Game Cooks: A Chaotic Yet Visionary Startup!
They started recently to enhance their passion for gaming and make locally eligible games for their locality and are determined to not turn their work into a mere commercial activity. They are chaotic, informal and reach late for work, but with no regrets continue to reach their targets and visions and are almost done with their very first game. We are talking about the Game Cooks who ‘cook delicious games’ in their kitchens. Lebnan Nader, the founder of Game Cooks, tells us all about his company.
Game Cooks started on the 1st of January 2012, we kicked off with the full team from day one (a total of 6). The reason we started this company is the passion for producing games, playing games and sharing our ideas and products with the region. We’re all heavy gamers and wanted to start making local games. We had ideas, we acquired the know-how. Why always download international games where we can create funny, simple and cool local games ourselves? We’re very relaxed and easy going people. We follow a simple path, play, develop and play again.
Your website is very creative. How did the idea of making such a website originate?
We wanted to create a nice website that reflects our team and vision. We didn’t want to follow the regular way of making game development company websites. We think that everything that is produced by Game Cooks, whether our website, our games, blogs, etc., everything needs to be done in a different and creative way!
The idea of using the technology was from our technical artist, the development started and the art guy added his touches. A bit of copywriting here and there made it look complete! It still lacks a bit of fine tuning and the Arabic language addition, we will get to that very soon.
Which was your first game? How did you grow from there?
As game cooks, our first game will be released soon. However, prior to game cooks, my brother and I created a mobile game with the help of our ex partner, the game is called Birdy Nam Nam and talks about chicken invasion in the Middle East.
Now as game cooks, our first game will be a running game, about peace in the Middle East. (Details are being given on our Facebook page on daily basis at www.facebooks.com/gamecooks.
We created the team, kicked off development and we are yet to launch our first game in a month or so. We expect to grow slowly, even if we get good success after the game, we expect to go step by step and never loose focus. We do not want to replace our passion for games and the love of producing games into mere commercial things.
How does an average day pass in the Game Cooks office?
Everyone arrives late. No one arrives on time! After coffee, and casual reading a bit, jokes here and there, we start our day with our morning briefing at around 10.30 am. We finish at 11. Then each one works on his tasks. We all sit in the same room so it’s very easy to communicate, share the work, etc. We then pause for lunch and eat a bit. After lunch it’s the sacred 1 hour gaming session, we take our devices and start playing with new games to discover them better! After that the day continues in development, testing, sharing ideas, thoughts, jokes, etc. till around 9 pm or more sometimes.
How do you go about thinking of a game that will be addictive for your consumers?
This is a very tricky part. Actually the games we’re working on and the ones we will create in the future are all based on one thing. “We create games that we want to play and enjoy”. This way it’s more fun for us to create, and will be definitely appealing to similar audience like us. As for addictiveness, no matter what the idea of the game will be, making it addictive is very hard. This is where we concentrate a lot on effects, humor, nice small tweaks in the game, etc.
Is gaming in MENA region popular? What is your strategy when it comes to making games that are liked by people from this region?
Gaming in the MENA is popular, and it’s getting bigger and bigger by the day. Our vision in Game Cooks is to produce mobile games with an Arabic twist. We are targeting the MENA region. Since we are Lebanese and come from this region, making games that we like means that there is a high probability that Arabs will like them as well. We focus a lot on hitting local nerves in our games through dialects, music, effects, story, etc.
What marketing strategies do you use to promote your games?
We use blogs, or at least the ones we know about. We have a shy presence on Facebook as well. That’s pretty much it.
If a game enthusiast wishes to start his own game developing company, how many years of experience should he ideally have before he takes the big step forward?
He needs to be passionate about games; he needs to know 3 different things:
- technical development and cycle of game production
- a very good eye for game design, art and ideas
- a good idea about the market plan
I’d say anyone needs a year or more to kick off. Well we had a bit of over a year of experience in producing games before we started. I think this should be good enough for anyone to start.
Which are your five favorite games that you wish to recommend to our readers and why?
I am a big fan of POP-CAP. I recommend Bejeweled, Plants v/s Zombies for a start. I also recommend Jet-Pack Joyride, Bike Baron is a very nice game as well. Adding to that Need For Speed Hot Pursuit are the best 5 mobile games for me personally. All of those games are entertaining, fun and fast.
How do you wish to be contacted by your fans?
Best way is by emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do like to talk to our fans on the phone or by chatting, etc., but emails are the best way to start the conversation.
Game Cooks’ Website: http://www.gamecooks.net
Birdy Nam Nam’s Website: http://www.birdynamnamgame.com/
Joystics reviews Plants v/s Zombies (Lebnan’s favorite game): http://joystics.com/review/plants-vs-zombies-ps-vita-xbox-360-iphone-ipad-xbox-360-and-more/