FableVision and Pearson Team Up to Develop Virtual Island on Poptropica Kids Game Site

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FableVision's Game Island designed as "Safe Harbor" for inspiring and nurturing kids' creativity.

What makes FableVision's games special is our ability to weave a redeeming message into the story-based game play - using games to promote the value of creativity and invention.

Boston-based educational media developer FableVision and Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company, announced today that they are collaborating to create a new "island" on Poptropica, an online environment with a rapidly expanding user base that already includes more than 20 million young Internet users. Developed by Family Education Network, a business of Pearson and the developer of Funbrain.com, Poptropica is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, read digital books and comics, and compete with other players. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica.

Creative development for FableVision's game island will be led by "New York Times" bestselling children's book author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, FableVision's founder and executive creative director, whose works include "Judy Moody," "Someday," "The Dot" and "Ish."

"The key to Poptropica's success is its ever-expanding content that has just the right mix of education and irresistible fun, and no one delivers that better than FableVision," says Jess M. Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network, developer of Poptropica. Family Education Network is no stranger to developing games that are fun and educationally valid, much to the delight of parents, teachers and kids. "Poptropica and its sister site, Funbrain.com...are the titans of sneaky learning," says The Gainesville Sun.

In Poptropica, kids can play games, undertake quests, develop computer skills, and learn much more about the world in which they live. When they encounter other characters, they can interact by using scripted chat, never sharing any personal or identifying information. The number of kids exploring the virtual world of Poptropica has exploded since its launch in September 2007. The current collection of five islands will grow to 10 by the end of 2008, providing even more territory for kids to explore.

The new FableVision island merges Poptropica's exploratory game play with a storyline that promotes creative expression. Under Reynolds' creative direction, the game's story features a virtual artist colony where a disgruntled inventor is removing all color and creativity from the island and kids come to the rescue to reverse the colorless chaos.    

Reynolds shares, "My hope is to bring the sensibilities of great children's books to the kids' gaming world, where there seems to be a very big void. The industry is in its infancy at the moment and needs creative leadership to bring integrity and creative authorship to this platform."

FableVision's director of production and technology Gary Goldberger will help make that vision a reality. Goldberger also serves as New England regional leader for Games4Change, the nonprofit that promotes digital games for social change. He notes, "What makes FableVision's games special is our ability to weave a redeeming message into the story-based game play - using games to promote the value of creativity and invention."

The development of the Poptropica island represents the latest evolution of a long-standing FableVision/Pearson relationship, which has produced a string of digital publishing successes. FableVision previously collaborated with Pearson and Jess M. Brallier on "Tess's Tree," an online book written by Brallier and illustrated by FableVision's Reynolds. The popularity of "Tess's Tree" on Funbrain -- garnering 50,000 to 100,000 reads a day -- led to a print publishing deal with Harper Collins; the book will hit the market next year.

A second digital book written and illustrated by Reynolds, "Eyebrow Story," is also on Funbrain. "Eyebrow Story" has already received more than a million reads. Pearson and FableVision also collaborated to create Gallery Builder, a software program that lets students create and curate their own art galleries. The program is used throughout the United States in K-12 arts and language arts curricula.

FableVision's President Paul A. Reynolds shares, "We are honored to collaborate with such a trusted name in family-friendly education on an endeavor that is so near and dear to FableVision's own mission."

The island created by FableVision will launch on Poptropica in the fall of 2008.

About Poptropica:
Developed by Family Education Network, the makers of Funbrain, Poptropica (http://www.Poptropica.com) is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and compete with other players in head-to-head competition. Players can also safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world, and players can read digital books and comics and watch movies along the way.

Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest integrated education company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

About FableVision:
FableVision (http://www.fablevision.com) is on a mission to bring the world to a better place through the creation and distribution of positive media, storytelling and technology. Located at the Boston Children's Museum in Boston, and with offices in Dedham, MA, Portland, OR, and London, the FableVision team enjoys an international reputation for its unique brand of innovative, technology-delivered storytelling and learning. Its K-12 software product offerings are distributed internationally. These include creativity and self-expression software, such as Animation-Ish, Stationery Studio and Get A Clue, and a line of products for students with learning differences, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and other social differences, such as BrainCogs, EssayExpress and SmartMoves.

FableVision also creates media and interactives with key players on the education landscape, including PBS, Maryland Public Television, MIT Education Arcade, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, KCET, Carnegie Hall, National Academy of Sciences, WGBH, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pearson, Girl Scouts of the USA, SARRC, the Research Institute for Learning and Development, Boston University and The Jim Henson Company.

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