Playpower

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Pittsburgh, PA, USA
572-598 Grant Street Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 15219 US

PlayPower is a non-profit group bringing affordable educational computer games to children worldwide. The games, given away for free, are designed for 8-bit TV-Computers. These devices include a keyboard, mouse, and game controllers, and hook up to TVs; they are purchasable for US $10-12 in many countries.

The learning games teach topics such as English, math, typing, critical thinking,  programming, and grammar. One game designed with India in mind lets players become the Hindu deity Hanuman, and fight his enemies by typing the correct English word within the time limit. Another, “Malaria: A Call to Action,” raises disease awareness as players kill mosquitoes and earn anti-malarial mosquito nets with points.

PlayPower, lead by Derek Lomas, a Carnegie Mellon graduate student, especially targets “emerging middle classes of developing countries,” who cannot afford even $100 computers. In India, typing skills can raise earning power from $1/day to $1/hour and increase life prospects. A secondary goal of the games is to spark new interests and prompt children to aspire for white-collar jobs.

PlayPower also creates tools to facilitate making software for the TV-Computers, and offers educational game design workshops in many countries.

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