My name is Bob McDuff. I am 46 years old. I have known I have RP since I was very young. At an early age, I didn't know any better. Growing up, I knew I was different from the other kids. I wasn't able to play sports very well. I couldn't go out and play outside after dark. But the worse part was my teenage years. I couldn't go out with the gang at night. I couldn't get my driver's permit. You know what this is like
I was able to get a university degree in teaching. I was a language teacher in a business college for 24 years. But my condition finally forced me to quit my profession four years ago.
I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful daughter who really help me with my daily problems. But I had to keep on earning a living for myself and for my family. I did not want my experience to go to waste. And I did not want to stay home and do nothing.
I decided I could combine my two passions, teaching and trivia games. I thought I could invent one of those trivia games I loved playing so much. Because of my background in teaching, I wanted my game to be educational and fun. I wanted it to be a little more knowledge than trivia. I got to work. With my RP, working in front of a computer screen for any length of time is very difficult. Also, researching in books is difficult, even with lenses and added lighting. So, you can imagine that coming up with 4,200 questions was quite an adventure. I wrote all my questions and answers on cue-cards. My wife, Nicole, had the job of typing the questions on the computer.
After 3½ years of research, headaches, discouragement, ups, downs, etc., my very own Mc Wiz 2000 was born! In its first year, 10,000 copies of the game were sold. This is extraordinary, considering the small market (the province of Quebec) where I live. Nicole and I did everything ourselves, from research to conception to design to marketing and distribution. You can understand that, with RP, lugging cases of games into the retail stores, making radio and TV appearances, attending toy fairs, giving conferences, being away from familiar surroundings out of town, all these things take their toll on you. You do get tired and frustrated. But, the results were there.
Inspired by our success, I decided to introduce the game to the U.S. market. This meant I had to adapt my questions and translate them into English. Of course, I was a language teacher, so that helped. And Nicole was getting pretty good at typing! And I wanted to come out with a Junior version that could help all the children in America with their school subjects.
I began work with the school programs. I wanted to cover all the school subjects. I wanted to help kids with difficulties and those who had an easier time. I also wanted kids to learn about the arts, the famous painters, composers, authors, and musicians who made their mark in history. I also wanted the kids to have fun with the Disney classics. And I wanted an innovative means of keeping score. I thought of including jigsaw puzzles. Each child chooses a puzzle at the beginning of the game. Each time a child gives a correct answer, he is given a piece of puzzle. Whoever completes his puzzle first, wins the game.
I sent the game to be evaluated by Dr. Toy in San Francisco. All my years of hard work were rewarded. Mc Wiz Junior was presented with two Dr. Toy Awards. The first is in the category of "10 Best Games for 2001" and the second in the category of "100 Best Children's Products for 2001". Dr. Toy even took the time to write to me personally a few times. She told me she was quite impressed with my games. Do you have any idea how that made me feel?
My games are now available through Toys 'R' Us.com as well as a growing number of specialty toy retail stores across the U.S. and Canada. The process is slow due to the fact that I can't get around as fast and as much as I would like to. And all this takes a lot of money. When I walk into a bank for a loan to expand my company and the banker sees my cane, he asks me if I have a regular job that will pay for the loan if my project doesn't work
I think I have proven one thing at least to myself. There are a lot of things you can't do when you suffer from RP. But there are a lot of things you can do. My life is a happy one (most of the time except when I do business with a banker!!). I have a loving family. I earn an honest living. And I think that my work contributes to helping kids learn and to making older people happy. What more can I ask for?
My projects for the very near future? Guess what? I'm working on a new game. I'm working on an agreement with the Children's Miracle Network in which every game sold will send an amount to this extraordinary foundation that aids sick children across America.
You can visit my website at www.mcwiz.com