I have three boys so video games are a way of life around here. Our Wii and two DSes get daily work-outs. I am often in the middle of passionate discussions about Mario, Kirby and virtual bowling.
I recently found out that one of my son’s classmate’s father invented Roogoo – a cool new video game for both the DS and Wii.
How does one go about inventing a video game?
I went straight to the source of any family’s information – MOM, and got the story.
This story spans three years and many sacrifices made by their family. I am going to let Robin tell you in her own words…
My husband is an artist, and after being in the gaming industry for about 10 years he began to see a trend in games where violence and shock value replaced good creative game play. It was during this time he was asked to be one of the founding professors at the SMU Guildhall school of game development. As he was teaching there he encouraged his students to continue to challenge themselves to stay true to creative game play and artistic design. He later left Guildhall to start his own game company on that principle. We took our savings, and with the help of family and friends, started to design our first games under the company name SpiderMonk Entertainment. SpiderMonk started with an artist/game designer (my husband), and his partner, the programmer. Our first office was in the room above our barn nick named The Spider Shack . Over the next year we grew to a whooping 5 employees and moved into a real office! Our main focus at the time was mobile gaming. As we transitioned into console games we realized how difficult it was to break into the gaming industry. By no small miracle we were able to get the attention of Microsoft and approval for development on the XBOX platform. Our team grew to 14 very talented artist and programmers. In 2 years SpiderMonk has released an XBOX and PC title, and as of this last week our latest release of Roogoo on the Wii and DS. We are very proud of Roogoo. It is a game that has won some awards and received recognition as having innovative game design. Despite it's cute and friendly appearance it has some challenging game play. With 3 different levels of difficulty it will satisfy gamers from all ages and skill levels. Try out the multi-player mode and get the whole family playing.
After hearing the story we had to play Roogoo at home and check it out. I turned the video game play and assessment over to the experts at my house…Ryan(8) and Reid(6). They started with the version for the Wii. Ryan tried it on the casual setting and worked himself through several of the levels. The play reminds me of a shape sorter where you need to make sure the square pegs go in the square hole and the round pegs in the round hole. The concept is much more sophisticated than that explanation, but that seems to be the familiar thread through the different levels.
The boys really enjoyed it. Ryan did most of the playing because Reid is still honing his Wii skills for more complicated games. Ryan thought that it was pretty easy to learn and he progressed through the levels at a good pace. He has not finished the game yet.
The boys also tried playing Roogoo on the DS. Ryan thought the game for the DS was a little more difficult, but he was able to progress more rapidly (I don’t know enough to know if this is because he had experience with the game on the Wii). He liked this version as well.
Overall, two thumbs up from two boys. I like it because it is non-violent and seems to make the boys think a little while playing.
Because Roogoo was invented by a small company with limited funds and little traction, it is not widely distributed. Roogoo can be found at GameStop, Toys R Us, and Wal-Mart or ordered online from these stores. You can find out more about the game at the Roogoo Guru website.