The Learning Company (TLC) is an American educational software company, founded in 1980. It produced a grade-based system similar to Knowledge Adventure's JumpStart series. The products for preschoolers through second graders feature Reader Rabbit, and software for more advanced students features The ClueFinders. The company also purchased the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium. The company has corporate offices in San Francisco and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The original The Learning Company was founded by Ann McCormick, Leslie Grimm, and Teri Perl, three educators who saw the Apple II as an opportunity to enhance the ability to teach young children concepts of math, reading and science, along with Warren Robinett, fresh from a stint at Atari. Part of the original funding for the company came from a National Science Foundation grant. Additional funding was provided by Jack Melchor, and Melchor Venture Partners, among others. The Learning Company first went public on April 28, 1992 - Morgan Stanley and Robertson, Stephens & Co. served as the lead underwriters. In 1995 TLC became the target of larger software firms interested in purchasing it. In that year a "bidding war" took place between Brøderbund and SoftKey, with the latter eventually acquiring TLC for $606 million in cash. SoftKey took up The Learning Company's name and continued acquiring other software companies including Mindscape, Inc. in March 1998 for $150 million and, ironically, former rival Brøderbund in June of the same year for $416 million. Mattel purchased the company in 1999 for $3.8 billion from the Canadian Entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary. , renaming it "Mattel Interactive". It has been called one of the worst acquisitions in corporate history. Mattel sold Learning Co. to Gores Technology Group, receiving $27.3 million for the unit. TLC, along with Brøderbund, is now a subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; however, some of the acquired entertainment holdings were sold to Ubisoft.
As of December 17, 2008, TLC closed its online store, leaving their products to be found at retail stores and other online distributors.
Reader Rabbit/ClueFinders series
- Grade-based titles
- Reader Rabbit Baby
- Reader Rabbit Toddler
- Reader Rabbit Preschool
- Reader Rabbit Kindergarten
- Reader Rabbit 1st Grade
- Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade (now sold as Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade: Classic)
- Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade: Mis-cheese-ious Dreamship Adventures
- The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Adventures
- The ClueFinders 4th Grade Adventures
- The ClueFinders 5th Grade Adventures
- The ClueFinders 6th Grade Adventures
- Other titles
- Reader Rabbit 1
- Reader Rabbit 2
- Reader Rabbit 3
- Reader Rabbit's Reading Journey
- Math Rabbit (Later changed to Reader Rabbit Math)
- The ClueFinders Math Adventures
- The ClueFinders Reading Adventures
- The ClueFinders Search and Solve Adventures
- The ClueFinders: The Incredible Toy Store Adventure!
- The ClueFinders: Mystery Mansion Arcade
- Caillou Magic Playhouse
- SpongeBob SquarePants Typing
- Some PBS Kids games
Super Solvers series
- Challenge of the Ancient Empires! (or Ancient Empires)
- Spellbound! (Later re-released as 'Leap Ahead! Spelling')
- Mission: T.H.I.N.K.
- Gizmos & Gadgets!
- Midnight Rescue! (Later re-released as 'Super Solvers Reading' and then 'Leap Ahead! 3rd Grade')
- OutNumbered! (Later re-released as 'Leap Ahead! 3rd Grade')
- Treasure Mountain!
- Treasure Mathstorm!
- Treasure Cove!
- Treasure Galaxy!
Carmen Sandiego series
- Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge
- Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge
- Note: When The Learning Company purchased Brøderbund Software, they gained the rights to the Carmen Sandiego series. Only the Carmen Sandiego games created by The Learning Company are included here. Note that some original Brøderbund games are now sold under The Learning Company name.
- Real World Series
- Adventure/Puzzle Games
- Trail Games
- Tools and Other Programs
- Other Early Educational Programs
- Magic Spells
- Bumble Games
- Bumble Plot
- Moptown Hotel
- Moptown Parade
- Juggles' Rainbow
- Juggles' House
Reference: The Gizmos & Gadgets! User's Guide Back Outside Cover
Continuity within game universes
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While it may not seem like it at first, many of the series of games do, indeed, involve each other in subtle ways that the developers may just want to sneak in, or otherwise. The ClueFinders games, although part of the same product line, appear to be set in their own universe.
The primary locations of the Reader Rabbit series are in Wordville. On the Wordville map in the front of the Reader Rabbit 3 User's Guide, Treasure Mountain can be seen. This seems to suggest that the two worlds are located relatively close to one another. Another location is Shady Glen, at which all the Super Solver games take place.
- Though Operation Neptune seems to be outside of the fantasy realm of the other games, one of the prizes in the Circus in Math Rabbit is the Neptune.
- In one of the data logs found in Operation Neptune, one of the scientists references Ancient Empires as one of the ways the scientists on the space exploration journey like to pass the time.