I’m a grizzled veteran of the computer game industry. Now, when did THAT happen? I started writing games in 1979 on my dad’s Apple ][+ computer, for fun. I also sang and did theater in high school, but stopped in college to study Architecture. Well, mostly architecture. What I really wanted to do was make theme parks, and architecture seemed as good a path as any.
After college, I worked various jobs, including as an Assistant Construction Manager at Great America, a theme park show systems programmer, and a video editor programmer before finally returning to videogames as a professional.
I coded for years. At Interplay, then ION Storm, then Monolith. I still loved theme parks, though. In 2002 I switched from hardcore games to the new field of casual games, and went from team sizes of 30 to team sizes of 2. Then casual gaming took off and, by dint of getting there first, I ended up leading teams that made casual games like Westward, Tradewinds, Cake Mania and Super Granny.
In 2007 I opened a new game studio for iWin, and put out two critically acclaimed casual games, Garden Defense and Coconut Queen, that didn’t sell at all. That kind of strained the relationship with iWin….and now I’m a freelancer, building (at last!) a game studio that I fully own. Want to play?
sorry to hear Coconut Queen didn’t sell at all : ( i wished i’d caught onto it sooner – just bought it last week, lol. i’m not at all into the build-a-lot type games, but i kept coming back to CCQ because of the wonderful disney-esque artwork. probably a lot of peeps were like me, not into the building games and used to less of a learning curve to get started. but once you settle in, this game is wonderful – now one of my favorites because it has terrific replay appeal with so many variations, beautiful graphics and vo work that doesn’t get stale. (funny and yes, “the hunk” does sound hot!) i only wish there was some kind of zoom-in, zoom-out feature (as w/ the equally wonderful ranch rush 2) so you can really appreciate the artwork up close 🙂 if u ever do a sequel – i’ll buy it sooner, ok? ; )
Is there any hope you’ll ever produce the intended sequel to Coconut Queen, sir? Or are the rights so tangled between you and iWin that it’s not a realistic possibility?
Hi George, and thanks for your comment.
I’m afraid that Coconut Queen didn’t even make back a tenth of its development costs, which were north of $300,000. No sane company would throw more money at such a title! The practical reality is that the (1) The title is iWin’s, (2) I’m no longer at iWin, and (3) iWin has restructured as a social game company specializing in Facebook versions of television game shows. So even if I developed a sequel, iWin would hold the distribution rights, and they would not distribute it, even if it didn’t cost them a penny.
The art style lived on, though: iWin released a social game called “Party Resort” that recycled and extended the art from Coconut Queen!
Too bad, but thanks for putting the matter to rest! If you check out the forum at http://forums.bigfishgames.com/forums/show/1479.page , you’ll find that CQ has some enthusiastic fans–what I suppose we have to call a cult following.
I don’t suppose you’ve answered anywhere some of the questions the final scene raises?
Why dont you try to get the Money for Coconut Queen 2 from Kickstarter.com?
MfG a Coconut Fan
I discussed doing exactly that in this post.
“Mit Freundlichen Gruessen” as http://www.internetslang.com/MFG.asp explains, or something else, Marco?
I came in search of the hope that new maps for Garden Defense might be upcoming, but I am inferring that will not be the case. So sad! I love GD, have played through every level at every difficulty and got the Super Awesome trophy. It was the first casual game that I ever paid money for and the only one that didn’t make me regret the purchase. Thanks for all the hours of fun!
Hey I just wanted to say that I bought Coconut Queen a couple years ago, but just moved to Maui about half a year ago. I playing Coconut Queen the other day, randomly for the first time in years, and wow does it have a whole lot more meaning to me now! I was definitely a fan of the art when I played before, but now I also really appreciate ‘da kine’ details put into the game. (Oddly enough, I can never let myself cut down forest in the game anymore without replanting!)
The one you have done with Zspace is really good. Can i get a tutorial or a reference for that?
Hi Richard, I’m afraid that I am no longer affiliated with Zspace, nor do I have access to any of my work for them. However, their Developer Relations team is always very enthusiastic to work with people to make amazing things on the hardware. I hope you can work with them to make something amazing!
Who currently owns Slyder? I ask this because Digital Chocolate seems to be closed, but I haven’t been able to find out who they sold Slyder to.
I did some digging, because I’m interested in that information, too. Slyder was developed in the pre-smartphone era for several mobile devices, but never for smartphones.
Sandlot Games was acquired by Digital Chocolate, and Digital Chocolate’s properties were acquired by Ubisoft.