How Nimble Strong Was Cloned Before It Even Came Out

In the latest Gamasustra feature, the developer of iOS bartending game Nimble Strong shares his experience trying to recover when a rival developer relea
In the latest Gamasustra feature, the developer of iOS bartending game Nimble Strong shares his experience trying to recover when a rival developer releases a seemingly identical game first. Adam Ghahramani of Nimble Strong LLC hoped to serve an untapped market last year with Nimble Strong, a story-driven iOS title that featured anime-style graphics and taught players about mixing drinks as a bartender. Another Korean developer, however, managed to put out a very similar title on the App Store first. Corners Studio's Bar Oasis featured "anime-style art, quirky characters, and it only cost 99 cents." Ghahramani planned to release his game for $4.99. "While this game was nowhere near the quality of Nimble -- it lacked the education, the gameplay wasn't very fun, and it didn't have much of a soul -- it did come to market first and had very good graphics," said Ghaharamani. Though Bar Oasis suffered serious flaws in its interface and writing, reviewers praised its original concept as "refreshing" and "unique." Ghaharamani knew it would be difficult to convince the same reviewers to try out his title so soon. The independent developer said he became depressed and battled nightmares over the ordeal. That feeling of dread remained even when the title shipped: "The first day of Nimble's launch was one of the worst days of my life." "I posted about the game on a message board and it got SHREDDED. People mocked its price, saying they would never download a game that expensive," said Ghaharamani. "They said it was a cheap clone of the other Korean game. The first few sites we asked to review it didn't because they'd already reviewed the Korean game. First-day sales were pretty bad."" His persistence pushing Nimble Strong to reviewers paid off eventually, though, and consumer site Joystiq gave it a high 4.5 score, remarking, "finally video games have a purpose," and lauding it for actually teaching a real-world skill. That review was followed by more praise from other sites and publications like The Unoficial Apple Weblog, GamePro, the New York Times, and Reddit. Nimble Strong's acclaim also led to other opportunities for Ghahramani, too. The full feature, an excerpt from Ryan Rigney's new book Buttonless: Incredible iPhone And iPad Games, also covers how Ghahramani came up with Nimble Strong and developed the title. It's live on Gamasutra now.

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