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I can finally say it: we are live!

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It has been a long way coming — a tremendous amount of work, love, and funding have gone into this project. I didn’t know back in 2009 when I met Pat Levitt that this game would become so important to my life and to the (now) thousands of people who have played.

Many of you are wondering how this game was born. It started with Pat Levitt dropping off a handful of booklets and working papers from the Center on Developing Child at Harvard University and a very late night of reading and brainstorming. After a leap of faith by Harvard and some seed funding, we went through a lot of versions and materials to get the physics of the construction just right and to establish a game system that made sense.

Somewhere amidst revisions and presentations, Judy Cameron took another leap of faith and we conducted our first playtest in a workshop she led. For several years Judy used the game and we made revisions as needed.

Below are some of the materials we tried.

It was obvious in playtests that the game was helping to communicate basic concepts of the science of early childhood and that people were having fun doing it. The Palix Foundation was generous to adopt and promote the game in their education efforts and outreach.

Many people were critical to the success of this game starting with Judy Cameron, Al Race and Susan Bales. Our institutional partnership has been complicated to figure out, but our working collaboration has been extraordinary.

I would like to take a moment to thank all the members of the original team below, as well as the extended team.

Our team has grown a lot and I have met many people along the way who care about making this project a success. The science behind this game has personally transformed the way that I teach, as well as the way that I live my life and understand the lives of others.

IMAG0232

Pat Levitt (center back), Maryalice Jordan-Marsh (back left) and our class from SOWK 799: Interactive Media and Informatics for Neurobiological and Behavioral Research and Translational Science


 

I would like to thank the Palix Foundation and the tireless Marisa Etmanski, Evans Hunt and Julie Sweetland for jumping in the cold water with us to make this happen, for pushing me and my team to do better, and for really caring about what we are trying to promote. Lastly, I have to thank many people in my school and division who gave advice, inspiration and/or support, including Tracy Fullerton, Elizabeth Swensen, and Sean Bouchard, whose FutureBound games inspired me, and Jesse Vigil.

We still have a long way to go. The online version is only the first step to getting the game into the hands of people who want it and need it, scientists, policymakers, teachers, health professionals, and so many more who could benefit from using the game in workshops and conferences. We hope that this version can serve some urgent needs. We will continue to refine the game.

The next big thing is a packaged set, likely in the form of 3-packs, which can help people who are running larger sessions. Our survey of subscribers showed that up to half of potential users may be ok with the DIY version. For the other half, we’re working with a game manufacturer and distributor to develop a solution for volume purchasing. Stay tuned.

In addition, we will be reviewing some of our recently collected evaluation data and devising a replicable and scalable evaluation for all potential users so that you can measure the entertainment efficacy, perceived value, attitudes on resilience, overall usability, and other factors that may influence the effectiveness of the game.

Above all, this operation must become sustainable. We’re not making this for profit, but we have to be able to cover all expenses needed to maintain this game and what is needed to update it. All game revenue is to be reinvested into what is needed to keep the game going.

I look forward to hearing from you. I very much appreciate your patience, as well as the bravery it takes to walk into a room of grownups with a bunch of pipe cleaners and straws and say “trust me” 🙂

Sincerely,

Marientina Gotsis, MFA
Executive Producer
The Brain Architecture Game

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