Mike Fishtal, the founder of Pixel Academy had an unsual childhood. Like most children of the 80’s, Mike loved video games. But unlike most kids, Mike not only wanted to play video games, he wanted to create them.
"My father was a computer programmer" Mike explains, "so I started learning about code on a old Radio Shack computer. Soon after I got a Commodore 64 computer and fell in love with the classics like King's Quest and Carmen San Diego. I was addicted."
Mike read everything he could get his hands on about creating games, even pouring through a 2,000 page programming book just to learn more. But regardless of how hard he tried, the task of learning how to create the games he loved was just too much for someone his age.
Mike still pursued his passion for coding and 3D design as hobbies, but after graduating college wound up taking a job at Nickelodeon where he began working.
Little did he know that job would bring him right back to being a kid itching to code video games.
Aligning Passion with a Profitable Outcome
Mike credits his time at Nickelodeon for helping him to realize that his dream career not only existed, but could propel him into worlds he never thought possible. Mike was pushed head-first into the world of 3D game design and tasked with teaching himself the 3D design process as part of a team.
This incredible learning environment was a phenomenal incubator for Mike’s creative talent. He went on to become the lead designer of Nicktropolis – the most popular children's virtual world of its time.
Mike credits his understanding of kid’s mindsets and unfailing love for all things fun for his ability to create such a beloved game – he considers himself a kid at heart and loved every day of his time at Nickelodeon.
Turning Childlike Passion into a Grown Up Career
Mike’s time at Nickelodeon and the success of Nicktroplis brought him right back to his passion of being a kid learning to code the games he wanted to play.
"As a kid I knew how exciting it would be to create video games” Mike explains “but as an adult I thought about how great it would be to teach other kids to create their own games… without having to read 2,000 page books to learn!
This discovery pushed Mike to find a way to educate kids on creative digital technology, and he left the corporate world to launch Pixel Academy. From using 3D glasses to creating video games and learning guitar skills digitally, he created a full schedule of classes for kids and travels around the NY area teaching pop-up classes.
Mike has turned to Fundable to raise his initial funding to get the project fully off the ground. His initial launch will help him secure a permanent home for Pixel Academy and set his dream in motion.
"Pixel Academy is my vision to bring the exciting world of digital media creation to the next generation of kids. And it also lets me be a kid, too, and play just like I did when I was 11."