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Kids Turn Gaming News


Itzabitza Computer Game

Preschoolers Innately Enchanted With ItzaBitza Magical PC Drawing Game

Kirkland, WA (October 13, 2009) – These days grandparents call the grandkids to solve technology problems from computers to PDAs. To get preschoolers comfortable with computers and the benefits of creative thinking and reading comprehension, savvy parents boot up ItzaBitza, the enchanting educational computer game that doesn’t require reading, just innate curiosity. That appealing twist earns ItzaBitza by Sabi a coveted spot on the Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products of 2009.

Dr. Toy, Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, has been for many years one of the nation's and world’s leading experts on play, toys and children's products. Many parents, teachers and toy buyers use Dr. Toy’s guidance in making selections.

In addition to Dr. Toy, industry and the mainstream press have taken notice of this novel program. The incredible technology of ItzaBitza’s program knows when your child is drawing a house, even if the house looks like a banana or a boat! The game combines reading sentences with drawing to enforce reading comprehension in a way that your child feels the positive self-esteem that comes with successfully completing a difficult task. Because kids are reading for a purpose (to find out what they can draw next) and they then cross-reference the words with visual objects they have drawn, they are reading for meaning.

In announcing Sabi’s ItzaBitza as one of the 100 Best Children’s Products this year, Dr. Toy writes:

ItzaBitza Computer Game • $19.99 • Age Range 4-7
Children’s drawings and problem solving skills take center stage with ItzaBitza, an interactive, educational computer game for pre-readers that provides creative and artistic expression, problem solving, and fun. The characters, called Sketchies, have needs and wants that children must fulfill before advancing in the game. For example, each Sketchy needs a house, so children are prompted to draw one. Their creation, complete with windows, roof, and a door, is magically animated and the Sketchy can walk up to the door, open it, and walk into the house. Furniture appears in the windows and then players see their Sketchy inside of the house that they just drew. The Sketchy adjusts to the size of the house, so the size of the Sketchy and the house are always to scale. Throughout the game, children are presented with a series of tasks and challenges, earning a star for completed activities. Once a player has enough stars, access is granted to the next playset, or level. Each of the five ItzaBitza playsets, a home, a camp site, a haunted house, outer space, and a farm begin as a blank playset and players draw in different elements in their quest to attain all of the stars.

ItzaBitza most recently won a Creative Child Game of the Year Award. The game has earned a Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Award; an Editor’s Choice and Gold Award from The Children’s Technology Review; a five-star review from USA Today; The Toy Man Seal of Approval, eco-Recognition Seal, Award of Excellence and eChoice Award; an Editor’s Choice Game Award from the Computer Times; and a “Best Tech for Kids” mention in BusinessWeek.

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Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy, author of 15 books and hundreds of articles on toys and play, is the only PhD in Child Development evaluating the best developmentally appropriate toys and children’s products for Dr. Toy’s Guide ( with links to many related useful sites and resources for parents, teachers, children, and toy enthusiasts. Dr. Toy, author of Dr. Toy's Smart Play/Smart Toys, a book that provides tools to enhance the child's “PQ” (Play Quotient). The book is published in the US and in China, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Russia, Spain and Thailand.

About Sabi , Inc.
ItzaBitza and Living Ink® began as a research effort led by mother of two, Margaret Johnson within Microsoft Corporation. During the fourth year of research, core members of the team spun-off and started Sabi, Inc. Microsoft maintains an equity share based on Sabi’s licensing of the research work. The core team members at Microsoft were game designers and developers who had a successful track record working with video game consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox. The team collaborated with Dr. John Bransford and his learning science team, which included young child reading specialist Dr. Diana Sharp. ItzaBitza is the first product from Sabi, Inc. For more information visit