Defending Coffee and Bursting Bubbles…

GallowayCollensTOPsunsetREVISEDDefending Coffee and Bursting 711 ad pizzaBubbles with Ferndale Game Designer Kep Amun

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 14, 2015)

If you ask Kep Amun for a business card, he’ll hand you a tiny plastic bag. Though still the standard size, the card inside is actually a board game that you can play, with movable pieces and all. This is, indeed, representative of Kep’s calling.

Less than two years ago, Kep created Hellscape Games, so he could spend his live developing chazzano game adonline and mobile games. And his hard work is paying off as his pet project- Intergalactic Bubbles – has been selected to go live and in the store of the top distributor of digital games on the planet. Steam from Valve Corporation vets games like Intergalactic Bubbles by letting players vote on which projects get selected.

“Intergalactic Bubbles being greenlit means a massive increase in exposure for both the game and my company Hellscape Games,” Kep said.

It started out as a gift for his wife, attorney Lisa Schmidt. “She likes bubble shooters, so I made her one. It was an experimental project that didn’t stop.” The premise is simple, bubbles advance and you shoot them. But Intergalactic Bubbles has more to it than your typical pointctechad and shoot challenge. “It’s full 3-D with the physics of a game engine. The bubbles swing and bounce and explode. It takes bubble shooters to the next level.”

Not only did he get his wife addicted, thousands of online gamers played the beta version online and voted for it to be distributed. Intergalactic Bubbles is available for purchase right now for $3 at http://hellscapegames.itch.io/intergalacticbubbles

Another success for Kep was developing an online game for Chazzano Coffee. The game, Coffee Defenders, puts players in the position to defend the highly treasured flavor of Chazzano Coffee from cream and sugar – which Chazzano owner Frank Lanzkron-Tamarazo highly frowns upon. His business philosophy, in fact, is “What happens if you put sugar or cream lisa schmidt lawin Chazzano Coffee? God cries and an angel loses its wings!”

This motto is reflected in the game. Lanzkron-Tamarazo’s favorite aspect of the game is “the ‘Galaga’ type movement of the game with the threatening physics of the sugar and cream careening treacherously towards your coffee cup. I love that Kep of Hellscape Games created a game that is not frustrating. If you fail on a level, you just keep repeating it until you become smarter and learn techniques to reach the next level… The game was brilliantly designed by Kep around my sense of humor and love for gaming. Kep is a scholar of the psychology of game design concerning leveling and scoring.”

For Lanzkron-Tamarazo meeting Kep was a dream come true.  “When the first personal computers were created for the mass market, I owned every single one of them. I have been obsessed with video games since Pong. I have owned every video game console from the last 30 sidebar016growyears. My private dream is to be able to spend 12 hours each day just playing video games, sleep until noon and then start playing again. However, with business and family, that will only happen if I have a nervous breakdown.”

Thankfully there is a business-related excuse for the game as well. “Besides my love for video games, the game was designed to be another mode of branding and marketing for the Chazzano Coffee Roasters brand and Hellscape Games. Every business should have a video game designed around their philosophy.”

While proud of the Coffee Defender game, Amun is mainly focused on making games for fun and for the sake of making them well, rather than marketing opportunities. “I would do others, but not every business lends itself to a game. Frank just happened to be a business where it made Sahara ad with winesense. “I want to make projects I enjoy and if I don’t enjoy it, they will get an inferior product.”

Kep’s ethical sensibilities play out in his other projects as well. The recent “gamer gate” scandal put issues of gender equality and civility in the limelight of the general public. But within the game-design world, the debate is not a new one. Kep decided long ago to have a “do no harm” policy.

“I avoid character designs that are sexist, bigoted or cliché,” he said. “I’ve done ones that have androgynous characters. And I aim for a representation of normalcy.” For example in one of his creation there are nine main characters, five are women and four are men, and the armed guard is a woman. “It doesn’t matter so much if the games are for male or female, It’s making games for Candlewickshop_May2014everyone,” he said.

The structure for games also has ethical implications. Kep shuns games that give players the opportunity to purchase “cheats” to get ahead. For example in some games you can pay a dollar to come back to life, or where paying can help the player gain powers. “It’s about keeping things fair for all players and not being manipulative,” he said. “There is an ethical marketing promise and I have that badge.”

As Hellscape grows there is no telling where his talents might take him, but there are two forces of stability behind Kep as he moves forward. One is the desire not to work in corporate software engineering any more, and the other is his wife, who not only helps him with some of his seed017_darlene_bignottigame art but has made a solid commitment to his success.

“In her wedding vows she promised to test every game that I make,” he said. “She plays Intergalactic Bubbles all the time whether I ask her to or not.”

Lean more about Intergalactic Bubbles and Hellscape Games at
http://hellscapegames.com/intergalactic-bubbles/
Learn more about Chazzano Coffee Defenders at
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ChazzanoCoffeeRoasters.ChazzanoCoffeeDefender
 (NOTE: This article was updated from a previous version due to Kep strongly preferring use of his first name)

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