Recently, I was pointed to a wildly addicting game called Smashy Brick by a member of the game’s development team. The game was released in December of 2015 on Android and iOS by Bulldozer Games, and I have been hooked ever since. Following a bit of begging, pleading, and cajoling, I got the opportunity to interview Tyler Brown, who was one of the lead developers on the game.
PCU: Tell us a bit about Smashy Brick. How did the idea & development for it come about?
Tyler: Smashy Brick is a ‘Breakout’-style free to play, mobile arcade game. Originally, the game that I pitched to [Nick Kaman] was called “Bouncy Bombs”, and it took place in WWII London, and there were these German planes flying over London and they were dropping bombs, and you’d have to draw trampolines to bounce the bombs back up. If you timed it right, then the bombs would explode and blow up the planes. So, the game has completely changed since I first pitched it, and I think that underscores the importance of having a good team, and having someone that you can collaborate with creatively. I think being able to collaborate with someone creatively requires a high level of trust, and understanding, and respect for the other person, so you need to be able to really say what’s on your mind, and not feel like you have to hold back because someone’s feelings might get hurt.
If you can find someone else who is able to separate their ideas from themselves, and you guys get along, then that goes a long way in helping develop the whole game. If I didn’t find Nick, I wouldn’t have pitched that idea.
PCU: You just released the game, it has (at the time of these questions) already broken the 100 download mark, and the ratings on Google Play are pretty consistently 5 Stars. That has to feel good.
Tyler: To give you an update, we are now at 4500 downloads. We had 3 different press articles go out in the first week, and we had a big party that we threw for all our friends & family, and took a dump on Facebook, sharing it with all our friends (I’m pretty sure all our friends saw it multiple times). Nick created this Reddit post…and it was on Reddit for about 10 hours. During those 10 hours, our gif that we uploaded got 75K views, and we got 4K dls in a day. That completely boosted the entire game. It’ll be interesting to see if we’ve reached critical mass…. We decided not to go with a publisher. We could’ve, but we decided not to, so we’ve been promoting this game completely ourselves.
PCU: What was the inspiration for Smashy Brick?
Tyler: The idea for it came about from a mini game on the Nintendo DS. There’s a game on the DS called Super Mario 64, and there’s a mini game on there where you get to draw little trampolines for Mario to jump around. I remember having so much fun with that mini game, and not really seeing any good alternatives on the mobile marketplace. So, I found Nick Kaman, who’s an expert, prodigy developer. I pitched him an idea for some type of trampoline drawing game that would emulate that same experience I had on the DS. He had the great idea of combining it with Breakout.
PCU: Do you all have any plans to make the game into a franchise, or will you move on to something different?
Tyler: I think that depends on how successful the game is financially. If it’s successful enough to support us, then we have all kinds of plans to expand the Smashy Brick universe. That could mean creating more worlds & more levels for people to play or expanding functionality (we already have a bunch of good ideas). We’re kind of focusing our efforts right now on marketing. I mean, Smashy plushy characters might be a really fun type of thing, and people might like that. We already 3D printed some models.
Maybe we can mass produce these like key chains or something.
I think a really important thing to underscore though, is that we wanted to keep the same level of humor with the game, even if it does get big. Because we didn’t go with a publisher, the game’s kind of jagged – rough around the edges – but in a good way. Some of the humor’s kind of out there, and if we worked with a publisher, they might’ve tried to get us to tone it down a bit. If we do get big, we still want to have that same humor to it. I think that’s kind of an underlying part of our game. Just the ridiculous achievements, the weird names we give things, the way that the characters talk…we love that stuff. We want to make sure we keep that consistent throughout if we decide to expand the game.”
PCU: Are you guys all gamers? How long have you been playing?
Tyler: I was affected a lot by gaming when I was a kid. I had a lot of good experiences on the DS, and GameBoy Advance…all the Nintendo stuff. Nick also has a pretty strong Nintendo background.
I would say that I’m probably not as into games as the average gamer is. I don’t spend a lot of time playing games, because after I make them, I want to go outside & climb, or I want to go do something else because I spend so much time making them.
I went through this mini crisis recently, where some games were just not as fun for me, but to be honest with you, games have a smaller part in my life than they used to. But, the idea of making a game is quite different, in my opinion, from playing a game. I’m definitely into mobile games, because they’re so quick. I’ve got a PS4, but I don’t really play games that much. I know Nick plays Super Smash Bros. all the time.
I don’t think that someone who makes games is necessarily someone who plays games a lot because we get sick of it, because we’re literally doing it all day and we need something else to do. I’m actually a film production major & an entrepreneurship minor. I’m a pretty diverse person, and this differs from Nick. I love creating ideas & experiences that I know will give someone something they haven’t seen before.
PCU: If you had one thing to say to fans of ‘Smashy Brick’, what would it be?
Tyler: I would tell them that we genuinely listen to what they have to say, and would encourage them all to reach out on Twitter and let us know how the game is going for them, and if they have any feature suggestions for future updates.
The Smashy Brick team is: Tyler Brown, Nick Kaman, Isaac Rothstein, Felix Peaslee, & William Zhou