In 2008, I started a long-term contract as a producer/project manager with Pileated Pictures, now HappyGiant, a social-mobile game developer and publisher creating interactive entertainment for online and mobile devices. I was introduced to HappyGiant’s president, Mike Levine, by game designer Josh Mandel, whom I first worked with at Legend Entertainment. Josh and I worked on many other projects together, including the Trivial Pursuit Saturday Night Live DVD Edition game in 2004. Josh and Mike met through their connections with Hasbro, and Josh let me know when Levine was looking for a producer. All but a few of my jobs have come from recommendations from friends in the industry – that is how things work, isn’t it?
My first projects with Pileated were Planet Cazmo, a tween social network with a music emphasis, and Littlest Pet Shop VIPs, an online world created for Hasbro where kids play games, buy clothes for their pets, decorate homes and gardens, and more.
Over the years with Pileated and HappyGiant, I worked on a number of online games, varying in scope but all great fun! Some of the smaller projects included: AOL KIDS Winged Warriors Owl Adventure, Hasbro’s Guess Who, Twister Grooves, Scrabble Flash and FurReal Friends. Larger projects (6 months or more) included:
- Between the Lions – Digital Den (an interactive, curriculum driven version of the Emmy Award winning PBS children’s series Between the Lions).
- Hasbro’s Tonka Garage (where players build and modify a variety of vehicles, play online challenges in a physics based engine to earn points, badges and trophies, and compete with their buddies).
- Hasbro’s Transformer Battle for the Matrix (A 2D side scroller where players collect icons to earn points and repair health, and unlock weapon upgrades to defeat their enemies).
- FashionPlaytes (an online social community for girls, ages 5-12, lets players create their own custom fashions and have them shipped to their door)
- Empire (a Facebook game based on JayZ’s life that takes you on a journey from the streets of Marcy Housing in Brooklyn to the hotspots of the rich and famous: from hustler, to entrepreneur, to business mogul).
- Dolphin Paradise: Wild Friends (a game that lets you bond with your dolphins, play with them, keep them healthy and happy, teach them a variety of tricks, and perform bigger and better shows as you advance – for iOS and Android).
One of Levine’s latest projects is Hologrid: Monster Battles, an original Next-Gen Augmented Reality game by HappyGiant and Tippett Studio. A “Hybrid” Board Game, Collectible Card Game (CCG), and Digital Game-in-one, it delivers to players a glimpse at the future of AR Board Gaming, and a new type of gaming experience. You can read about the game in this Rolling Stone article, ‘HoloGrid: Monster Battles’: How Creator of Chewbacca’s Chess Game Brought It to AR. HappyGiant has plans for more games using Augmented and Virtual Reality. Stay tuned!