Dave Binkard and his wife Sammie can begin teaching game design classes this fall, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that earned them $3,300.

Not only was their campaign fully funded, but they exceeded their original goal of $2,500 by $800. (That’s math!) Backers will receive awards like PODS magnets, T-shirts and can coozies.

PODS game design

Binkard poses with the new arrival of computers for the students!

The highest backers received enrollment codes for students. Binkard personally thanked Margaret Sankey, a professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, for funding students to attend classes and bringing the Kickstarter to full funding.

“Margaret Sankey, a truly wonderful person and good friend not only to us, but to the community as a whole, has graciously funded the remainder of our Kickstarter by sponsoring classes for children!” he wrote on their website.

From Arcade to Classroom

Now, the work begins. The duo has a permanent residence in the Moorhead Center Mall, in a former arcade known as the Pirate Den.

“Hopefully we can breathe some life into the mall,” Binkard said at the Game Maker’s meet-up last night.

A noble goal.

Sammie Binkard has been busy painting, and the two have scored furniture to turn the space into a classroom.


Sammie Binkard reppin’ the PODS swag

As a nod to the room’s former use, and because it’s cool, they are also planning to install some older game consuls like Nintendo Genesis and older Play Stations.

“These are consuls these kids never got a chance to play on,” Binkard said. “This is a way parents can show their kids games they used to play.”

The space will also be open for hosting parties; Binkard sees particular potential themed parties, like a Minecraft party where everyone can play Minecraft together.

The Saturday game design classes will begin on September 12. Binkard said the space will be open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with extended hours during the holidays and school breaks.

Barbara Roth, a local parents of a former PODS student, expressed excitement that the venture is seeing success.

“My son really enjoyed his 4 day camp at MSUM this summer with PODS Game Designs, and can’t wait to take more classes in the future using different software,” she wrote. “We are thrilled to see something like this in the FM area.”

For more information, check out PODS on Facebook or on Twitter @PODSgamedesign

Or check out their website, www.podsgamedesign

Photos courtesy of PODS Game Design.

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Marisa Jackels