What a Difference a Year Makes! Ed Games Expo 2016

There are very few events that I would have left town for the week of our STEAM release, but having attended in 2015, I knew the Ed Games Expo warranted being one of the exceptions. So here I am flying back home after 36 hours in DC that saw me get in Tuesday night, a 15-hour day on Wednesday and then off the to airport at dawn this morning. But it was worth it.

The annual event highlighted over 50 educational games created under SBIR awards from agencies including ED/IES, NIH, NSF and, of course, the amazing USDA. I demoed three of our games: Fish Lake, Making Camp and the alpha version of AzTech. Plus, I gave some people who stopped by – including our wonderful visitors from USDA – a first look at Crossroads, which we’ve been hard at work on, on top of Fish Lake’s overhaul. (Yes, we’ve been really busy!) The event is kid-friendly, so I got to do one of my favorite things as CEO, which is watch kids play our games. I got to meet some really amazing, smart people making really cool games across all subject who, like us, are working to make education better with great games (more on that in my next blog).

The always well-dressed Elden Hawkes of USDA checking out AzTech.

The always well-dressed Elden Hawkes of USDA checking out AzTech.

It also was a good chance to reflect – because that’s what you do at the end of the year and all – and see how far we’ve come in the year since I last participated. At the event a year ago, I had the original Fish Lake demo, which was good, but now it’s great. When people asked, “Do you have an iPad app?” we didn’t. Now we have Making Camp (which you can download from the App Store). I remember giving some folks a first look at AzTech, which wasn’t even a game, but just a HTML couple pages that I was able to pull from the repository to show and while the English/Spanish button worked, the drag and drop didn’t. Now AzTech is a multi-level alpha stage game with 2D and 3D elements that was just awarded a two-year Phase II award. As we’ve said before, you can get caught up in how far there still have to go as a company that it’s easy to forget how much progress we’re making.

I can’t wait to see how much progress we’ve made when the event rolls around next year!

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