Tom Bellamy and Ben Markby are the insanely young co-founders of Oddboy, a small interactive studio specializing in games, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and digital products. In the short time they’ve been in business, Tom and Ben have produced one of the top three most-downloaded apps in NZ and created some brilliant digital experiences.
Being a bit of a sucker for Fred in the Shed stories, I invited Tom and Ben to join us at the agency’s regular Beers & Ideas session to share the highs (and lows) of their journey so far. We discovered that Oddboy began when four young blokes who didn’t really know each other that well had an idea to produce a game that would launch their business. They gave themselves 12 weeks to complete it – because we all know there’s nothing like a tight deadline to make something happen. Not only that, but they put everything they had on the line. What could possibly go wrong?
Intrigued by the international shit storm that was the 2016 US election, the guys decided to portray the madness in game form. What started as a small project in Tom’s mother’s tiny shed quickly spiralled into something so much more – resulting in the internationally awarded mobile game Jrump.
The idea behind it is deceptively simple. The year is 2017. Following Donald Trump’s unlikely successful bid at the 2016 US election, international borders have closed up, global warming research has halted and brick sales have increased at a staggering rate. With the world now in utter chaos and his tiny hands growing increasingly sweaty, it’s time for Donald to leave the White House and make the galaxy great again by jumping on his favourite things in the world… walls.
Against all odds, the game was completed on time and instantly became a huge success, capturing the world’s attention. In fact, once it snowballed everyone wanted a piece of Oddboy. At one point, they barely slept for five days straight trying to keep up with the interviews, articles and general chaos that nobody had anticipated. Mashable (Aus), IT (China ), the international Business Times and Rolling Stone were all onto it – not to mention the television news.
Since then the guys have moved out of Mum’s shed and now have their own studio and an enviable client list. With the 2020 election sneaking up on us fast, Jrump 2 is now in development – and man do they have some great ideas this time around. Stories like this are just one of the many things I love about New Zealand business. We have a real can-do attitude, where nothing is too hard. Well done guys. Can’t wait for Jrump 2 – the continuing story of even more chaos and mayhem.
Oh and by the way, look out for the next Beers & Ideas, where highly regarded artist, D.J and owner of Lucky Taco Otis Frizzell will be coming in to share what he has been creating for Jaguar with us. Ka pai everyone!