AnnMaria Demars Making Learning Games Where You Actually Learn | Episode 311

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After a stint in juvenile hall, AnnMaria ran away from her last foster home at age 15 and, with a fake ID, got a job and an apartment. By age 19 she had her bachelor’s degree, an MBA at 21. She was the first American to win a world judo championship, then retired from competition to earn her Ph.D., became a professor, and quit the university to start her first business after the death of her husband. She has founded four companies, raised four children, been one of Forbes 40 Women to Watch over 40, a Next Gen Leader of the International Game Developers Association Foundation and AARP Purpose Prize Winner. She and her daughter, Ronda Rousey, are the only mother-daughter combination in the International Sports Hall of Fame.


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Full episode automated transcription

Rob: Hey, this is Professor Game, where we interview successful practitioners of games, gamification, and game thinking who bring us the best of their experiences to get ideas, insights, and inspiration that help us in the process of getting our students to learn what we teach. And I am Rob Alvarez. I’m the founder of Professor Game and professor of gamification and games based solutions at Ie Business School, EFMD EBS University, and many other places around the world. And if this content is for you, then please go ahead and subscribe to our email list for slash subscribe. Hey.
Rob: Engagers. And welcome back to another episode of the Professor Game Podcast. And we have today with us Anne Maria. But, Anne Maria, we need to know before we formally start, are you prepared to engage?
AnnMaria: I am very prepared.
Rob: So welcome, Anne Maria. Welcome to this Professor Game podcast, and we have you here because let me quickly go through your intro. And after she had a stint in juvenile hall, AnnMaria ran away from her last foster home at age 15 and with a fake ID, got a job and an apartment. By 19, she had a bachelor’s degree and MBA. At 21, she was the first American to win a judo championship and then retired from competition to earn her PhD, become a professor, quit the university to start her first business after the death of her husband.
Rob: And she has founded four companies, raised four children, been one of Forbes 40 women to watch over 40, a next gen leader of the International Game Developers Association Foundation and AARP Purpose Prize winner, and she and her daughter, Rhonda Ruth, are the only mother daughter combination in the International Sports Hall of Fame. So, Anne Maria, are we missing anything that we need to make sure that we mention? Because there’s a lot of stuff going on in there and a lot of amazing stuff, for sure.
AnnMaria: I’m president of Seven Generation Games. That’s what I do right now, my day job.
Rob: Yes, and yes, we will definitely touch upon Seven Generation Games. But Anne Maria, we’d like to know a little bit about you and your daily life, so to speak. So can you run us through a regular day? What would that look like? How would that feel to be?
Rob: Anne Maria nowadays, I travel a lot.
AnnMaria: With a computer and an external monitor. So somewhere in the world, you would find me coding a game on one monitor and looking at the results on the other. And so far this year, I have been on a Disney cruise to Cabo San Lucas in Palm Springs. Running Springs, malachi Kauai, the Dominican Republic, minneapolis. Sacramento, San Francisco.
AnnMaria: Some of them multiple times. And I’m sure some places I’ve forgotten. So wherever I am, in an airport lounge, in a hotel, in the barrio, I am probably debugging a game or creating a game or working on a platform to help other people make games easier. And when I’m home in Santa Monica, which is where I live, I am in my office with a very large poodle behind me. We have a startup dog.
Rob: Fantastic. Sounds like a good life.
AnnMaria: It is. I decided to retire and I failed at that twice. And then I decided my retirement would be getting rid of all the things that I don’t like doing and just doing the stuff that I like. So I work a lot making games and making a platform to enable other people to make games, and I’ve been cutting out pretty much everything that isn’t that.
Rob: Wow. Sounds like a dream. Definitely. Especially that part of just doing the stuff that you actually want to do that sounds absolutely fabulous and talking about what you want to do, what you don’t want to do. Usually we don’t like to experience failure, right?
Rob: That’s the thing that our human nature society tells us. Failure is a bad thing. But we also know that we learn a lot from those first attempts in learning or fail moments. Right? So we would like to, especially now, or with your experience in games and creating significant games and game experiences for people, if you have any of those fail moments that you can share with us, especially because we want to take away some of the lessons, what are the things that you did and wouldn’t do?
Rob: Again, that kind of stuff. We want to live the moment with you. And of course, take away some of those interesting, let’s call them takeaways.
AnnMaria: I think everybody has a good number of failures. Every ten years or five years, I look back at stuff I did and think, god, what a moron. And there’s times when I’m editing code from a game that was done years ago and thinking, who wrote this crap? Please God, don’t let it be me. Sometimes it was one that really jumps to mind.
AnnMaria: We make educational games that are used in schools, and when we started ten years ago, we thought that what was really going to be successful was games that were in virtual world. Something that kind of mimicked what kids play on their computer, on their Xbox. So we started developing for computers, for Windows, for Mac, because something installed on the device could be a much bigger, more realistic virtual world. And now, at least in the US, the vast majority of schools have gone to Chromebooks with a smaller proportion going to iPad. So we really didn’t understand at the time the market that what teachers want is something that they can click on and their students can use right now.
AnnMaria: What they don’t want is something that needs to be installed on a device. So we had to completely change our idea of what kind of game we could make that kids would use in schools, because it had to fit with what schools could pay, which was definitely not the $50 per person per game that you’re paying for Assassin’s Creed or something. So we had to change from developing for Windows and Mac to developing for the Web. We had to change from things that were going to be installed on a device to things that were going to be played online. And that brought in a whole bunch of other constraints.
AnnMaria: Like you couldn’t have these huge super cool videos because things don’t autoplay and you’d have to load doing that. We learned a lot in making the games about design of what kids would play and what they wouldn’t and when they quit. So we were able to get a lot of data and monitor when kids quit playing an educational game. We were able to go and observe kids and find out what they liked and what they didn’t. So we learned a lot from doing it, but it made me sad because some of those games were really fun and cool, but they’re just not fitting the hardware that kids have available to them.
Rob: So what would you like given this experience? Because technology changes and this is a fact that you’re super familiar, probably more than most at this point. But is there something that you would do differently? Would you have a different approach to some of these things? Or how would you do it if you had to do it over again?
AnnMaria: Well, what we’re doing right now is taking off from that. From those original games, we were able to take a lot of the design and some of the math problems and some of the little minigames that were in there. Now when I design a game, I try to make it more device agnostic as much as possible. I try to make things that could be used on any device. But I think in a little bit I’m going to contradict that.
AnnMaria: But I think going forward I try to make things that aren’t limited to a specific operating system.
Rob: Okay, that makes sense. Amazing. That sounds like a good one. And I’ve worked as well with some people who used to develop and probably a lot further than in my opinion it could have been with Flash, right? At the time I was studying at the university.
Rob: That was back and I started in 2003. So let’s say even 2007 or so, they’re already saying like, no, you shouldn’t do this stuff in Flash, right? And many, many years later when I started working in this place, I saw that they were starting to develop new things in Flash. I was like, no, this is going down. This is going to disappear anytime.
Rob: What are you doing? So it’s a good lesson to take into consideration that sometimes you need to look for stuff and as times change, also this interoperability or these capabilities are more and more possible and oftentimes desirable. And as you mentioned, you’re going to contradict this. I’m sure you have very good reasons and arguments for that. So let’s actually shift into another story, a story of success, one of those things that you’re a proud moment.
Rob: We want to be there with you as well on that success, and especially some of the key things that you might say. Well, these are some of the things that we think brought us this level of success at this initiative.
AnnMaria: Well, we have one game that we have hundreds of thousands of students using in school. And here’s a very funny story about this. It was not initial idea that came out about making a game. I was stuck in a blizzard in the middle of North Dakota. I don’t know how familiar you are with the US.
AnnMaria: But I’m on an American Indian reservation. Alcohol is illegal on this reservation. I’m in a hotel. I have nothing to do. And the next day I have to go to a school and meet with children and talk about math and educational games.
AnnMaria: And I was thinking when I was a little kid, I always wanted a dog. And we couldn’t have one because my father was in the military and we couldn’t have one on the base. So I made this little game that you answer a math question. You get a dog and you get to name it. And then the next question you answer, you get to give your dog a bone.
AnnMaria: So you’re earning points. And the points you spend, you buy things for your dog. The kids liked it. I figured that’s going to be the end of that. Maria, my co founder, got invited to an event that Google was hosting, and they were going to pay our expenses and put us in front of a bunch of potential clients.
AnnMaria: But the catch was we had to have something that ran on an Android device. And she said, can we make one of our games, spirit Lake or Fish Lake, to run on Android, switching them from windows in this amount of time? And I said, there’s no way in hell that could happen. But I said I had this little dog game and we could put some other things around it where you answer math problems and you get points, and we could make something where you could spend your points, like in a store, and that could be done. And so that game became Making Camp, which is now Making Camp ojibwe.
AnnMaria: And we have a whole series and hundreds of thousands of kids play it. And it just came because I was bored and wanted something to do. And I was thinking about when I was a kid, what would I have liked to have had? So that’s where that all came about. And it got featured, I think, in Android Developers Conference this year.
AnnMaria: Earlier, there’s a video you can find online with a couple of million views of people looking at Making Camp.
Rob: And what we did that’s, when you think of inspiration, can come from anywhere, right? And there was actually a conference a few years ago. I think this was the first Gamification in Europe that was organized, which was in Brighton, in the UK. I remember. I think it was there that Marigo, one of the researchers in the field, was saying that in Gamification we look at people like yourself who make games and we draw inspiration from what you guys are doing to see how we can perhaps build some stuff that is engaging, just like games.
Rob: Right? And she started researching and saying, well, yeah, but where do games find the inspiration? It’s like anywhere. But the phrase she used stuck with me. And she said, games find inspiration from daily real life.
Rob: And you were talking about children wanting to have a dog and this kind of thing, and that’s daily just normal life things that people are saying, well, that’s too normal, that’s too regular. Yeah, but depending on how you spin it around, it can also be something exciting and interesting and turn into an interesting game. Is that right?
AnnMaria: I get a lot of inspiration from theme parks. I was at Disneyland three times in the last month. Like I said, I did a Disney cruise earlier this year. I’ve been to Universal Studios this year because they’re all about building an experience. And if you ever read Jesse Shell’s book, The Art of Game Design, and he talks about juice, just those extra little things.
AnnMaria: If you’re at Disneyland or Universal Studios and you look up two stories up, they have flowers in the windows, they have all these little touches without you even necessarily recognizing it. Make a game cooler and more fun. I totally agree with that. You get inspiration from everywhere.
Rob: And you mentioned Disney, and this might be of your sort of individual interest in that sense. We had Brian Collins, who’s a former Imagineer from Disney, and we have an interview with him discussing some of the things that they did. So that’s episode 140, if you’re interested or engagers, if you’re interested, it’s definitely going to be there, available in case you want to look into that as well. That’s a reference that we could have as well.
AnnMaria: I will definitely anyways.
Rob: And Maria, when you’re setting up to create a game with a purpose, educational or whatnot, whatever you decide to do, do you have, I don’t know, process series of like how do you approach your whether it’s formal process, mental process, how do you come up with these things? Of course, besides from radical inspiration, like the one from the dog inspiration that you had?
AnnMaria: Funny enough, we do a lot of games for clients, right? So somebody will come to us and say, I want a game made to teach the history of the lakota, or I want a game made to teach how to divide fractions. So someone will come to us and they have a specific objective they want, but then they often don’t give us any more guidance than that. So we start with, this is what we want to teach. And then my co founder and I, Maria Is, she’s an award winning author.
AnnMaria: She co authored a book that was a New York Times bestseller. So she’ll often come up with some kind of storyline and we’ll get a general idea. For example, we did meet the Maya. One of the issues we identified is kids in the United States. We have probably the largest Spanish speaking population outside of Mexico.
AnnMaria: So we have a lot of kids who are going to school who don’t speak English very well, but they need to learn math. So we come up with this idea. Let’s make a game that teaches math, but we’ll make it so they can click on a button and it will change all the text in the game to Spanish. And it’ll also change the audio to Spanish because a lot of kids don’t read Spanish, right? They speak Spanish, but they don’t read Spanish.
AnnMaria: They don’t read English very well. So we need to have the voiceover in Spanish. So we’ll come up with, here’s the objective now, where’s the story? And then the big thing we try to do is look at who the kids are are going to be using this and put ourselves in their shoes. What would make them interested?
AnnMaria: I try to envision a kid, and I taught middle school for a while, so I try to envision a child who would be playing this. So, for example, with Forgotten Trail, which is set in the Great Plains, there’s a lot of kids in little towns who nobody expects anything of them. They’re just ordinary. They’re expected to barely graduate high school and get a job on the farm or as a cashier at the store. And maybe they’d like to do more than that.
AnnMaria: So forgotten trail. I started with that. And if you were that child, what could you do? You could learn that your family, your ancestors did this. The Forgotten Trail, or jibway migration where they walked from basically Canada to the middle of the United States.
AnnMaria: And then start with following that up. Or with Meet the Maya and the Aztec games. You could start with you’re Latino, you’re in the United States, but at one point where you are now was part of Mexico and you have this huge history. And start with that. So I started with what might spark an interest in that child, whether it’s that child in the upper Midwest, whether it’s that child in the schools in Southern California.
AnnMaria: And then we go from there. And once we have the general idea, then we bring in experts, because I am not an expert in history, right? So we bring in experts that can fill in the historical part of it, if it’s historical. When we did meet the Maya, we actually flew down to Belize on the Guatemala border and we went to the mayan pyramids with a guide who was Maya and learned about the history. We took pictures of the jungle and gave those to our artists.
AnnMaria: So we try to make everything as historically, geographically accurate as we possibly can because we know that a lot of these kids live in communities that are very poor either because they don’t have any money or they’re in a very remote area. And whatever they’re learning about the Maya from us will be all they know, so we’re making sure it’s right. Whatever they’re learning about the Ojibwe migration from us, that’s what they know. So we make sure it’s right. I don’t know if that’s more than you wanted to know.
Rob: It’s actually great to hear all of this. Those are the kind of sort of juicy details that sometimes some people are not going to give away, so to speak, in an interview, but that are definitely well priced by people who are listening and say, oh, that’s. The kind of going into the depth of things that sometimes can make the interview a lot more interesting. And that every now and then we get somebody I want to say generously get into the weeds and say, well, this happened and this specific thing. And here is an example of how we do this and that.
Rob: So it really helps clarify oftentimes with examples what are we talking about? Because our audience can be somebody who’s been doing this for some time or it could be somebody who’s listening in for the first time and is figuring out what this whole educational games can be, or gamification and education or for any other purpose as well. So it definitely is something that we are looking for. And thank you for giving us actually that level of detail on Maria and talking about all the experience that you’ve had. I’m sure that you’ve run into plenty of these, but is there one best practice or something that you would say, well, if you’re going to go for an educational game, do at least this thing and it’ll be again, at least better than it would have been if you didn’t do it again, a best practice?
Rob: No silver bullet.
AnnMaria: Absolutely test early and often with actual kids. If you’re developing a game for nine year olds, you don’t remember what it was like to be nine. I don’t care if you think you do. I can’t tell you the number of times I have told other developers in our company that game is too hard and they’re, oh Emma, you just weren’t a gamer, you’re old or you’re this. And we require people who work for us to go into a school and watch children play the game that they developed and we require that early on.
AnnMaria: One of my favorite stories is when we were up in North Dakota on the Canadian border and at a reservation school and this little girl was in the fourth or fifth grade, came up to one of our developers who was there with me, and she says, did you make this game? And he said yes. A proud of Zephyr. And she starts poking him in the chest. What made you think this game was fun?
AnnMaria: This game was the opposite of fun. I died ten times trying to get through those snakes. And I said to him, See, I told you there are too damn many snakes in that part of the game. I told you. But he wouldn’t listen to me because he’s very into gaming.
AnnMaria: So he figures, oh, it’s not that hard, or you don’t remember what it was like to be nine. So that is my big thing. Take it to kids and have them play it as adults, I would say generally we’re not very good at identifying what kids will find interesting, what they will find boring, what they will find too hard. So test early and often. Watch kids play your game, listen to what they say.
Rob: And the key is not only doing the play testing, but as you’re saying, actually doing the observation and doing it as early as possible. So I love that recommendation and talking about recommendations, and after having the vibe of the podcast and all these questions and knowing what we discuss, is there anybody that you would say, oh, I would also like to listen to this person speaking about these topics on professor games. Sort of a featured guest, some name that comes up.
AnnMaria: If you haven’t had Jesse Schell that wrote The Art of Game Design, I absolutely have him. He’s talked to him a couple of times at conferences. Seems very nice, man. Somebody I haven’t met. But Scott Rogers, who wrote Level Up the guy to great video game design, I think would be another interesting one.
Rob: Scott Rogers, I haven’t heard of him. Maybe I have. It’s maybe just my memory playing tricks. But Jesse Shell is actually episode 102. Yes, Jesse Shell.
AnnMaria: Now I have stuff to do. The next time I’m stuck in an airport and waiting for my flight, I have new podcasts to listen to.
Rob: You can definitely have it there. Of course, with an app, whatever app you’re using, you can download the episode and even listen to that on the plane. So there you go. Absolutely.
AnnMaria: I’m always complaining about how bad in flight WiFi is, and I know that is the firstiest of first world problems.
Rob: Yeah, but again, the good thing is that there’s many things that now are downloadable and you can just listen to them or view them on the airplane after having downloaded them. So I do some planning when I’m doing that, just in case, because every now and then you have some good entertainment on board. Oftentimes it’s not the case. It’s not even airline specific. I usually travel with mostly the same airlines and has nothing to do with the length of the flight, the type of airline.
Rob: It’s just almost random. You get lucky or you don’t. So that’s something that you potentially could do. And you mentioned Scott Rogers was the name of one of the guests, right? Yes.
Rob: So you mentioned you mentioned sorry.
AnnMaria: Oh, I said he wrote a book called Level Up.
Rob: Yeah, and that’s what I was going to say. You mentioned the book Level Up and you mentioned the book by Jesse Schell as well. So is there any book it could be one of those two. It could be another one that you would actually recommend to the engagers to listen, to, get inspired or whatnot?
AnnMaria: I think if you’re looking specifically for game design, those two, the Art of Game Design and Level Up the Guide to Great video Game design are both really good. As far as books on business, I like the book Rework. I think it’s the guys who did 37 Signals Base Camp that wrote it. They have a lot of really good ideas, I think, about startup and starting a company that also apply to a gaming company.
Rob: So I’d say those three amazing. Pretty good recommendations as well. Thank you for those increasing our list every week. I’m sure I will never be able in my whole life to catch up to the list that I built to this point, but I am happy to have those recommendations.
AnnMaria: So many things are all male in this industry, so I always try to recommend someone who’s a woman. And I think one of the ones I like is Carly Fiorina and she is not at all on the same spectrum as me politically, but she was the CEO of Hewlett Packard and she has written some good things about business. One of them is her book, Tough Choices. But I think one of the wisest things she said when somebody asked her why she made a decision, I think it was about not laying people off, but she said once you sell your soul, no one can buy it back for you. I think sometimes in startups people are willing to make a lot of not so great decisions based on, oh, we have to get ahead and we have to hustle and everything has to be 100% about how much money we can make.
AnnMaria: And I think she makes some good points about looking at the long run.
Rob: Yeah. There’s a Simpsons episode I don’t know if you might have seen or remember it’s him trying to buy it back or to get it back because he can’t enter into the Quickie Mart or all these things because he doesn’t have a soul. And then he starts dreaming about things he can’t do and he sees Millhouse having an extra soul that can help him out. It’s a funny episode, but some of the lessons you can actually extract are those kinds of things like don’t just sell your soul for a few bucks or for many bucks. In any case, it’s not worth it.
AnnMaria: My husband’s memorized every Simpsons episode. Oh my gosh, he will listen to this podcast just because of that.
Rob: Now, there you go, there you go. You have a new listener now, at least even if just for this episode. I’m happy to have him on board for sure. And we talked about the recommendations of what other people’s great work is in your case, what would you say is your superpower in this game creation world? What would you say you do?
Rob: At least better than most other people? Just like with superpowers, it’s not exclusive, right? Oh, I fly. So only Iron Man can fly, right? No, there’s Thor there’s from the DC world as well.
Rob: Other people can have it. They have it and it’s a fantastic thing.
AnnMaria: We focus on educational games and I would say very, very good at seeing what will make a kid learn. And there are two things that are involved. One is they have to actually play the game no one ever learned from software they didn’t use. And so there’s a lot of so called games out there. You talk about gamification stuff that is super boring, but you get some stupid little badge at the end of it.
AnnMaria: So the first part is seeing what will make a student play a game. And the second part is seeing what they will learn. Because there’s also some so called games. Oh, the worst of those games that supposedly teach coding. But there’s things that are supposedly games out there, but you look at them and you think, what is the kid learning from this?
AnnMaria: And I’ve even asked my grandchildren, they’re playing some kind of game, and I have one that’s three, they’re in high school now. And I’ll watch them playing something, they’ll say, well, what did you learn from that? And one of them, Ava, says to me, not a damn thing. I think a lot of so called educational games out there that are either bad education or bad games, that they are so boring that students don’t play them or they are. If you want, I would just say just stupid.
AnnMaria: They have something. They’re saying, we’re teaching coding because coding involves if then, and if you move this block over here, the cat goes, Meow. That is not coding. And I say this as somebody who started coding with punch cards that’s just full. So I think I’m very good at combining the two in a way.
AnnMaria: So for example, you’re learning about fractions and you’re riding your little character in the game to meet somebody from another tribe and it’s six days ride away, where’s the fairest place to meet? And the answer is you ride your little character to three days. Why is that? It’s because three is half of six. So putting things in context that kids actually learn them.
AnnMaria: And because my doctorate, I specialized in applied statistics, I really am driven by data. We had originally thought when we started. Making educational games that we would do, say, two minutes of gameplay, two minutes of math, two minutes of gameplay, two minutes of math, and then it would be about balanced out. The teachers, of course, want it to be all math. The kids want it to be all games.
AnnMaria: I had a co founder that is no longer involved just because he went off to do other things, but he kept saying, well, if we just had more game, the kids would play it. Yeah, but then the teachers wouldn’t let them use it in school. Right? So what we found eventually was you don’t do half and half. You front load it with a lot more game than education.
AnnMaria: And then as you get further in, you gradually increase it to 50 50, because now they’re invested. I went through that partway to get across the road and I died three times doing that. And then I did these much easier math problems. I got those right, so now I feel like I’m smart. And then I did this other part where I had to search and find all the items that I need to continue on my journey.
AnnMaria: And so now when a math problem that’s a little bit more at my grade level comes up, I’m going to put a little more effort in because I’ve already spent ten minutes in this game, I’m already in level three. So I think understanding how to combine both game design and education so that kids are actually learning and keep playing, that would be my superpower. Not as cool as flying.
Rob: Amazing. And that’s a very important one to have in a world like this one. But now we get to the difficult question of the podcast today. AnnMaria, what is your favorite game?
AnnMaria: Oh, you know, my kids always laugh at me because they say, mom, you make games and you suck at them. I play World of Warcraft a very little bit. Mostly I do very quick casual games. I played Murder in the Alps. I play Scrabble or any kind of Word game a lot.
AnnMaria: And the reason for that is I play Raid sometimes on my iPad. But the reason is, and I have a daughter who does Rhonda who had a contract with Facebook Gaming for a while. And mothers tell their children, no one’s going to pay for you to play video games when you grow up, so you had better be studying your math or studying your biology. Where in fact, Facebook did pay her a fair amount to play video games when she grew up. And she is like a level 103 in World of Warcraft or something.
AnnMaria: Like Activision sends her out levels before they come out, so she’s beyond whatever levels are available in the public. Well, and I told her, I said, I just can’t do that. I can’t spend 100 hours learning something that’s not going to benefit me in the real world. I guess in her case it does, because she gets paid. But my husband will play Assassin’s Creed or Zelda, or my kids will play Super Mario Brothers and they’ll play it for hours and hours.
AnnMaria: If I’m misplaced for hours and hours and hours and develop a skill, I want it to be something that lets me add a new kind of animation to the game, or let me add a block where teachers can do a new drag and drop type of assessment for students. So I’m not one to do the multi massive multiplayer games. I will play Scrabble on my iPad in Spanish, so my Spanish gets better.
Rob: I’m not very amazing. Amazing. Thank you for that. So, Anne Maria, we’re running towards the end of the interview. I know there’s many more stuff that we could have discussed today.
Rob: Probably we might do it in the future, as you know. For the end of the interview, is there anything you’d like to mention to us? Anywhere you want to lead us to where we can find out more about what you’re doing, your current endeavors, before we take off?
AnnMaria: Yes, I am doing the coolest thing right now. I think it’s called Seven Gen Blocks and it is coming out in a few weeks. So if anybody listening wants to be a private beta tester, they should hit me up. If you wanted to make an educational game and you didn’t have a lot of educational game design background, or if you’re a developer but not super experienced, this would allow you to make a game and a good educational game. If you are super experienced, it’ll just allow you to do it many times faster.
AnnMaria: We’ve been making games for years and we started coming together. If you ever played with Legos when you were a little kid and you can snap together the Lego blocks, make things, this is kind of the educational get. You want a visual novel in your game. You go into this block and you just type in the code you want and you can do it in multiple languages if you want. You want an image over that background.
AnnMaria: You just put the link to that. You want to do a maze that comes after the visual novel, drop in the block for that. So it is the coolest thing. Obviously, Lego will sue us if we called it Lego for games, but we call it Seven Gen Blocks and it’s sort of snapping together pieces of educational games with all of the knowledge that we’ve gained over the ten years we’ve been doing it built in. So it’s the coolest thing I’ve worked on in a very long time.
Rob: Amazing. Thank you very much for that. And where can we find out more about this endeavor?
AnnMaria: You can go to sevengenblocks. If you just go there. all. There’s a link to be in the private beta. Or if you want to go to, the number, you can learn all about our company and all the cool stuff we’re doing and get links to tons of our games.
AnnMaria: So either of those places would be great. And if you’re on Instagram, you can follow me at Anne Maria Seven. It’s the number seven G-E-N and see where in the world is Anne Maria today.
Rob: Amazing. Thank you very much for spreading all your experience, all that knowledge that you’ve been gaining throughout the years, all this experience that you have, sharing it with the Engagers. But as I mentioned before, at least for now and for today, it is time to say that it’s game over. Engagers. It is fantastic to have you around and thank you for listening to the Professor Game podcast.
Rob: And of course, as always, if you want more interviews with incredible guests like Anne Maria, go to subscribe and get started on our email list. It is absolutely free. We’ll be in contact. You’ll be the first to know of any opportunities that we might have for you. And of course, before you go on to your next mission, you can also, for free, subscribe or follow whatever that looks like on your favorite podcast app.
Rob: And of course, listen to the next episode of Professor Game. See you there.

End of transcription

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