Spokanites pursue Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake | People
It's Zelda meets Adventure Time. It's a puzzle game targeting every nostalgic bone in your gamer body. It's Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake.
Three Spokane natives are closing in on funding their first title release under their video game production company, SleepNinja.
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is a puzzle-style game that challenges gamers as well as being the "cutest game on Kickstarter."
“We were juggling between two games: The other game idea is a little more risky and ambitious, so we decided to go with the (Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake) idea because it was a little more doable for our first game,” creative director Justin Baldwin said.
Baldwin, along with Brandon Mereno and Alex Atkins – all of Spokane – have been working on the game since the summer of 2011, but have been pulling inspiration for the game their entire lives.
“We strive to capture the nostalgia of playing video games in your best friend's basement,” the game's kickstarter page reads. “Remember the days before Wiki? On the playground friends would talk endlessly about secret levels, rumored play modes and other game-related lore … We carry these sentiments with us as adults and game developers and strive to recreate them for a new generation.”
Baldwin has been making games since he was in high school, and has a "day job" with Seven2 – a Spokane startup – making online games for clients like Nickelodeon and others he is not allowed to disclose.
“I have the kind of brain that doesn't like to shut off,” Baldwin said. “I have a hard time sleeping because my brain is always going through ideas trying to solve problems.”
So far the game's Kickstarter has raised $13,198 of its $15,000 goal. Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake has an estimated release in August of this year.
“We're all used to working on deadlines,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said that they preferred using Kickstarter to secure funds because that way the creators would be completely free creatively.
“Sometimes when you work with investors they want to inject their influence,” he said. “We want to create a more personal feel.”
Despite working for Seven2, Baldwin and Atkins are living in Portland, while Moreno is based out of Texas. The three communicate via Skype “pretty much all night” when they need to discuss the project.
The more you give on the game's Kickstarter, the more perks you get when the game eventually launches. For instance, if you give $25 you will get your name in the credits, and if you give $500, you will “get a chance to be a part of the game! Immortalize thyself by naming one of the five merchant monster bros in the game!”
But the group's approach all along, according to Baldwin, is to create something new that also hearkens to gaming days past.
“I haven't seen a game try this art style, I've seen it on t-shirts and posters, but never in a game,” Baldwin said.
To give money to the project or for more info on Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake - including a personal plea from Baldwin - visit the game's Kickstarter.