Dunedin app hits big time

A Dunedin computer-game company has collaborated with National Geographic to produce an app for smart phone and tablet computer devices. It was released last month.

Runaway, a division of NHNZ, produces original social and mobile games inspired by the natural world.

In partnership with National Geographic, the company has produced an iPhone and iPad app called Howling Mouse, which features a cute, carnivorous mouse tackling scorpions for his dinner and howling at the moon to mark his territory.

Runaway director Tim Nixon said the game's protagonist, an Arizona grasshopper mouse, was a compelling character found in nature.

"We were sitting around a television watching documentaries, searching for inspiration in real life animal characters [and] then we came across this crazy little mouse in the desert in a National Geographic Channel series.

"A 3cm high carnivorous beast who eats scorpions for dinner and howls at the moon to mark his territory - we obviously couldn't go past him for a key character."

In the game, the Arizona grasshopper mouse is on an adventure across the wilderness to save his babies from the clutches of the deadly great horned owl.

The game also includes real-life facts about the creatures and environment which inspired it, with each character having an accompanying video, produced by National Geographic, especially for the game.

National Geographic Channel senior vice-president of research and digital media Brad Dancer said the game was a perfect extension of National Geographic's brand.

"This is the start of an incredible partnership that will provide consumers yet another new way to experience the world's best natural history programming," he said.