FYREBUG made gaming, and game-creating, simple. To offer the ultimate control of customization, I designed game templates; stripping all graphics and audio from a traditional Flash game file, leaving only the rudimentary code and basic rules of the game. Pac-Man would essentially become “hero clears board, avoids enemies,” where “hero” was now interchangeable. The result was an unprecedented change in the dynamic of the industry; nearly 200,000 users across the country teamed to create half a million games using the FYREBUG platform.
Initially run on a single prototype at www.SuperDadMan.com, letting my father star as the test-subject, I was able to recognize the addictive nature of the simple but clever gaming experience. A few tech demos, a Game Creator application, and a round of investment later, FYREBUG opened its doors.
Following in the footsteps of YouTube, each user-created game was encapsulated in a widget shell. This would allow every game to store additional features, author information, social media sharing, and more, all within a uniform design. In addition to virally promoting the FYREBUG brand, the widgets also allowed third party developers to create free-to-play arcades on their own site. The evolution below shows the advances in the design, tweaked both through user feedback, as well as technological updates. Most notably, the changes from darker colors to lighter tones reflected FYREBUG’s expanding demographics, which started as largely younger male and eventually evened out to a more balanced “casual game” demographic split.