No tapping, no swiping: Start-up goes old school

May 18, 2012 6:41:14 PM PDT
In the heart of tech country, it's not every day you get a start-up devoted to a product that's decidedly low-tech.

But a local entrepreneur is helping kids laugh and learn with a game that requires no batteries.

Chris Durant is the brains behind Fins and Flippers, a board game about the ocean that has no controllers and no 3D animation.

"I always played board games with my kids. We had family game night, and I think we're just losing touch with each other and our children and we're always on the computer," said Durant.

So she took a radical departure from her background in electronics and designed a board game.

"I was determined to do it, and I just started sketching it," she said.

Durant sketched the game out on paper and then tested it with neighborhood kids for more than a year.

When they play the game, kids don't just learn about the ocean. They also learn about a new way to play that's actually not new at all.

"It was really fun. It was actually different," said 7-year-old Malorie Hill. "It was different because computers you have to tap, and games you can play with your hands."

Though the game is low tech, Durant's company Animal Matters embodies everything about Silicon Valley -- minus the silicon.

She's already launched her first animal game, Fur and Feathers. Now, she's launching Fins and Flippers with microfinancing on Kickstarter.

And as if teaching kids and saving the oceans weren't enough, she's building the game in the U.S.

"If we can make small changes and if everyone would try, we can make a big difference," Durant said.


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