Any Job is Easy if You Don’t Have to Do It

My mom used to say that any job was easy if you didn’t have to do it yourself. Mom was right, too. Just look at the number of people who have never stood in front of a class in their life but think teaching is easy.

“If this whole doing a start-up thing doesn’t work out, I can always teach. After all, I have a degree in (name random field here)”

Don’t all of you teachers reading this start feeling self-righteous quite yet. We get a lot of suggestions from teachers, whose input we greatly value, and they sometimes wonder out loud why we haven’t implemented their brilliant suggestion yet.

Let me give one example – in the first level of Forgotten Trail, we have three questions about the journey you are about to embark upon:

  • How far did your Uncle Don, who tried to walk the Forgotten Trail when he was young, make it in the first 8 days?
  • How many miles did he average per day?
  • What fraction of the total did he walk the first day?

It was suggested that rather than having a single page of study resources if they missed any of the problems, we should have three different pages. Great idea!

That meant that we needed to create six more learning resources, so we could have three for each problem. Each of those resources requires art, sound, programming, math problems, hints for the math problems, re-direction to another option if you get the problem right. Let me give you one example.

barnyard scene


Wouldn’t you rather play a short game than take a quiz?

Of course you would!


Click here if you would like to see our “quiz” on finding the mean.¬†

Or, you can keep reading.

Instead of a 5 question quiz, you meet Brinley, who lives on a farm and wants a cat. Her mom says she can get a cat if the cost is less than $15 but the farmer is selling “three for $36”. You find the average cost and Brinley gets her cat. The problems get progressively more difficult as Brinley gets a dish for her cat, some ducks, etc.

This single quiz activity took 24 hours when you add up time for the artist to make the background, cat, ducks, etc. , someone to record the voices, writing the math problems, the code to score the math problems, writing the hints for the math problems, making the page where a player is sent who misses the same problem twice.

Multiply that by 6 and you get 144 hours just to meet that one suggestion.

The plot thickens, though …

I’m one of the people doing the programming and voices and my time is also split meeting with schools, meeting with investors, writing grants, analyzing data on games’ effectiveness, writing articles for academic journals that our funders want to see published, etc. etc.

We do have two other full-time software developers, another part-time but we also have more than that one suggestion.

My point, which you by now have despaired of me having, is that suggestions from teachers, students, parents and players in the general public, ARE taken seriously by us but they also take time.

And for tomorrow … the ¬†craziest suggestions we have gotten


You can buy Spirit Lake and Fish Lake here for only $9.99 each.

BONUS – If you buy a game this week, we’ll send you a free link to the beta version of Forgotten Trail on Monday. You’ll like it. And now you know why it’s still a beta version

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