Founded in 1998, Electric Funstuff applies the principles of game design to products with educational outcomes. We work with experts to translate research and best practices into engaging interactions – finding the sweet spot that balances the needs of gameplay with learning objectives. “Serious Games,” “Games-Based Learning,” and “Gamification” have all come of age under our watch. Whatever the buzzword (we like Game-Enhanced Learning), you can count on us to make learning experiences that are transformative, rigorous, and engaging.
We are small and collaborative, and we like it that way. We build iteratively, and we build wisely.
All that … and we still have short and productive meetings.
We form like Voltron. Or maybe Captain Planet? You know. Like a team.
Founder & Executive Producer
David founded Electric Funstuff with a vision of bringing game design principles to educational technology. An Emmy-nominated producer, he previously worked in publishing and educational technology at Scholastic. David’s sophisticated design sense infuses all of our work.
Senior Instructional Designer
Leah brings 15 years of experience creating interactive curriculum to Electric Funstuff. A legendary collaborator and writer, she fuses connections among all stakeholders and ensures that our work is responsive to teachers and learners.
Dale is our relentless self-trained programmer. Cutting his teeth on Flash AS2 in 2003 (ouch!), he is now fluent in C# and Unity. A master of efficiency and procedural thinking, Dale provides the technical basis for much of our work.
Ben makes many things happen: concept, art direction, research, writing, game logic, and testing. He has an uncanny eye for detail and the drive to see projects through on-time and on-vision. He is also an experienced attorney.
Illustrator and Animator
Rob is a painter and digital artist whose talents with illustration, montage, mixed-media, and animation provide the “wow” factor in many of our most popular games. He also codes and wields a sharp Canadian sense of humor.
3D Artist and UI Designer
James creates the jaw-dropping 3D models and scenes that make our games feel real. He excels at designing streamlined, intuitive web and mobile-based interfaces that put the user at ease. James is also the mastermind behind most of the mini-games in Mission US, including the nefarious “Sewing Game.”
Jordan is the proverbial young gun if bullets were code. When we need to make technology do something that’s never been done before, Jordan can usually code it. In an afternoon. He is well-versed in both major and obscure HTML5 frameworks, including ReactJS, a current favorite.
People Ask Us …
Q. Are You Replacing Teachers?
A. Not even close. An educational game is just the starting point of the learning that we want students to experience. The deepest learning happens not in the game but surrounding it, as teachers help students to reflect on what they have learned in the game and what it means.
Our games are effective because they foster—perhaps even demand—real-world discussion and reflection. Students who experience our games want to talk with other students about the items or areas that they’ve uncovered and the different interactions that they’ve had. No two players will make the same choices or follow exactly the same path, resulting in nuanced in-class discussions and repeated play.
Our games are such effective tools that teachers want to make them them the centerpiece of their instruction on a particular topic. (See our series of middle school history games, for example.)
Q. So … Where Are The Games?
A. Typically, we partner with established content makers (media companies, publishers, NGOs, online platforms …) that host the games on their platforms. However, some of our games do make it to your friendly neighborhood App Store.
Electric Funstuff acts as the designer and developer, working closely with the subject matter experts to find effective and engaging solutions to meet the learning goals of each project.
And we don’t just make games. We’ve found that the principles of great game design apply far and wide, across many different experiences and products—virtually any project that seeks to engage and motivate its users.
Q. What Platforms Do You Use To Make Your Games?
A. We primarily use Unity or HTML5 depending on the requirements. We were also pretty good with Flash, but, yeah.