As we mentioned in our “Where do Game Ideas come from?” post, we’re creating an article series that focuses on how our game ideas came to be and shed some light on those life experiences and other factors that shape our designs.
We recently released our first kids game, Flip the Chip Jr., which is a simple chip-flipping game that has over 200 chips players will collect as they flip. Simple and fun, yet very engaging, Flip the Chip Jr. allows parents to interact with their younger kids as they teach their kids about the objects on the chips. Today, our co-founder Drew Jones is going to talk about the origin of Flip the Chip Jr.
So how did the idea for Flip the Chip Jr. come about?
The game idea came from a funny thing that happened during the development of our full Flip the Chip game. At that time the team had been working on the game for only a few weeks and spent the last couple of days working through the core mechanics of the flip physics and testing the heads/tails results.
It was a Friday, and I’d decided to take my 2-year-old son Cooper to go see his grandpa, aunt and cousins who live 2 and a half hours north. So my wonderful wife helped (As usual) get my son ready for the trip while I got the newest build of the game loaded on my phone so I could test it over the weekend. Once my son and I were ready, we loaded up, said bye to the wife, and headed out on the road.
About an hour and a half into the trip, Cooper started to get a little fussy. I’m sure he was bored with the few toys he had and the scenery outside was nothing more than corn fields. At that time, Cooper saw me look at my phone and he started to say “game, game, game” (those of you who have young kids know that I don’t have enough room to write how many times he said it in a row until I gave in.) We often let him play with some games on the phone. So I loaded up the current version of Flip the Chip, which only had one chip design and all it did was allow the player to, well, flip the chip. Once I handed the phone to my son, his eyes lit up as he stared at the screen which, ironically, had the baby chip loaded as the chip design. Not really sure why we were using the baby chip for testing, but it’s pretty cute.
Once I gave him the phone, I angled the rear-view mirror of the car to be able to see what he was doing (Making sure he didn’t roll down the window and throw my new phone out the window.) Cooper started off just tapping the screen and watching the chip fly up in the air and land, then to his amazement he realized he could move the phone and (through the accelerometer) make the chip flip. This continued for at least 20 minutes, and was only interrupted by his giggles and the periodic words of “night night”. See, Cooper calls his pacifiers “Night Nights”, and he was talking about the pacifier on the baby chip design.
It was that exact moment that I thought: “We totally need to shell out Flip the Chip and make a simple version for the younger kids that just lets them flip and identify with all the cool objects on the chips!” Thus, Flip the Chip Jr. was born.
As I mentioned in that last post, those life experiences can be real influential…
Thank you Cooper, for your wonderful testing skills and guidance.