Fruit Ninja success for game boy

IF your grandmother is suddenly spending more time on your iphone than knitting, chances are she’s downloaded the latest game Fruit Ninja –and is completely hooked.

Shooting to number two spot in the Australian appstore charts on its release just nine days ago, Fruit Ninja is the brainchild of ex-Maclean High School student Luke Muscat.

“I never considered making games as a career until I went to a university course expo in high school and was told that I could make a living out of creating Xbox games,” Luke said.

A double degree in Information Technology and Creative Industries Communication Design at QUT later, Luke is now in his dream job and his recent success means that he’s in a position to keep experimenting in what he describes as a very harsh environment.

“We were all hoping for it to do well but imagined that would take a month or so,” Luke said.

The premise of the game, designed for iphones, ipads and ipod touches, quite simply involves slicing fruit – like a ninja. Your finger is your sword and swiping it across the screen slashes open oranges, melons and pineapples, accompanied by appropriately squelchy sound effects.

And the world loves it – Fruit Ninja has just gone to number one in Germany and is starting to move quickly up the charts in the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Finland, and Israel.

So where does an idea for a fruit-hating ninja game come from?

“We were having a brainstorming session for ideas specifically for iphone games and an old infomercial came into my head,” Luke said.

“It involved a set of knives and a pineapple being thrown up into the air and a couple of years later I tried it myself.”

Within six weeks, the creative team of about four people that Luke heads up at Halfbrick Studios in Queensland had launched its incredibly simple, fast and addictive game.

Although Luke has been working on DS and PSP games for over three years he said the world of iphone games was incredibly dynamic and a ‘weird beast of a market place’ that he was still trying to understand.

“With iphone games you are dealing with phone users that aren’t necessarily gamers,” Luke said.

“The green light for the game in my eyes came when I showed it to my 80-year-old grandmother and she was able to play it.”

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