Introducing: Hyperthought Games
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
At the end of 2019, I left the company I loved to venture out on my own and start something new. My project has been continually evolving, and I’m confident in our direction to share with you all my new educational game studio: Hyperthought Games.
Our mission is to help build a world in which people have access to opportunities for personal and professional growth, regardless of the language they were brought up speaking.
Why learning a new language is uniquely challenging
Today, there are over 1.5 billion people learning a new language and they all face the same problem: it's really, really difficult. In fact, a new language is probably one of the hardest things that most people will ever try to learn. As someone who’s tried to learn several – including French, Mandarin, and Japanese – I have experienced three main challenges:
Becoming fluent is a marathon. It requires years of dedication, multiple learning strategies, and lots of practise. Twenty minutes a day using a single app isn't going to cut it for most people.
You’ll eventually need to practise in the real world with native speakers. This requires a boatload of confidence that the gods did not bless me with.
There aren't many ways to apply your learning and get value from it until late in your learning journey.
The first two challenges are innate to learning a language and are difficult to solve; it's going to take years of dedication and eventually you will need to speak to other people, anxiety be damned. That said, it's the third challenge that makes it difficult to stay motivated enough to overcome the first two.
How long can you continue practicing when the only fruits of your labour are the badges and streaks you've earned on your favourite language app?
How do most people apply their language skills early on?
A common strategy is immersing yourself in foreign entertainment, such as movies or music. In theory, this is a great way to validate your progress and apply what you are learning to the real world – and for many people, consuming entertainment like this is the very reason they wanted to learn a new language in the first place!
But in my experience, there’s a fundamental mismatch between my enjoyment of this content and the educational value I get out of it.
Either the foreign movie I was watching was enjoyable but far beyond my language abilities, or it was suited to my language level and therefore was something made for kids. There was nothing I could find that was both entertaining and educational as a language learner.
We believe gaming offers a solution to this problem
Unlike reading or watching TV, in which your enjoyment is directly linked to your understanding of language, video games can be entertaining without relying on the use of language at all.
A great example of this is Mario, in which our favourite plumber barely says a word on his quest to save Princes Peach. This disconnect makes it possible to create games that integrate language-learning mechanics that adapt to your level without spoiling the fun. Games that give you meaningful opportunities to apply your learning and feel good about your progress without all of the stress. Games that keep you motivated and practicing your new language longer than anything that exists today. These are the games that we are building.
Our first game Lingo Legend is being developed for iOS and Android and targets players at the beginning of their language learning journey. You can sign up for early access on our website and follow us on social media (Twitter / Instagram) for development updates.
This year has been filled with far more progress than I could make alone. I want to give a huge shout out to Hyperthought founding team members Brandon Koepke and Chad Morris who joined the team in March and have made significant contributions to both the direction and creation of the game. I also couldn't end this post without thanking my wife Nichole who never hesitated to support me despite the risks.
Just like learning a language, the path ahead of us is long and challenging. But the work is fun, the destination exciting, and I can't wait to share more with you in the months to come.
Founder, Hyperthought Games