I’m not going to lie, mobile games aren’t really my thing; I’ve tried more than a few, but I often find them lacking in content and bogged down in freemium garbage. However, I not only enjoy Mr. Nibbles Forever, but I believe I was placed on this Earth just to be the best there ever was at playing this game. The state I enter when playing this game has been described by onlookers as “Zen like,” my eyes fluttering and my in-game movements perfectly balanced as I approach the zone. Feel free to ask Mike Cann himself about this, as the creator and developer of the game he will confirm for you that I’m the best player he’s ever seen. Rolling hamster-balls through never ending death mazes is my new jam, as Mike explains.
“Hamster-balls,” which are hamsters that are themselves balls, not hamsters in balls.
“Mr. Nibbles Forever” is hands down one of the best game names I’ve ever heard. Tell us a bit about the game.
Haha, thanks! Its actually based on a game I made 4 years ago called Mr Nibbles which was a level-based platformer. I needed a cute sounding name for a hamster that eats little nibble-like corn kernels, hence Mr Nibbles. When I decided to remake it as an endless runner I wanted a word that described endless without using endless, so after some thesaurus action I chose “forever.”
What were your biggest challenges while designing and developing Mr. Nibbles Forever?
Progression was definitely tough. Making the game simple enough that new players can pick it up and play without getting frustrated, but difficult enough that advanced players don’t get bored going through the early stages over and over again. I tried to solve it by having “tougher routes” that more advanced players can take for greater rewards.
How long did the game take to develop, from start to release? Do you work on it full time?
I started it in January 2015, I was living down in Bunbury at the time and working as a freelancer and on this. About half-way through, in May, I took a full-time job in Perth. I released it in August, so from start to end 8 months. My Trello board tells me I spent 487 hours in total but it was probably more like 700 hours.
Was there a particular reason you wanted to develop for Mobile over other platforms?
Mobile has the biggest reach for casual games so I knew I wanted to build for that. Also one of the core features of the game is the tilt-and-tap control scheme which works best on mobile.
“My Trello board tells me I spent 487 hours in total but it was probably more like 700 hours.”
What do you think of the Mobile market for games at the moment?
It’s not great to be honest. There is so much competition out there right now, it makes getting noticed extremely difficult. There are so many people launching so many reskins and clones that it’s hard to stand out against the weeds. You really have to have a marketing and advertising budget if you want to get noticed which can be tricky for a self-funded indie dev.
There’s also a rush to the bottom where you are strongly encouraged to release your game for free and expect that ads and in-app purchases will make up all your revenue.
How did your studio, Eric Shrimp, get started?
Epic Shrimp is the name I have decided to give my motley collection of friends and colleagues who have helped me on my various mobile games. I wanted to call it “Mantis Shrimp,” after the most badass creature in the sea, but sadly that was already taken. So, I reached for the trusty thesaurus again and went for “Epic.”
I got an ex-colleague to do the logo for us; being a joker, he left a little surprise in the logo. I didn’t notice for weeks until another friend pointed it out. I laughed so hard that I decided to leave it in:)
Mr. Nibbles – where did you get the inspiration for him?
The original game was actually based on one of the special levels from Sonic the Hedgehog. We wanted a character that would work well in a ball, so my original idea was a hamster in a ball. When implemented it didn’t work too well, so instead we took him out of his ball and made him roll instead, that worked much better.
What’s your experience been like developing as a Perth studio?
Great! There’s an awesome community of other developers about who are more than happy to answer any questions or help with difficulties.
“The original game was actually based on one of the special levels from Sonic the Hedgehog.”
How’s the Perth Games Festival been for you this year?
This was actually my first PGF but I will definitely be coming back. The feedback from people playing the game was incredibly valuable. Watching so many people enjoy the game, old and young, made it all worth it for me.
How can the community support your project, and other indie projects in Perth?
For Mr Nibbles Forever, I just need to get the word out. I want as many people to play it and rate it as possible. As for other indie projects there’s regular Playup Perth events were people can attend and play the games as they are being developed and help shape how they turn out.
Why will you not accept that I simply have a zen-like, preternatural ability to conquer Mr. Nibbles Forever and haven’t been practicing just to impress you?
Mr Nibbles Forever is a tough game. My spidey senses were tingling when you picked it up and immediately powered through the early stages of the game. Now I think I know why I had a 200-plays-per-day spike just before PGF.
Why do you want to make games?
I love to code, I love to create things. Games allow you to be creative with code and share your joy with others. What other medium lets you control a hamster that poops rainbows, collects nibbles and travels into outer space?
Here are some places where you can show your support for Mr. Nibbles Forever:
Mr. Nibbles Forever is available to download for free on iOS or Android: