Fri, 1997-10-31

New York City (November 1, 1997) -- Interactive software developer Black Hammer Productions, Inc. announces the completion of development of Scholastic Inc.'s new I SPY CD ROM. In the award-winning I SPY picture riddle book series, riddles written by Jean Marzollo hold clues that help children ages five to nine find or "spy" objects hidden in visually-engaging photographs by Walter Wick. In developing the CD ROM, Black Hammer worked in partnership with Scholastic to create captivating and engaging visual games that flex kid's cognitive abilities.

Black Hammer programmed the CD ROM using a proprietary object-oriented design model. Macromedia's Director software was chosen as the programming platform. Black Hammer employed advanced programming techniques to create a cross-platform title with high performance animation, intelligent game play and minimal memory requirements (I SPY will run on 8 MB PCs). The software's content is distributed among seven virtual worlds: Balloon Popper, Code Breaker, Oops Hoops!, Nature, Wood Block City, Chalkboard and Make Your Own I SPY. While interacting with I SPY, kids are presented with hundreds of mentally challenging puzzles and riddles, with more than 1300 object and word searches to tackle. The games are designed to enhance children's skills in areas such as visual discrimination, problem solving, logic, and strategic thinking.

Both companies are pleased with the collaboration. Black Hammer's president Matthew Schlanger said that "the I SPY project gave us an opportunity to show off Black Hammer's programming and interactive design talents." Susan Gargiulo, producer at Scholastic New Media, commented, "Black Hammer was committed to developing this product within our budget and schedule constraints, without sacrificing game play or interactivity. We loved working with them."

Black Hammer Productions, Inc. was founded by Mathew Schlanger and Andrew Hunt, who were featured among New York Magazine's "Cyber 60" as leading interactive developers. Black Hammer designs, develops and produces multimedia products, including websites, commercial and corporate CD ROMs, Shockwave games and interactive kiosks. Besides the new I Spy title, the Company has produced award-winning games and educational CD-ROMs for Prentice Hall, Simon and Shuster, and WNET. For the Internet, Black Hammer has created Shockwave games for the Showtime Network and General Mills, as well as multiple websites for Thomas Publishing. In addition to producing interactive solutions for IBM, Met Life and Merrill Lynch, the Company recently completed an interactive trade show simulation for a major pharmaceutical company. Black Hammer is currently developing multimedia projects for another major healthcare company, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Wall Street Journal, and the Experimental Television Center.

For 77 years, Scholastic has been committed to creating quality educational materials for students and teachers. The company is one of the leading publishers and distributors of children's books, classroom and professional magazines, and other educational products. Scholastic is expanding its presence in educational consumer software with the release of these new titles, targeted to children ages four to nine. In addition to books and software, Scholastic produces children's and family-oriented video and television programming. The company's international operations include Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and India.