After three months of working in stealth mode, new game studio, Tiny Comet, has emerged and shared plans to create history based simulation RPG games for school-aged players. The studio firmly believes that the gaming industry can promote positive change and help educate young minds in an informative and playful way.
We caught up with founders Emily Tierney and Anca Agapi to discuss the creation of Tiny Comet, the team's current goals with its first game coming to Roblox and what the future holds for the studio.
Pocketgamer.biz: Can you tell us a little about Tiny Comet? How did the studio come together?
Emily Tierney and Anca Agapi: We are two moms who want to make educational games for our children! Emily’s daughter is on the autism spectrum. She watched her daughter navigate a world that often demanded verbal memory, an area where her daughter struggled. We know there must be a more engaging, intuitive way for our child to embrace learning.
With that in mind, we want to tap into the immersive power of gaming to transform history lessons into a captivating and interactive experience. We applied to the Speedrun accelerator program created by the partners at a16z Games with just an idea. Six weeks later, we were incorporated, funded, and hired a team of amazing developers. We are now ready to launch the alpha of our first title on Roblox!
We're dedicated to crafting games that are entertaining and provide a rich educational experience for children.Emily Tierney and Anca Agapi
What type of games is the studio focused on creating?
Our mission is to make learning as fun as playing games. We're dedicated to crafting games that are entertaining and provide a rich educational experience for children. Currently, our focus is on developing engaging history-based games. We believe that history holds a special place in teaching us vital lessons, especially considering that about 40% of eighth graders scored “below basic” in U.S. history last year, compared with 34 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2014. By harnessing the power of interactive gameplay, we aim to make history come alive and transform learning into an enjoyable adventure.
How do you think gaming can play a role in educating young minds?
Our core belief is that play is our brain’s favourite way of learning. We can enhance engagement, excitement, and overall effectiveness by approaching education with a playful mindset.
A Gallup study from 2018 revealed that over half of our nation's students are disengaged or actively disinterested in school, a trend that worsened due to the pandemic. A staggering 88% decline in student motivation was reported by teachers by the close of 2020.
This is where gamification steps in. It has been demonstrated that the gamification of education had a 65% increase in learner engagement, a 68% boost in motivation, and a 40% improvement in memory and recall.
Additionally, recognizing that children aged 8-12 in the United States dedicate up to 40 hours weekly to screens, we view this not merely as leisure but as a transformative opportunity. As a young game studio, we're committed to leveraging this substantial investment of time and energy to provide an enjoyable and purposeful experience.
How about the team, how many people are under the Tiny Comet banner?
We are currently a small team of 5: our founding mothers, Emily Tierney and Anca Agapi, our 2 talented game developers, Aymen Rahmani and Mohamed Omar and our in-house educator and narrative designer, Haley Baldwin.
Emily Tierney brings to the team her expertise from being a Tech Lead at Supercell, playing a pivotal role in some of the gaming world's most iconic titles, such as Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars, each surpassing $1 billion in lifetime revenue. Emily also boasts a background as a Staff Tech Manager at Google.
Anca brings to the table her experience in building educational programs in Finland, the country with one of the best education systems in the world. She also has a history of spearheading marketing campaigns for globally recognized brands such as L’Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, and KONE.
Aymen and Mohamed bring their 10+ years of experience in developing games in Roblox, including hits that reached over millions of play visits. Haley is not only a history teacher but also an education specialist for English learners. Her unique combination of historical expertise and innate ability to craft compelling narratives bridges the gap between education and immersive gameplay.
Through interactive gameplay, we aim to offer an immersive experience that makes history tangible and engaging.Emily Tierney and Anca Agapi
Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on?
We're in the final stages of preparing for our closed alpha launch, which will introduce players to an exciting role-playing game centered around the history of Jamestown, Virginia, the first English colony. In this game, players will embark on a journey to uncover the challenges and triumphs of the colony's pioneering settlers as they adapt to life in a new world. Through interactive gameplay, we aim to offer an immersive experience that makes history tangible and engaging.
What are you most excited about for the future of the studio?
We are so excited to make an impact in children’s lives. We aim to release a set of history-focused games for young audiences that will become beloved hits.
Ultimately, we want to raise the national U.S. history test scores while delivering enjoyable experiences through the power of gaming. We want to instill a love for learning while also having fun.