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Graduates’ gaming company out for serious fun

A Wellington development company formed by Victoria University graduates is hunting success tapping a rich vein of sporting apps and games.

Twenty-two year olds Chris Mather, Ryan Loader and Alistair St Pierre first formed the startup One Legged Crab to build apps for clients and are now building their own games and products for commercial sale through a second company, Crablink.

They released their first Facebook game app, Proleague, in March, and it’s already garnered more than 1000 downloads.

“I think it’s huge – it has huge potential to go viral,” says Mather.

The football arcade game currently focuses on Wellington Phoenix Football Club fixtures, and the team plans to approach other teams to let players battle virtual Phoenix players at half time.

The company is also working on Advantage4me, an application for rugby coaches, trainers and players to monitor their progress throughout fixtures and training sessions. Parts of games are recorded at 20 second intervals and the clips are uploaded within the app under different sections including scrums, tackles, lineouts and passing.

Players and coaches can play them back to work on their strengths and weaknesses. Several other games are set for release over the next month, including another arcade game called Pogo Sheep, a puzzle game, Inkling, and an abstract game called Boy Goes to Space.

“We just want to make games — ones that are experimental, fun and different,” says Mather. “We know it won’t be easy — we recently attended a talk by Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds, who told us they made 51 other games that were unpopular before striking the jackpot, but it’s what we are determined to do.”

All games by One Legged Crab are designed for Apple, Google Play or Facebook.

Mather and Loader had been friends during intermediate and high school and both did a Bachelor of Design Innovation at the Victoria School of Design.

“We were always discouraged from teaming up on design projects,” says Mather. “[We were] advised to work instead with students from different disciplines in order to get wider skill set in the team.”

They met business partner St Pierre at the Viclink Futures Programme digital bootcamp.

Mather says: “We do what we love. It’s hard to do what you want to do when you work for yourself. It’s been good [but you’ve] got to be strict on yourself.”

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