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Memrise Mobile: Black Ops

We’ve been hard at a work for a few years now, building out the Memrise site. With more than 100 million things learned by more than half a million learners, we’re proud how far we’ve come. We’re especially proud of the creativity of our learning community- by streets the best on the web, now producing tens of thousands of mems every day.

From the earliest days, though, if there’s one thing our community has asked for, it’s the capacity to take their learning on the go. To be able to learn on a plane, or bus, or while wandering around a shop. To be able to take all the quiet moments over the course of a day, and make sure that they are filled with awesome, brain-boosting learning.

We are frankly well overdue some mobile apps. Apologies for the delay. To make it worth the wait, it was clear to us the kind of app we needed to bring to the table: it had to work not just on iPhones, but also Android. We’re not snobs. The app had to support almost all of the many kinds of courses on Memrise, as well as allow special mobile-optimised ones. We wanted to ensure that the app worked offline from the get-go, because we wanted those users who go on the underground to be able to learn just as well as those who sit in wifi hotspots.

As well as all that, of course, the app had to provide all the astonishing learning goodness of Memrise itself. And this was just the basic spec, the minimal viable product to get the ball rolling. By the end of the year, we want the app to have a quality of gameplay and compulsiveness of learning equivalent to the very best mobile games, far beyond what’s seen in any contemporary learning product.

How on earth do you find a team capable of pulling that off?

We obviously needed people that knew how to deliver at the highest level. The Brazil 1970 of mobile talent. Where could such a team be found? We trawled through other education apps, but found nothing with the production quality that we were looking for. Even the “best” games on the app store were largely insipid, delight-less and painfully unpolished. We scoured and searched for someone who could deliver the quality that your learning deserves!

Finally, our quest was rewarded: we stumbled upon the dream team: Jack “the skydiver” Hobbs, Jason “Jackie Chan” Chin, John “the duffelcoat” Duffles and team lead Nicholas “topiary Swan” Hodges.

These are the guys that brought Call of Duty Zombies and Lara Croft to mobile, pros who were bringing high end games to mobile before the iPhone even existed. They have got what it takes.

Three months later and Nick, John, Jason and Jack have brought the new Memrise mobile app to the brink of release. It is a thing of beauty, and it will be with you soon: we’re submitting the apps this week!

As producer John Duffill, says “we nailed the whole zombie killing thing. Then we asked ourselves, “what other mountains are there to climb?”. When we chatted with the Memrise crew, it immediately became apparent that here was a challenge fit for our skills: making learning Russian, Arabic, Chinese and the rest so fun that clubbers would get stuck in after a hard night out, and go blitzy witzy. So we’re thrilled to be getting stuck in.”

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