Morphonix Games
 
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Every Body Has a Brain (Windows, Mac)
Posted: 03/07/2012

Common Sense Media 5 Stars!

Read the review on  CommonSenseMedia.org

School Library Journal Review
Posted: January 2012

These 17 songs from the musical video game of the same name help youngsters learn about brain function. Listeners meet Phoebe Brainheart as she learns about the parts of her brain, their functions, and how they work with other parts of her body. Phoebe also discovers things like how to take care of her brain by eating good foods ("Feed Your Brain") and wearing a helmet during sports activities ("Protect Your Brain"). A variety of musical styles are employed to keep listeners attention such as ballad/New Age, folk, techno pop, and Caribbean. Standouts include "Work! Work! Work! in the Brainstem" and "the Brain Team Works Together." Use these songs in class when teaching these difficult concepts to young children.- Stephanie Bange, Wright State University, Dayton, OH

Every Body Has a Brain: "An audio-visual masterpiece..."
Posted: 09/22/2011

Read the article on Computed Gazette

How do you get a 4-year-old child to sit in front of a computer, use a mouse, and enjoy learning interactively for prolonged periods? The secret is to populate the screen with dynamic characters, magical backgrounds, melodies, sounds and animations; and change the mouse/arrow into a colorful star or animated fireworks, luring the child into an intriguing adventure.

This entry by Morphonix is an audio-visual masterpiece, beautifully designed to capture - and hold - the attention of the preschool or early elementary child (and beyond). Every Body Has a Brain is one of the most innovative entries we have received: Creative and artistic settings, music, sparkly mouse cursors, stories, games/lessons and animated cartoon characters keep the interface alive and exciting while the child interacts and learns complex facts about the brain. The inclusion of mouse-over audio identification of the buttons and lessons is a feature that is often missed by those who design software for the nonreader.

The program is referred to as 'An interactive musical brain game' for Windows and Macintosh, but this understates its depth and breadth. The setting takes place, appropriately, in the brain of Phoebe Brainheart, a girl who loves to find out new things about the brain. Here, the child can explore each of four major areas of the brain: Brainstem, Cerebellum, Hippocampus and Cerebral Cortex. Buttons and hotspots launch lessons that include pertinent science and history definitions and facts. The Brainstem unit contains Brain Train, where the child must identify the object that has a brain; and in History of the Brain - Reptile Roundup, the child moves the mouse over illustrations of dirt, leaves, grass and water to uncover remains of reptiles, learning facts about the brain of various species while improving motor skills. In the Hippocampus unit, dancing baby hippos joyfully reinforce the main lesson: How this part of the brain helps us to remember.

Every Body Has a Brain merited an EDDIE Award in the Early Learning - Science category. It can be purchased on a CD (Windows and Macintosh) or as a downloadable. Perhaps our only suggestion pertains to the CD itself, which would best serve this elegant program if it were.

Every Body Has a Brain:

Sausalito company Morphonix focuses on brain power

Jim Welte
Marin IJ
Posted: 08/02/2009 09:41:50 PM PDT

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Five-year-old Aidan Tull got off the elevator and immediately began flitting about, ducking behind his mother Linda and peeping out from behind her leg. He was behaving like any kid walking into an office like setting surrounded by adults.

But once he parked himself into the small bear shaped chair in front of a computer and grabbed hold of its tiny mouse, Aidan's eyes lit up. And then he got down to business.

He was presented with a series of image pairs and asked to click on which of the two - dog vs. carrot, monkey vs. banana, frog vs. log - had a brain. He nailed each one and heard information about the brain of each of his choices as they loaded onto a train that departed from the Brain Depot.

Aidan was at the downtown Sausalito office of Morphonix, a video game company that specializes in neuroscience-related games for young people. He was playing a section of "Every BODY Has a Brain," a game in the early stages of development that is being funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Morphonix is in the midst of inviting children ages 4-6 to play the game and get their feedback in an effort to fine-tune its development.

Aidan, who lives in Corte Madera and attends Marin Montessori, said he liked "everything" about the game. His mother, Linda, elaborated: "This is brilliant. Montessori is all about stimulating the brain and designing material around the brain, but doesn't talk about the brain directly."

"Every BODY Has a Brain" is the third game developed by Morphonix, which was founded in 1990 by San Rafael resident Karen Littman. The previous two, "Journey Into the Brain" (ages 7-11) and "Neuromatrix" (ages 11-14), also were funded with grants from the National Institutes of Health. Morphonix has received more than $5 million in federal grants to develop its games. Parents and teachers are Morphonix's primary consumers, and the company has sold 55,000 copies of "Journey Into the Brain."

"The idea behind all of our games is to take this abstract concept of the brain and neuroscience and make them more concrete by applying a story to them," Littman said.

Morphonix is advised by a number of prominent doctors in the neuroscience field, including Floyd Bloom, the former editor of Science magazine, and University of Washington professor Eric Chudler,who runs the Web site Neuroscience for Kids. Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children's Technology Review, said he hadn't seen the new Morphonix game yet but had viewed an earlier version of"Neuromatrix." He said a company like Morphonix, which has only three employees, faces major hurdles in reaching a broad audience and competing in the massive video game industry, which recorded $1.17 billion in sales in June in the mist of an economic downturn.

"The thing that is magic about this medium is that it takes concepts that are really hard to understandand and makes them concrete," he said. "If I was king, I would be funding a lot more of these kinds of things for things like neurology and health-related fields.

"When Aidan finished playing, Littman sought additional feedback from her pint-sized adviser."Where is your heart?" she asked. Aidan pointed to his chest.

"Does your heart think?" He shook his head.

"What keeps the heart beating?"

"The brain stem!" he replied, nearly leaping off the couch with a level of excitement about neuroscience rarely seen in a 5-year-old.

Contact Jim Welte via e-mail at jwelte@marinij.com

Neuromatrix:

Fall 2008 Software
Ages: 8 - 14 yrs.
Manufacturer: Morphonix™ LLC
Platform: Windows XP

Review:

Every so often, someone makes a videogame that stands apart due to its creativity or incredible visual impact or educational value. Neuromatrix scores on all of those accounts.

Designed to teach kids about the human brain and how to take care of it, as well as intrigue them in the stranger-than-fiction field of neuroscience, this game effectively combines a dramatic storyline and fascinating graphics with some heavy-duty learning to create an unusually engaging game that's both fun and forensic. Plus, it's intuitive and easy, so kids won't turn it off before they get turned on.

Players take on the role of a secret agent who must infiltrate a top-secret neuroscience lab where rogue nanobots (microscopic robots) have invaded the brains of the lab's top scientists. Spawned by a secret evil villain, the nanobots' mission is to reprogram the human brain-starting with those who know most about it-and render humans subservient and docile leading to the take-over of the planet Earth.

But get this: In conducting brain medically-based diagnostic exams and surfing to different parts of the scientists' brains to "delete" the nanobots, players see what the inside of the brain looks like and how it functions-just like a neurologist would. Lots of grisly (but not gross) internal body scenes that only a scientist or budding scientist could love.

Excellent mini-movies glue attention and mini-games make learning about brain functions, well, just a game. Enter the cerebrum, for instance, and play a memory puzzle that's not only fun but also recreates how memories are made inside the brain. Head into the cerebellum game and find out how it automates motor tasks, or the parietal lobe game for lessons in special awareness and navigation. And in the process, using problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, kids learn from synapse to neuron the way the brain works firsthand.

Buying this remarkable videogame for your child should be a no-brainer-so to speak.

Don Oldenburg ©2008 Parents' Choice A former writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is a freelance writer, editorial consultant and coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The father of three sons, he lives with them and wife, Ann, a writer at USA Today, in McLean, VA.

Read the article here







Review:

NeuroKids Approved! - Neuromatrix is the most awesome game! Nanobots are trying to destroy the brains of scientists and you have to stop them. You can surf in the brain and get neurotransmitter vials to BLAST them away. Also, you learn how to diagnose someone and the game tells you when it is a motor problem or memory problem or whatever. You learn all sorts of cool stuff about the brain too.

It’s not hard to play at all and all you have to do is click on the sentences and it talks for you. So, for littler kids its not hard to read because it does a lot of that work for you. It is SUPER cool to see the inside of the brain and the graphics are awesome! If you want to play this super cool game you have to check it out at www.morphonix.com . Neuromatrix says it is for kids 11 years old and up but I am 9 years old and I play it fine - actually, the first night we got it I passed a lot of levels. We think that if you’re good at the computer and if you have an XBox, GameCube, or Wii, this will not be hard.

Morphonix™ is the company and they are very nice. They are donating some copies of the game for Week of the Brain at our school. The computer lab is going to be more fun than ever! And teachers can’t get mad at us for playing games because its educational. So, ask your teachers to order it for Week of the Brain for your school and if they can’t do it, ask your mom and dad to get you a copy. We totally recommend this game. It is the best game on the brain we have seen and it is so fun! - Bo Erik Hollsten www.neurokids.org





Review:

Neuromatrix - Teaching kids through serious gaming is one of the focus areas of next mondays event. Karen from Morphonix™ in Sausalito just sent me a really cool demo of their 3-D adventure game called Neuromatrix which is designed to teach 11-14 year olds about the human brain, it's structure and functions by using detective work and medically-based diagnostic processes. The work was funded by grants from the national institute of mental health's small business innovation program. I'd post the video, but it's 224MB. So either check out their site for more info or come to Digital Hollywood University Project to see it and a lot more! - Kevin Roebuck







Journey into the Brain:



Dear Morphonix™, My kids fight (still!) over who gets to play Journey Into The Brain, even though we have had it a few years now. Thanks for such a great product!! I remember hearing that another program was being developed. Is it still in the works? When you have a moment, please drop me a line. My kids are sure looking forward to it. - The Happ Family




Dear Karen Littman, I wanted to express my appreciation for “Journey Into the Brain” by Morphonix™. I purchased the program when it first came out for my mentally and physically handicapped daughter. Through the years since then, she has played the program almost every day. She is able to solve the adventure even though she is about 7 mentally. Sixteen is her physical age. Last year when the program started to malfunction and we couldn’t fix the problem, our daughter was very upset. So I called Morphonix™ and a new copy was kindly sent. Our daughter picked up right where she left off playing the program daily. The concept and quality of this program is SUPERB. It teaches and entertains at the same time. I know there are plenty of computer learning programs out on the market. But these programs are blatantly aged and graded academically. There are few software programs being produced that are simply engaging without all the pressure to match it to a grade level. I would be highly interested in purchasing another Morphonix™ software program. Please consider creating another one. I know my daughter would be thrilled! - Mrs. Patricia Dunn & daughter Aimee





"Children are playfully introduced to the brain and its functions. They'll particularly like the interactive story/game in which they have to explore an animated human brain to solve a mystery. As they wander about, they learn of the inner working of the brain, find bits of memory to help out a mixed-up little girl and play the logic games they run into."
- Children's Software Revue (www.childrenssoftware.com)




"Spectacular graphics await you in Journey into the Brain"
"For a mystery game that takes you inside a human brain, try Journey into the Brain (Morphonix™, (800) 678-4384)...Through engaging interactive activities, children begin to learn how the brain functions. The artwork throughout is spectacular. There is also an activities area and a research part known as the Brainarium."
- Choosing Children's Software - Spring 1999
The Best Science Software - Early Elementary





"Journey into the Brain lets kids, grades 2-6, explore neuroscientific concepts by learning about their own developing brains." - Technology and Learning - November/December 1998





"Congratulations on a wonderful product...the audio is clear, the art is captivating and the games are engaging. It is my belief that your target audience (children ages 6-11) is one group that has been neglected when it comes to science education materials. I am glad to see that you created a product for these kids."
Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D. - University of Washington





"Journey into the Brain...is wonderful! The game is fun to play. Information is presented in a clear, concise manner - just enough without overpowering the average child. I can assure you that it will receive a great deal of exposure here at Lesley College. Please be sure to keep me posted on new Morphonix™ educational titles. I am always on the lookout for quality educational software."
Eileen Barnett: Director / Educational Software Coordinator
Instructional Computing - Lesley College





"I just wanted to let you know how much my second grade class enjoys your software - Journey into the Brain. Every time they have the opportunity they gather around the computer to watch as one of their peers gather memory bits. The first day a student got to level 3 we had to postpone starting our regular lessons for thirty minutes because they were so excited about the game! This is the only software program I've used that has held their attention for so long - it even holds their attention as they just watch their peers play.





"I had been searching for materials for teaching neuroscience to children since I start every year with a unit on the brain. It's a great way to set the tone for learning for the entire year. My class even calls themselves 'The Brainy Bunch.' I was so excited to find software on the brain at their level! And even more excited when I found out what a quality program it is! THANK YOU!" - Sheryl Hardin: Gullet Elementary School - Austin, Texas





"I liked it. I think it will help a lot of kids learn and have fun." -- Belinda, age 9





"I liked that it was harder in Stages 3 and 4 because you have to think harder and use your brain." -- Nicole, age 10



For Everyone Caring About Parents, Kids, Community - Family News, April 1999
Published by A.P.P.L.E. FamilyWorks - Advancing Principles & Practices of Life Enrichment
By Anne Bubnic, Custom Computers For Kids

New Software Titles Engage Children And Prove Learning Can Be Fun!

"Too often, it seems like education takes a back seat to entertainment, when it comes to quality software. Here are a few new titles that break from the mold. Thet are not dependent on character recognition or branding to hold your child's attention. And they prove that learning can be fun.

Children have a natural curiosity about their bodies. A number of software titles, including 'Magic Schoolbus Explores the Human Body' (Microsoft), 'My Amazing Human Body' (DK Multimedia), and 'What's The Secret?' have addressed bodily topics on a child's level. But no CD-Rom, up to this time, has offered such an immersive experience in exploring how the brain works, as 'Journey Into The Brain.' Funded by NIH, the title was produced locally in Marin by a team of content experts that included neuroscientists and educators.

In 'Journey Into The Brain,' children are introduced to a character, 'Celeste,' who eats coconut and jelly sandwiches and does other crazy things. They must go on a rescue mission inside her brain to gather scattered memory bits and restore it to normal. Along the way, players meet characters like Brain Stem, Sera Bellum, and Sir Rebral Cortex.

We learn that 'the brain stem is a bundle of nerves,' and 'the cerebellum is responsible for skill, balance & timing.' These are typical 'factoids' that are continually presented during the journey. Children learn without even realizing it.

Subtleties abound in this title. As they travel from one site to the next, players make their way through artfully-rendered neural "forrests" that are medically-accurate enlargements of actual neural networks. 'Sera Bellum' morphs onto the screen from the shape of a cauliflower, a form which the cerebellum actually resembles. Then, since the cerebellum handles 'balance', children must balance vegetables on a scale to recover memory bits in this region. Another activity, "Fire a Synapse" mimics neurotransmitter function, as kids shoot alien particles, Additionally, children are using their own brains to solve challanges. Sometimes, they are using the exact regions of the brain that they are studying as they bring puzzles to conclusion.

'Journey Into The Brain' is an opportunity well-taken. It brings amazing richness and depth to its quest, without overwhelming children. They learn everything from healthy eating habits to bicycle safety and the dangers of drugs as they gather information on the functions of the human brain. The activities are widely diverse. There are six original tunes, created for the program. Brain teasers, tests of memory skills, art and music challanges cover all of the multiple intelligences.

Beyond the virtual tours and activities that occur within the game, children can also visit the 'Brainarium' where they can learn more facts and see real brain images from collections gathered by distinguished physicians."

Anne Bubnic teaches computer classes to K-5 students in Marin County and has her own consulting practice, Custom Computers for Kids.