Raul Gutierrez is no stranger when it comes to designing games. As the founder of Brooklyn-based app company, TinyBop, Gutierrez is responsible for the series of apps, Digital Toys, that gave kids the tools to build their own robots and machines. The latest addition to the series, Infinite Arcades, lets kids be the players and the game’s designers, too.
The app allows kids to build five different arcade-style games inspired by 90’s classics: pinball, ball and paddle, maze, platformer, and adventure. They also have the option of building a game completely from scratch. The app provides kids with a toolkit which has all the essentials for constructing a game. Kids have the ability to build everything from the terrain to the soundtrack as well as any obstacles and enemies that might be encountered. Once the game has been built, kids can choose from a list of playable characters, such as a floating eyeball named Jellyclops or a monster name Chompers, to use in their game.
“The characters were a launch pad for the whole app,” says Holly Graham, the production designer who led the design team together with Roza Gazarian, a senior developer. “We wanted to develop characters with really distinct personalities and interactions, but still leave it open to imagination.” Each playable character comes with a complete backstory, but there’s still plenty of creative wiggle room for kids to use their imagination.“We wanted to give kids enough open-ended pieces so that they can map their imagination onto them,” says Gutierrez.