A Young Girl’s Wish is Granted by Make-a-Wish, Filament Games and McGraw-Hill

Published May 3, 2016

Gaming fan brought to life as animated character in innovative elementary science curriculum

At McGraw-Hill, there’s nothing we love more than helping children achieve their dreams. Usually, that means helping students in the classroom, but when we heard that we might be able to help a Wisconsin 9-year-old fulfill her one true wish, we jumped at the opportunity!


Abby at Make-a-Wish

A lot of kids love video games, and Abby is no exception. When the Wish Granters from the Make-a-Wish Foundation came to visit Abby to find out what her one true wish was, she immediately said she wanted to be in a video game with animals where she could drive a car.” It was an unusual request, but Make-A-Wish Wisconsin began looking for a game developer who might be up to the task of turning Abby into a star.

As luck would have it, Wisconsin is home to Filament Games, one of our game-based learning partners. Filament was working on a new McGraw-Hill game-based component for Inspire Science, our core science curriculum for grades K-5, when the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted us—and the game just happened to need a new lead character. We were thrilled to help make Abby’s wish come true by doing what we do best – inspiring and motivating kids to learn by integrating game-based technologies into our learning models, enhancing student comprehension and retention.

Abby visited Filament's studios to meet the development team, see concept art, and play a demo version of the game. Later, she worked with the art team to choose her character's different outfits and phrases she would say. In October, Abby's friends and family were invited to a surprise unveiling party hosted by Make-A-Wish at Filament, where Abby was able to see the finished game component and play it for the first time. Abby had so much fun being the celebrity guest at the unveiling, where she was greeted by her “fans” and signed autographs as she walked through a sparkly balloon-filled “red carpet.” 

Abby's Character

Now, Abby is the star of Animobile Adventure, an educational game used in elementary classrooms across the country. Players drive around, exploring worlds and learning about animal adaptions, and using what they learn to solve challenges. Abby’s character, Ruby, is the player’s guide and companion, who, as Filament producer Maxwell Zierath puts it, "joins players on adventures around the world, discovering animals and giving out advice and tips."

"I just loved watching her face throughout this experience," says Abby's mother. "Abby doesn't usually show a lot of emotion, but you could tell just how much this wish really meant to her. We're so grateful to everyone who made it happen."