For the last few months over here in the Sparcade design studio we’ve been zapping bugs.
In fact, every day we’ve been dodging evil spiders, blasting electro-dragonflies, destroying deadly space-age scorpions, and starting now, you can too. Today we are proud to launch a heart-pumping re-imagining of an epic franchise that stands apart as one of the earliest icons of competitive arcade gaming: Centipede® from ATARI®.
As Sparcade’s VP of Design, I get the honor of representing my insanely talented team and sharing with you a little bit about how we designed Sparcade, and how we brought to life the world’s first app where players can compete for money in the biggest and most beloved game franchises of all time.
When we launched Sparcade last month on the iOS App Store, our collection of new, competitive mobile versions of PAC-MAN™, SCRABBLE®, TETRIS® and Wheel of Fortune®, was just the first wave. We’ve got a bunch of best-in-class games launching in the next few months, and we’re dedicated to making each one a can’t-miss installment of these beloved franchises.
Looking ahead, I’m also excited to announce the next game launching in Sparcade — a massive, mobile franchise that helped re-define the puzzle genre as we know it: Two Dots.
Coming Together in Sparcade
It’s super cool to see Centipede and Two Dots standing side by side in the world of Sparcade. We drew much of our inspiration for Sparcade from the old coin-op arcades of the 80s. Like those arcades, Sparcade is at its core a social experience. Everything in Sparcade is done in the context of playing against an opponent – it wraps players in the pulsing beat of an energized community and lets them rip into their favorite games, competing, challenging, and basking in the glory of their victories.
In the 1980s the video game arcade became a social mecca for a generation, but it was also a hotbed for innovation in design and storytelling, giving birth to lots of new characters in popular culture. Sparcade pays tribute to that legacy by bringing together different story worlds players can enter across many games spanning multiple genres, with lots of ways to take part in the community, show off their skills, and experience new challenges to master with each new release.
Centipede and Two Dots are very different games with very different histories, but like two different cabinets calling to you in a coin-op arcade, they both come to life in new vibrant ways in Sparcade’s competitive social framework.
The Epic Centipede Challenge
Centipede challenges players to compete in the ultimate bug battle, destroying waves of Centipedes, Spiders, Fleas and more, to score the most points in four-minute matches. Each wave brings with it a new objective, testing a player’s dexterity, accuracy and strategy. The team, both from our internal Sparcade studio as well as from Joju Games (our awesome development partners on Centipede, as well as PAC-MAN), have undertaken a huge effort to relight the flame of this arcade classic and bring it to Sparcade.
It’s a rare opportunity to get to remake a masterpiece and when our team first picked up the mantle of Centipede, we were blown away by how complex and brilliant the original design was. One of the first things we had to figure out was how to keep all those imaginative elements that were built for long-form strategic sessions and pack them into a variant that plays out in four-minute matches.
We were able to refine the design of Centipede so it revolves around a goal-based strategy, while staying true to its original brilliance. We worked hard to rethink the look and feel, keeping the game both familiar and respectful to the original idea, but retooling it for contemporary mobile graphics and play patterns. It’s an honor to hear Atari recognize the design effort that went into re-imagining Centipede in Sparcade. Here’s what Atari COO Todd Shallbetter shared with us:
“With so many classic games in the Atari library, some dating back more than forty years, we understand the importance of sharing arcade experiences with future generations. Partnering with GSN Games on the release of Centipede in Sparcade has given us a great opportunity to live that philosophy. Kenny and his team, along with Joju Games, have demonstrated a great understanding of Centipede’s core appeal, and have managed to remake this masterpiece in a way that doesn’t sacrifice any of what made it great in the first place. Thanks to Sparcade, Centipede today is just as thrilling as it was in 1980.”
Two Dots on Deck in Sparcade
It’s been a privilege to team up with Dots to deliver a new way to play this beautiful, award-winning puzzle game Two Dots. Two Dots is a contemporary blockbuster, and we’re working hard to allow fans of the franchise to compete and connect in Sparcade. The Dots’ CEO and Co-Founder Paul Murphy thinks we’re on the right track:
“We specifically designed Two Dots to provide a zen-like experience, but when Sparcade wanted to turn things up a notch and add a tournament twist, we knew our fans would be game. The Sparcade team struck just the right balance between highlighting Two Dots’ inherently soothing state and adding a competitive edge. We can’t wait to see how the Dots’ community embraces the launch of Two Dots in Sparcade in the coming months.”
We’re getting ready to release Two Dots soon, and I look forward to sharing even more details with you on its design then. For now, sign up today to be notified as soon as Two Dots launches in Sparcade.
In addition to these great new games, we’ve also made some new updates to Sparcade, including notifications for Friend Challenges, a new way to review all your Token and real-money transaction history, along with zapping a ton of bugs with our Centipede lasers. Check out our release notes for more details on what’s new in Sparcade.
It’s been a very cool honor to have been asked by Greg Canessa, SVP and General Manager of Sparcade, to lead the design team on Sparcade. It’s a team made up of brilliant game designers, artists, animators and audio engineers who have worked so hard to light a new spark in competitive social gaming. I am looking forward to all the new stories that will be born here. Stay tuned for more updates soon.
Make sure to download Sparcade, available on the iOS App Store at: http://sparcade.me/download-now