Pedro Wunderlich, the app developer best know for his mobile alarm clock that requires the user to fight to turn it off, has launched a mobile development studio with his brother Mario called RAWR! Interactive. The new studio is built off the same unique principles that made his first app, Wake N Shake, so well received.
“I start thinking about creative opportunities – elements in technology or in the interface or in the usability that other people are not using and try to figure out why,” Pedro said.
Wunderlich graduated from Texas Christian University last year and moved to Guatemala where he began working on the new venture with his brother. In college, he started out developing websites, one of which was a satire of his own university. “What if The Onion were located in TCU? Because it’s so serious why don’t I make the opposite?” he said. The online paper went on to become the most read publication within the university, but Wunderlich decided to move onto mobile after realizing that there was more creative opportunity in personal, handheld devices.
“I started thinking why is this very strong shift in making these games where you just use your thumb or rotate and use the gyroscope to control the character. All this very passive activity,” Pedro said. “What if there’s a creative opportunity in demanding a lot of interaction from the user? Can we make a game or an app that not only does it demand a lot from you, but it makes it cool, it makes it fun?”
After a few brainstorming sessions, Pedro and Mario arrived at their newest title Count to a Billion. The intense screen tapping game requires players to furiously tap their smartphone to build up a high score, rearranging the multiple touch buttons on the fly in interesting ways.
“My elbow,” Pedro said, holding his hand up to his chest like a claw. “I’ll end up like a velociraptor after testing it for hours.”
Pedro explained that his creative mobile gaming ideas come from prolonging thoughts of absurdity – notions often dismissed by the average app maker.
“As a creative person there’s always an inclination to consider what hasn’t been done, or what’s weird or what would be considered stupid or absurd. That was my first inspiration, especially with other ventures I’ve done, specifically Wake N Shake,” he said. “I try to consider these absurd ideas and think would that be a viable business, would that solve anybody’s problem? Through all my life I’ve noticed many entrepreneurs and mentors of mine that have had a lot of success always considering the absurd. Maybe on paper it sounds stupid but when you execute it it’s not.”
Pedro pointed to Angry Birds, the most popular mobile game of all time, as a perfect example. “Let’s throw birds at pigs,” he said. “I like to take those thoughts and just think about them a little bit more, keep them in my head maybe a few minutes longer. Maybe there’s something there.”
The creator even let loose some details of an app idea he’s been toying with – his own take on the countless planner apps already on the mobile market. “The phone kind of in a way yells at you to get your stuff done… It’ll scream at you, almost,” he said. “I came up with a visual stimulant that will actually push you a little bit more to get the most immediate item done.” Pedro assured that for all the pressure, there will be a satisfying way of telling the app that you’ve accomplished your most important task. “I don’t think I’m supposed to share more than that,” he said.
The brothers have already tried out their newest game on iPhones and iPads with a group of friends. “You can tell somebody’s playing Count to a Billion even if you’re watching them from really far. They’re almost fighting with their iPhone,” Pedro said. “That for me was really special – what was really unique about this game.”
Pedro said the game is “really close” to being finished. “We want to have the game finalized and submitted to Apple in less than two weeks,” he said. If all goes according to plan, iPhone gamers will be developing velociraptoritis of their own by the first week of July.