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MCCC Game Design Students Turn Class Assignment Into Entrepreneurial Business Endeavor

6/25/13


West Windsor, N.J.: After working together on a project for one of their Game Design classes, Mercer County Community College students Matt Guido and John-Paul Yunque have taken their game, Lunch War, and independently published it through their newly-founded company, The Automatic Gentlemen, LLC.

Guido is a graduate of Bordentown Regional High School, and Yunque attended Princeton Regional Schools. The two met in their Game Theory and Culture class at Mercer, taught by Digital Media Arts instructor Ric Giantisco.  They teamed up together to work on the final project for the class, and, being the only “team,” decided they should take their game the extra mile.

Mercer Game Design students Matt Guido and John-Paul Yunque are pictured in one of the computer labs on the West Windsor campus.

The result was what later became the fully mobile game Lunch War.

In the game, the player is a lunch lady, whose job is to keep the unhealthy fudgesicles from an army of hungry nerds, bullies, jocks, and teachers. She does this with an unending supply of apples, her slushie machine, which gives students a temporary “brain freeze,” and a janitor she can call in for back up.

“It’s an arcade game with a weird twist,” Yunque said.  “We just thought, ‘What if the game player is a lunch lady throwing food at kids?’ It was such a funny idea we decided to go with it.”

After the class assignment was completed, Guido and Yunque decided to continue with the project on their own time.  “We talked about it a few times and came up with the idea of making it a mobile game application we could sell for iPhones and Androids,” Guido said.

Since then, the two have created a website and continued improving the game's design.  After going to the PAX East gaming convention in Boston last year as attendees, they went this year as game designers.

“We got so much feedback we were able to rebuild it in time for our launch this summer,” said Yunque, who said they plan to offer their app for $1 through Apple and Android App Stores.

In May, the two went to the Two5Six gaming conference in Brooklyn.  The conference featured a number of talks on how games intersect with other industries.  Guido and Yunque were able to catch the interest of Mike Futter, a game reviewer for “Game Informer,” a magazine and website for game enthusiasts. 

Futter reviewed their game on his site, directing readers to check out the students’Automatic Gentlemen website to learn more. “Lunch War is an addictive and enjoyable homage to the titles of my youth, including Centipede and Space Invaders,” Futter said.

For the two students, this is the beginning of what they hope to be a long term endeavor.  After becoming an official LLC last year, they say they are in it for the long haul.  “We have a lot of ideas written down that we want to work on,” said Guido, adding that they have discovered that designing and marketing a game is a very time-consuming process.

To begin marketing their launch, in June Yunque and Guido had a booth at the TooManyGames convention in Philadelphia.  “It was really exciting,” said Yunque.  “There were about 4,000 people there over the three days.”

Guido, who has an IT internship at Purdue Pharma, L.P., this summer, will be continuing at Mercer this fall, with plans to earn his associate degree in Game Design.  Yunque will be transferring to Drexel University, studying for a degree in Interactive Digital Media.  This summer they will focus their efforts on marketing Lunch War to the public in various ways, including social media.

For more information on the students and Lunch War, visit the Automatic Gentleman website here.

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