St. Louis Software & App Development, St. Louis Website Design

Holiday Dash – The First Official Matchbox Design Group Game

Why a Game?

Each year at Matchbox, we start talking about our holiday card a few months ahead of time. In the past, our cards have involved Matchbox team photo shoots, illustration, and even crummy Christmas carol recordings. But two years ago, we decided we wanted to do something different: a game. Who doesn’t love a good video game? Even a little one. We wanted to give our clients, friends, and family something entertaining that they could continue to enjoy long past their initial excitement. That excitement of a traditional Christmas card would wear out. Unfortunately, with time constraints and projects to finish up in 2015, we had to postpone the release of our first-ever game, Holiday Dash Game to December 2016. So we all met in early October 2016, with a plan to complete the game this year with some time specifically set aside for it.

We quickly found out that some of our ideas were too lavish, given the time constraint. We batted around ideas like magical Christmas guns, zombie holiday attacks, and Mario-style platform games. But we finally settled on what, technology would allow us in a short period of time. We built something simple, but incredibly fun: an endless runner game.

Graphic Design – Holiday Dash Game – Sarah

We knew for the game, we wanted upbeat, festive graphics. Design started with the logo. Once we developed it, I worked to produce additional graphics that matched the look and feel of it. We wanted to design the platforms as rooftops as if your character was leaping around downtown St. Louis. Jeremy had a specific idea for a building with red brick and arched windows (classic St. Louis style) that I designed from his sketch. The others primarily came from looking at photos and window illustrations. I tried to find a good mix of styles and placement to make the world of the game more vibrant. The moon, Santa shadow, and presents quickly followed. Jeremy originally designed buttons for a previous personal game that I edited to match our theme and he designed the starry backdrop. We added the layers of buildings in the background so the game would have more depth. The page was then optimized using search engine optimization.

What was it like designing for a game?

Super fun! Taking a break from regular work to do something sort of spontaneous and endlessly creative was liberating. I feel like I know a lot more about how assets for games are generated too. It was a learning experience.

What was your favorite thing to illustrate?

That’s tough. Probably the logo. As soon as we had the name Holiday Dash, the image just sort of popped in my head. I did some quick research on video game logos and then just started working. I couldn’t stop until I was done! Close second: all the variation in the buildings 🙂

What was the most difficult thing to illustrate?

Believe it or not, Santa and his reindeer. The level of detail in the antlers and curves to get that specific reindeer look were frustrating.

What’s your top score?

None of your beeswax!! Just kidding…it’s around 27,000. The lowest high score is over 30,000 now…I need to practice!

Will there be a sequel??

I hope so! I really would love to dive deep into a more extensive game. Planning out plot/story lines along with graphics would be fascinating to me. 

Anything else you’d like to tell us about the game?

If you can see your character in the background after you die, make sure to look at his or her face. The “death” faces Jeremy drew are hilarious! 

Development – Holiday Dash Game – Jeremy

Where did the idea for the game come from?

So from the very beginning, we wanted a game that was short, fun and had an exceptionally high replay value. Years ago some friends and I were completely addicted to this ridiculous game called Robot Unicorn Attack. It was stupid but entertaining. I thought it would be fun to make something similar to that.

Robot Unicorn Attack Game

What was the biggest struggle?

The Scoreboard. I had never built a Scoreboard before so I knew it would be a challenge. The other software developer guys helped me out with getting everything to work efficiently.

What are you most proud of?

Probably the Scoreboard lol

Any expert holiday dash pro game tips?

Yes! A lot of people think you have to land on each building but you don’t. When the game starts getting a lot faster, just hold your jumps longer and hop over two or three buildings at a time. Total game changer.

Will there be a sequel??

I would LOVE to make a sequel. It just depends on time and what projects we have going on. Maybe next year??

Anything else you’d like to tell us about the game?

Practice makes perfect!

Check out our Holiday Dash Game here.

Holiday Dash Game Screenshot from Matchbox Design Group's Christmas Card

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