Dig-It! Games, an independent developer of interactive educational games founded by a former archaeologist and middle school teacher, today unveiled its newest Mayan Mysteries game character, “Anna,” designed by 9th grade student Michaela M. The design was submitted as an entry in Dig-It! Games’ first ever character drawing contest. Students were invited to create a new character to join the Mayan Mysteries team on their newest adventures, coming Spring 2014.

Michaela, a student at Monticello Academy in West Valley City, Utah, beat out submissions from students across the country, including seven of her own classmates. Her drawing and character description for Anna, a 23-year-old archaeologist, earned more than 700 total votes by the general public on Facebook. Michaela will receive an adapted version of her character drawing, along with a 16GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and a free Single User online license of the new game.

“The public made an excellent choice in selecting Michaela’s illustration. We are very excited to reflect her hard work and thoughtful character description with a creative portrayal of Anna in Mayan Mysteries,” said Suzi Wilczynski, president and founder of Dig-It! Games. “As an honorary member of the Dig-It! Games development team, players will also find Michaela’s name added to the game’s credits.”

“I feel very lucky to have my character turned into a real person in a video game to be played by hundreds of people,” said Michaela. “They will be able to see my character in the video game. It feels great.”

Michaela entered the character drawing contest at the recommendation of Art Teacher Jordan Reasor.

“When I first introduced the contest to my 8th and 9th graders, we played the trial version of Mayan Mysteries online as a class to get a better understanding of the Mayan Mysteries team,” said Reasor. “I was impressed by how engaging the game was. My students were eager to participate. I was also impressed by the learning that took place in just five minutes. What a great tool for educators.”

For Reasor’s support of her students, Dig-It! Games donated a Mayan Mysteries Classroom Edition license, a $149.99 value, to Monticello Academy. The Classroom Edition will enable up to 30 students to access and play the award-winning Mayan Mysteries educational online game. With a built-in Teacher Management System, educators can track individual student and class progress within the game and also against national learning standards.

“Thanks to Ms. Reasor’s help, we received more than a half-dozen contest entries from her class, each displaying great detail and thought in their designs and descriptions,” said Suzi Wilczynski, president and founder of Dig-It! Games. “We can’t wait to hear how both the students and teachers enjoy our Classroom Edition of Mayan Mysteries.”

Mayan Mysteries, first introduced in October 2012, is a one-of-a-kind puzzle-based game that takes kids on an exciting journey through history to learn about the ancient Maya civilization. Players are turned into archaeologists as they embark upon an expedition with “Team Q” and gather clues hidden across ancient sites in order to catch the secretive thief, Ladrone. Michaela’s new character Anna, recreated by Dig-It! Games partner FableVision, will join the adventure as an archaegological assistant, excited to learn about the Maya culture and willing to get her hands dirty. The final chapter of Mayan Mysteries, with Anna in her debut role, starts Spring 2014.

About Dig-It! Games©

Dig-It! Games is an independent game developer dedicated to encouraging kids to explore the world around them. The company designs and develops age-appropriate games specifically for the important middle school demographic to ensure engaging and educational experiences for children in grades 5 and above. At Dig-It! Games, we know that fun and learning can, and should, go hand in hand.

To learn more about Dig-It! Games, please visit http://dig-itgames.com. For media inquiries, please contact Elynsey Price at Stanton Communications at (202) 223-4933 or eprice(at)stantoncomm(dot)com.

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