Update Newness: Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas

Rad rhythm game sensation Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas by Disco Pixel has been updated in the App Store. Can this be true?

Here’s what’s new:
New levels. New levels that walk players through the more advanced mechanics.
Skip to any played level when questing for gold medals. No need to start at the beginning of a stage.
Super hi res. It now looks gorgeous and crisp on massive retina displays from the iPhone 6+ to the iPad Air 2.
Revamped tutorial. What, you haven’t played yet? This one’s for you.


As of this moment it’s on the front page of the App Store under Best New Game Updates. Check it out!


Snow-Stopper Sale!

Close a winter of record snowfall with record low prices on games in the App Store!
Sayonara Snow Sale

The indie game community of Boston, fed up with bitter cold, are uniting to welcome Spring. Not by burying college kids in the snow like last year (still sorry). But by putting video games on sale! Boston’s indie game developers, excited at the prospect of putting snow shovels in storage (maybe), are lowering prices on iOS games in the Apple App Store. Wicked low temperatures are no match for wicked low prices! What games are we talking about?

Counting KingdomThe Counting Kingdom $2.99$0.99 Magical Math Tower Defense. Long winters make the monsters grumpy and they’re on the attack.



Jungle RumbleJungle Rumble $3.99$0.99 Rhythm Puzzle Romp. Monkeys and bananas and sunshine AND NO SNOW.



AaaaaaaaaaaAaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! $3.99$0.99 Base Jumping Action. The game that inspired Bostonians to jump off buildings into piles of snow.



Jack LumberJack Lumber $3.99$0.99 Log Chopping Swiper. The trees may have killed his granny, but his flannel kept him through the winter.



PWNPWN $2.99$0.99 Cyber Strategy. 80s hacking movies were way better than 80s ski films. 



Agent HiggsAgent Higgs $1.99$0.99 Particle Physics Thinker. The Higgs Boson is rarer than a snowball in July. 



Girls Like RobotsGirls Like Robots $2.99$0.99 Seating Arrangement Puzzler. Maximize happiness with etiquette, empathy, and snowballs. 



Go Home DinosaursGo Home Dinosaurs $4.99$1.99 Barbecue Tower Defense. There’s nothing better on a spring day than a dinosaur chop on the grill. 



Monster Loves YouMonster Loves You $2.99$0.99 Monster Adventure. Eat the three little pigs. 


Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas released for iOS

Jungle Rumble

Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas!

The world got a little freakier on May 1, 2014 as Disco Pixel released their genre-bending rhythm game, Jungle Rumble. The app store featured it on the front page. It jumped to the top of the music game charts. It ushered in a new era of world peace and prosperity. One of these statements is an exaggeration. You can find it in the app store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jungle-rumble-freedom-happiness/id816012589 Or if you prefer reading about something before spending your hard earned dough, you can check out some reviews here: Indie Gems 148 Apps Pocket Gamer Look at it soar up the charts! numberonezoom

RIP Hiroshi Yamauchi


Video games lost a great presence last week with the passing of Nintendo chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi. Who was he? How did he change the world? And why should you care about a senior executive in Nintendo mega game corp?
Wealth did not make Yamauchi’s childhood easy. He was the child of a broken home. He came of age working in a military factory in a war torn nation. When he became president of Nintendo, at 21, it was in a poisoned atmosphere of his grandfather dying, feuding with family members, and stepping into an organization that didn’t trust the fiery young man.
Shiny, blinky electronics giant Nintendo has roots in the Meiji era of Japan. It started in the 1880s making hanafuda—playing cards used by the yakuza in underworld gambling dens. When Yamauchi took the reigns, decades later, hanafuda was still the main business. In the 50s, Yamauchi introduced plastic coated cards, a twist that led to market domination. Yamauchi signed a licensing deal with Disney and sold cards to a huge untapped market of kids (who, needless to say, typically didn’t set foot into those smoky underworld gambling dens).

They sought growth in different markets. They made instant rice. They invested in a love hotel. They built a vacuum. All failures. What sold was the Ultra Hand, a robot grip at the end of an accordion like arm. Toys worked for them. They tweaked the display of the increasingly common electronic calculator to make electronic games. Game & Watch took off. Video games worked for them. That is how Nintendo, and Hiroshi Yamauchi, entered my life on the drizzly playgrounds of early 80s London: as a tweaked calculator in an orange plastic clamshell where a janky image of a gorilla jerked between two different body poses.

Decades before smartphones and social networking, Video games had been the hot tech sector. However by 1985 the industry had crashed. Conventional wisdom declared video games a fad—just like recent history examples the hula hoop and pet rock. The toy industry told Nintendo that the video game fad had passed, that the princess was in another castle. In the face of conventional wisdom, Nintendo bet the company to get the Nintendo Entertainment System into a single region of a single retail chain. Anybody who has heard of Super Mario Bros. and everyone who has played Zelda knows the ending to this story. Nintendo spent the following decades jumping from success to success, becoming more profitable than Goldman Sachs at one point.

So what was it about Hiroshi Yamauchi that made this possible? What made this guy a visionary? Was it that the Famicom released in 1983 had a modem port, foreseeing the future of digital distribution and network gaming? No. Something much more fundamental.

Yamauchi understood that you need to make awesome without the overhead. When his plastic coated cards took off, he realized that a small change could make a huge difference. The Game & Watches were commodity calculators with a different LCD. The black and white, blocky pixels of the Gameboy played Tetris. Nobody knew what played on fancy color screens and networking equipped Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear. Everybody is familiar with the Wii. While a snarky game press complained that it was merely two gamecubes duct-taped together, Nintendo couldn’t produce enough to meet demand for three years. You can use the fancy Japanese term 枯れた技術の水平思考 if you want to sound as wise as Miyagi-san revealing deep truths to Daniel.

Yamauchi understood that you made great video games by empowering creators. The nerd canon has revered places for the likes of Gunpei YokoiShigeru Miyamoto, and Satoshi Tajiri. Yokoi was plucked off of the assembly line to make the Ultra Hand. Miyamoto was asked to make what became Donkey Kong, and was enabled to make sequels. That culture of enabling creators supported Tajiri for six years making Pokemon. At the dawn of video games Atari thought of the industry as gorgeous high-tech boxes to make your TV blink, the games themselves being shovelware. 30 years after ET the game was cranked out in time for Christmas, we know which philosophy has stood the test of time.

Yamauchi understood that failure is as natural a part of the creative process as getting up in the morning. They found success with toys only after they built a portfolio of failures from love hotels to instant rice. If you made a list of Nintendo’s world beating successes, from Mario to the DS, it would be long. However if you made a list of Nintendo’s huge public failures, from the virtual boy to even the Wii U, it would also be long. Few large companies are as fearless as Nintendo, and is a direct result of Yamauchi’s grasping search for success outside of playing cards.

Yamauchi was a great man. The world is a better place thanks to him. He will be missed.

Boston Loves Big Sushi!

Big Sushi logo

John and Landon run a podcast at BigSushi.fm. They talk to video game creators to get the stories behind the games… what inspires us, what troubles us, what our goals are. They have spoken to three of us at the Indie Game Collective.

Trevor Stricker of Disco Pixel:

Ichiro Lambe, Dave Evans and Michael Carriere of Dejobaan, Hybrid Mind and Zapdot:

Ziba Scott of Popcannibal:

Alex Schwartz of Owlchemy Labs:



Kids, these days! They phone it in (when they play video games)

Hypothetical Handheld

Schoolboy me had an orange plastic clamshell that opened up to reveal two screens of Donkey Kong. If you were good, you could jump from the girders on the bottom screen to reach the top screen, and jump on more girders.

But now, poor Nintendo is on the wrong side of a trend. The stock has been floating down over the years like Mario in his raccoon suit. Something disruptive this way comes: That glass slab in your pocket. A smartphone plays games just as well as anything dreamed up by famed Nintendo designer Gunpei Yokoi.

Read it all in the Boston Globe.

Trevor is currently making Jungle Rumble. No classic handhelds were harmed in the creation of this article.