Virtual Programming has released a Mac OS X version of Sabi Games’ ItzaBitza, an education game in which children’s drawings come to life and help them develop their reading skills, thanks to a drawing recognition system called Living Ink.

ItzaBitza stars Sketchy, who asks children to draw things that he or she (depending on the gender chosen by the child) puts to good use. For example, Sketchy will grow or shrink to fit into a house. Then Sketchy will ask the player to complete a task to earn a star, such as drawing additional items for Sketchy to use, or finding hidden objects.

Speech bubbles containing simple words also appear. When the child holds the mouse over each word, Sketchy says it, enabling the child to not only identify those words but also understand the concept of reading words from left to right, top to bottom, says Virtual Programming CEO Mark Hinton. As children draw objects and point at words, they also develop valuable computer mouse skills.

As children complete tasks and accumulate stars, they unlock new areas of Sketchy’s world. ItzaBitza features five environments: Home Sweet Home, Let’s Go Camping, Play in Space, A Farm Life, and A Very Scary Haunted House. Children will always have a new environment to explore and new tasks to complete.

ItzaBitza, which requires and Intel-based Mac, is available now at Virtual Programming’s Deliver2Mac digital download service ( for US$24.95.