We’d like to thank the ladies over at HelloGiggles for featuring FAT KID NINJA as their Item of the Day. As a thank you, we’re currently developing FKN’s sequel, where the Fat Kid is riding this animated GIF with HelloGiggle’s Co-Founders Molly McAleer, Sophia Rossi and Zooey Deschanel and they must all work together to get their nails did FABULOUSLY.
So last week I told you that we’d be discussing the ins and outs of making of FAT KID NINJA. Well, I didn’t lie because here we go.
The #1 question friends ask me about the game is “How did we come up with the idea of a FAT KID,” and more troubling – why?
I’ll answer the second part first: BECAUSE FAT KIDS ARE AWESOME. They look cool. They’re funny. They’re nice. They love food, as I do. You can push FAT KIDS down a hill and they roll and roll and roll and roll, and if they roll far and fast enough they’ll eventually roll back to you (this is why they make great pets). But really, we just love the character we came up with. He’s cute, adorable, and most of all funny. If he were for really alive we’d want to hang out with him and sit at his lunch table on the reg. Trade him our boring pretzels for his Cool Ranch Doritos.
It’s important to create characters you love because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. In our case, about 6 months from when we finally decided to make an iPhone game about the Fat Kid to when the game was released on the App Store. I’m sure if we hated the Fat Kid while developing the game we would have just murdered him somehow. Thrown our computers off the balcony, set the office on fire. Rig the Keurig coffee machine so it drips infinitely on our Macs. Chinese techno water torture, sponsored by Donut House coffee. Worse, we probably could have just ended up murdering each other and killed the game all together which would be really sad and tragic and maybe we should just move on from this horrible line of thinking.
So how did we come up with the idea of a fat kid?
The Fat Kid – the character – is actually one of the older, more obscure characters we created on LiquidGeneration back in the day (early 00s, kids). The Angry Leprechaun, Philip Norris, The Spanish Fly, Professor Butterhands of Masterpiece Movie Reviews — those were the characters everyone loved and we made A LOT of cartoons using those dudes. But sometimes we’d get a little nutty in our weekly creative meetings and try something new. It was during one of these meetings, during a search for new characters for our website, when Fat Kid was born.
I don’t recall EXACTLY know how we came up with the character. Since I do the voice of the Fat Kid it’s safe to assume I was just making fun of myself during one of our creative meetings and spit out the voice, or one of the others on the team was making fun of me and impersonating me with a fat voice, which if that was the case they are an a-hole. Whatever. Somehow somebody in the meeting was like, “YEAH, a Fat Kid! I like the sound of that! Lets make a game about him right now and rake in our million dollars when Disney or SNL comes knocking on our door BEGGING for this character!”
So, we made this piece of sh*t.
It’s actually a pretty fun game. It’s Tetris, after all – with a Fat Kid who whines and whines and whines about how he’s STARVIN’. I don’t voice too many characters because I am a horrible voiceover artist, but I think I did a fine job at capturing the obese mess of a child that is the original Fat Kid. (In actuality, I’m only good at voicing two characters: 1) The Fat Kid and 2) Barbara, an older women in her 60s who lives in Schaumburg, IL. She’s in our PMS Homeshopping series. Love her.).
Fat Kid Food Drop Tetris didn’t exactly set the internet on fire, but we thought the character was pretty funny so we spent a week making another game called FAT KID DANCE-A-THON.
Really, I have no idea what’s going on in this game or how to play it. I suck at this game now. Maybe I always did. There is some gameplay involved I’m sure of it. You can figure it out.
These two games were the first games we created for LiquidGeneration using the character of the Fat Kid and they were the last. For whatever reason – maybe our fans didn’t enjoy the games, maybe they didn’t like the character, maybe we just didn’t know what to do with him – we stopped making games involving the Fat Kid and we NEVER even made an animation with him now that I think about it. But we always thought he was funny, even if not a lot of other people who came to our website did. He had his hooks, sayings, weirdness and we’d find ourselves and our friends repeating things that he said over and over again (I’M FREAKIN’ STARVIN’ OVA HEREE!). The Fat Kid never really floated off into obscurity for me because he was always funny. Okay, maybe it was because he was one of the only characters I can voice, but whatever. The dude still makes everybody here laugh.
And so, when we started to kick around ideas for an iPhone game the Fat Kid slowly bubbled up to the surface. We knew we wanted to make a funny game. We knew we wanted this funny game to feature a funny character. We knew it would be great if we could bring an LG character to life.
We also knew that we didn’t want to spend money on a a voice-over artist that we’d have to call back to our studio over and over and over again for various jobs on the game. A LOT goes into voicing a character for a game. There’s the game itself, which we’d be doing in pieces over the course of six months (because of our client work). And then there’s the other stuff – the promos and ads, the promo cartoons, the countless amounts of writing and rewriting that would require a VO artist to basically live in our studio during the production of the game.
So we’d need a person in house to do the voiceover. That person could just get his or her fatass up out of his or her seat and walk 20 feet over to the studio and record on a moment’s notice. That sort of convenience is invaluable.
When somebody mentioned using the Fat Kid in the game, a long lost character in the archives of LiquidGeneration, it seemed like a pretty good idea. He’s a funny character. Even though he’s kinda gross, we kinda love him (we could make him less gross!). And plus, I do the voice of Fat Kid and I’m sitting right here next to our studio. Convenience!
The Fat Kid was our starting off point for creating an iPhone game (in truth, there were MANY ideas discussed prior to the Fat Kid, but the idea of using the FAT KID set off a creative tsunami and helped focus our attention the most I believe.).
The idea was to always make a funny game, a game where the player would fall in love with the character just as much as the gameplay. The character is ALWAYS the most important part in creating anything…an animation, game, book, whatever. You can make the most amazing game ever, with the coolest gameplay and the snazziest graphics, but if the character sucks, the game is going to suck. If it features a character that people absolutely hate, people will hate your game. And they might as well hate you!
So that’s how we came up with the idea of using a fat kid in our game.
We’ve made MANY, MANY tweaks to the character from the original. We made the FAT KID NINJA fat kid younger, sweeter, and more likable we think. The OG Fat Kid sounded a little too crass and gross and we didn’t want him screaming into your ear every time you played the game. Trust us, that would have not been a lot of fun.
Okay. That’s all for today, folks. Next week we discuss how we came up with the game concept. You will see original game docs and concept art! Awesomeness!
- SLIPPY JENKINS
FAT KID NINJA has been Pinteresting his pinnies for a few weeks now and he’s managed to find some cool stuff. So far there are pins featuring cupcakes, cool ninjas, ninja fuel, stupid idiot veggies, reformed vegetables, warriors, and the path of the ninja, which offers Tony Robbins-style encouragement for up and coming ninjas, or something. It’s a wonder the FKN hasn’t grown full-on man-boobs with how much time he’s been spending on Pinterest. Here’s some of the things he’s been pinning if you want to check it out for yourself.
And be sure to follow us on Pinterest!
Over the course of the next few weeks we’re going to be chatting about the development of FAT KID NINJA. This will be of interest to people primarily interested in the process of making an iPhone app: artists, writers, voiceover actors, programmers, and even that dude who is sitting in the corner staring at you right now who has no discernible talent at all but who just is really, really, really interested how a game goes from idea to app store (there are many of you, and Yes, even you can make an app!). This conversation will be a little more heavy in the art/animation and character development area as THAT’S WHAT WE LOVE but we’ll also dive into our gameplay and programming decisions, generally how we arrived at the game you can play right now.
So this will be fun.
Discussion starts next week when we discuss how the hell we came up with the idea for FAT KID NINJA in the first place.
WE LOVE YOU,
We’ve made wallpapers so that you can finally have something cool for your desktop besides a picture of your dog. We love your dog, really. But isn’t it about time you’ve taken him off your computer? He’s cute, but your computer has had enough of him/her/it. Just give your dog some space and put a FKN wallpaper on your computer immediately. Now.
We have three flavors!
We’ll be putting more wallpapers, character art and other tchotkes up here soon so keep on checking back, ya’ll.