that they allow you to undo your steps. For instance, I was playing Solitaire Chess (I have both the iPad and the board game), and I like the iPad version as it allows me to undo the last few steps. With the board version, it is much harder to remember what the last steps were, and often I have to start from the beginning as I forgot what my last few steps were. So definitely keep doing the iPad games!

Last but not least, please keep writing your blog. I think it is very informative, and I always get a big smile on my face when I read how the ThinkFun games make kids excited about logic and math concepts. When these concepts are presented in the normal way (i.e. drilling), kids tend to get bored very quickly, but when you add the game concept to it, they suddenly get super-excited and are learning lots of skills without even realizing it.

Take care, Marcel

 

What qualities do YOU look for when choosing games for your kids – or for yourself?!

Get your Chocolate Fix to go!

At long last – I’m THRILLED to see my all-time favorite game available as an app! After months of fine-tuning, we’re finally ready to share our Chocolate Fix app with the world!

ipad chocolatefix 300x270 Get your Chocolate Fix to go!There’s a free version with 30 puzzles to spark your appetite, and the full version features 400 ALL NEW puzzles which – if you’re anything like me – will keep you completely immersed for hours at a time!  This is coming with me on my flight out to the TEDActive Conference next week icon smile Get your Chocolate Fix to go!

Here’s the press release announcing this exciting launch – I hope you’ll give the app a try and let me know what you think!  Please share any comments or feedback below.

ThinkFun’s Chocolate Fix App Available Now on iTunes
Serious Brain Candy that’s Addictively Fun to Play

ThinkFun® Inc., the leading developer of addictively fun brain games that stretch and sharpen your mind, is pleased to announce that its award-winning Chocolate Fix game is now available in the Apple App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The Chocolate Fix app expands on the innovative board game of the same name, offering 400 new challenges and four levels of play from Easy to Expert. A charming and clever logic game set in a Chocolate Shop, Chocolate Fix is a fun and satisfying way for players of all ages to sharpen their logical deduction skills.
CFscreenshot1 200x300 Get your Chocolate Fix to go!
* Quick to Learn *

Similar to Sudoku, Chocolate Fix requires you to examine and combine clues carefully to unlock the solution and move on to the next challenge. Players must use the clues provided, including shapes, colors, and orientation, to get each chocolate in the correct place in the chocolate box. Every perfect solution moves the player forward to the next challenge.

* A Sweet Deductive Reasoning Game – Great for All Ages! *

Don’t be fooled by the colorful candy graphics – this seemingly sweet puzzle can become diabolically tricky! Challenges range from Easy to Expert, so players of all ages and abilities – kids to adults – begin at an appropriate level and build confidence as they work their way up.

* A New Way to Play at Home and On-The-Go *

“For years, Chocolate Fix fans have come to us requesting ‘more please!’” said Bill Ritchie, co-founder and CEO of ThinkFun. “With this new app, we’re thrilled to expand the Chocolate Fix play experience. For those who love the feel of hands-on play, the 400 new challenges can be played with the board game. For those looking for a brain workout on the go, it’s all there on your mobile device!”

Chocolate Fix joins ThinkFun’s current line of successful mobile apps – including their classic app Rush Hour and last year’s Solitaire Chess. Each of these apps is designed to push your brain in different ways and continually sharpen your thinking.

CFscreenshot4 200x300 Get your Chocolate Fix to go!

400 Challenges from Easy to Expert!

* Availability *

Chocolate Fix is available in a free version, with 30 challenges, from Easy to Expert. The full Chocolate Fix app contains 400 challenges from Easy to Expert and is available for $2.99 from the App Store. The app can be downloaded by clicking here or going to http://www.itunes.com/appstore.

The Chocolate Fix board game is currently available from major retailers for $19.99.

About ThinkFun

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. It continues to expand on that dream every day with games, mobile apps and global education programs. To learn more about ThinkFun, go to http://www.thinkfun.com.

ThinkFun, the ThinkFun logo, and Chocolate Fix are trademarks or registered trademarks of ThinkFun Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2012 ThinkFun, Inc. All rights reserved.

Need a Brain Snack? Try the Solitaire Chess App!

My name is Charlotte, and I am a Solitaire Chess addict.

I never touched a chess board growing up, and as an adult I felt I’d ever have a shot at learning the game. When ThinkFun first developed the Solitaire Chess game last year, I nervously waited to be found out as a non-chess player and was sure the game wouldn’t be for me.  How wrong I was.

SolChess 3400 HiResSpill 300x300 Need a Brain Snack? Try the Solitaire Chess App!

Solitaire Chess by ThinkFun

The beauty of Solitaire Chess is that it teaches even the most chess-phobic newbie the basic movement rules of classic chess, easing you into game play with early challenges that reinforce chess rules.  Since it’s a single-player challenge in which you eliminate pieces with capture moves, you play at your own pace and learn as you go… no pressure.

Solitaire Chess was a nice addition to my life, and I was happy to pick up a challenge or two and play during downtime… then everything changed.  In January, we released the Solitaire Chess app featuring 400 BRAND NEW challenges, and I was hooked.

Solitaire Chess ipad 300x167 Need a Brain Snack? Try the Solitaire Chess App!

In March I spent an entire red eye flight home Palm Springs working my way through the 100 “mediums.”  I deplaned victorious (albeit EXTREMELY red-eyed!), and while I’ve not spent another multi-hour stretch of time playing, almost daily I find myself opening the app for a quick brain snack, completing a challenge or 2 at a time.  A quick puzzle is a great way to polish up by brain while standing in line, on the subway, or just giving my eyeballs a break from the computer.  I feel sharper, and the sweet victory music is a nice confidence boost icon smile Need a Brain Snack? Try the Solitaire Chess App!

Just last week, ThinkFun released Solitaire Chess for Android – I’m thrilled that having this game on both iOS and Droid opens up the play experience for loads more eager players!

Interestingly, in our outreach to the chess community, we’ve connected with the folks at the US Chess Federation who found the more advanced puzzles incredibly challenging!  Feeling that I could train myself to take on puzzles that top-level chess masters are struggling with is pretty empowering… although I may need another cross-county flight to bust through the Expert level!

An App a Day Lets a Child’s Brain Play!

This summer has seen the birth of the iPad, and an explosion of fantastic new apps for iPhone and Android platforms.  While these apps helps grownups pass time waiting in line or keep us entertained on our subway commute, many parents and teachers are finding innovative ways to use mobile apps as learning tools!

The Love2learn2day blog on math education recently featured Rush Hour in a series on educational apps which got me thinking more and more about the ways in which apps can capture learner’s enthusiasm and help teach critical thinking skills, whether more general strategic thinking or more focused math/language practice.

Marvin Hall iPad 300x200 An App a Day Lets a Child’s Brain Play!

A young puzzler in Jamaica plays Rush Hour on the iPad!

The very next day I heard from my friend Marvin Hall in Jamaica – turns out his Puzzle Yuh Brain summer program now has students playing Rush Hour on game boards and on iPads side-by-side, very cool!

Have you used mobile apps as learning tools for your children or students?  What apps have you used, and what learning benefits do you see in them?  Please share your comments here!

Daddy Needs His iTouch back…

The following review is from a post by Damon Caporaso, dad of 3 and part owner of BSCkids and BSCreview, websites that provide a safe space filled with fun and engaging content for kids!

Rush Hour for the iPhone – iTouch – iPad – Review

I was just introduced to the fact that ThinkFun has a Rush Hour app for the iPhone/Touch/Pad family.  Now as you know we love Thinkfun games, well because they are fun and make you think, big surprise that a company name actually makes perfect marketing sense.  Well before I went to the Toy Fair this year I already knew a bit about ThinkFun as my one son got Rush Hour Jr. for Christmas.

He played for days and days then, and now he has already moved on to hoggin my iTouch from me to complete just another challenge in the Rush Hour app.  I really do not mind though as this really does help problem solving and it works great for a trip in the car.  I know if my wife has to run into the grocery store and I am staying in the car with the kids because she says it will be quick, this application is a life saver.  Quick is always such a relative term when it comes to shopping and this application can weather the storm of 15 minutes or more to get “a few things.”

What I really found nice was the fact that they included so many puzzles in the pay version of the application.  I believe it clocks in at 2500 challenges and just because you have gotten the red car out of the traffic jam does not mean that you have completed the game with with a “perfect score.”  That “perfect score” feature is very nice as it allows for even more replay ability and a greater sense of accomplishment.  You may not want your kids playing games that are mindless, but that is not what Thinkfun is about, you can feel very comfortable allowing your kids to have some play time with this application.  They will come away learning some good problem solving skills among other things.

iPadScreenShot 300x225 Daddy Needs His iTouch back...

Rush Hour iPad app in living color!

We have attached a screenshot for the iPad, and it looks stunning. Not to say that the iTouch/iPhone version is any slouch either as it looks great as well.  Download the app, you will not be disappointed.  My only complaint is that I get a lot less time on my own iTouch because of it, and that little kid fingers are not always the cleanest things in the house!

Playing in Traffic!

The following guest post is by Kim Vandenbroucke, a game inventor and developer, brainstorming facilitator and writer.  On her website, TheGameAisle.com, she not only reviews games but also highlights the inventors tinkering behind the curtain who come up with the amazing products.  She is also the new spokesgamer for Games for Fundraising and a writer for Games for Educators!

Recently I was on the ThinkFun website and saw the big ad for the iPad and iPhone Rush Hour apps saying “Now even more ways to play in traffic!” This made me chuckle.  Why? Because I live in Chicago where, despite a state-wide ban, 80% of drivers are texting, emailing, or talking on their cell phones while driving… so really we don’t need more ways to “play in traffic!”

iPadScreenShot 300x225 Playing in Traffic!

Rush Hour iPad app in living color!

But you know who could use an app like that….our car mates!  Yes, the husbands, co-workers, and friends who play backseat driver and insist they know a “better way” out of the gridlock by taking some crazy side street that has potholes large enough to swallow small children and Smart cars.

And youngsters aren’t much better.  Teens complain, kids get antsy; the longer the car ride is, the less pleasant it gets.  But I have a solution.  Fork over your iPhones.  Yes, that’s right, hand them over (since you shouldn’t be using them anyway!).

child w iphone1 300x227 Playing in Traffic!

Happy child, happy driver!

This could be a win-win for all drivers and passengers.  Drivers get to listen to the music, talk radio or audio book they want without hearing how long the ride is or how the lane next to them is moving faster.  And while the drivers are focusing on the road, the passengers get to work their own magic and move the little red car from the impossible cluster of cars in the Rush Hour app.  And who knows, maybe the gridlock everyone is experiencing could bring us closer together.

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