Local Developer Gives Back to Charity with Puzzle Game

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"It's the best jigsaw game on the computer,” said Brad Dwyer, founder of Puzzlings.

It’s high praise from the developer of a Facebook game, but some local charities are sure to echo his endorsement.

Seven years ago, Dwyer, A Des Moines native created a Facebook game called "Hatchlings." He did it while he was supposed to be studying for a final as a computer programming student at Iowa State.

In January, he decided to build on the success of his first game by creating "Puzzlings."

"It's just like if you bought a jigsaw puzzle at the store," Dwyer said. "The pieces are all dumped out on the screen."

All of those pieces have a purpose that extends far beyond the computer screen.

"Charity puzzles had always been something we've been talking about," Dwyer told Channel 13 News.

Last week, talk turned into action. Dwyer created a new puzzle each day benefiting several national and local causes.

"A donation that we made was to an organization called StudentRND that runs events around the country. Our donation is going specifically towards a code day event in Iowa,” Dwyer said.

Every time a user completed the daily charity puzzle, a donation ranging from 10-50 cents was made in their honor.

It may not seem like much until you consider the fact that Puzzlings has 400,000 users worldwide.

"A food pantry in Des Moines, we were able to provide meals for 450 families in the Des Moines area,” Dwyer said.

Donations were also made to help victims in Nepal, adopt a sea turtle, and to aid Alzheimer’s research.

While the promotion is over for now, Dwyer says users will likely have the chance to play for a cause again soon. Charity puzzles were popular with the customers.

"I've had people write in from all across the United States with different charities we can support and other causes we can raise money for," Dwyer said. "I think this definitely struck a nerve and it's something we'd consider doing again in the future."

The game is free to play on Facebook although larger puzzles can be purchased.

You can currently play the game on your computer, iPad, Android tablet, or Kindle Fire.

Between Dwyer's two games, he has attracted about 10 million users.