Game designed to be ‘mindful experience’

Technaturally Games director John Gillanders, of Dunedin, has launched Colibrium, a game he developed for smart­phones and tablets. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Technaturally Games director John Gillanders, of Dunedin, has launched Colibrium, a game he developed for smart­phones and tablets. Photo: Shawn McAvinue

A Dunedin mobile game developer has launched new software to recreate the simplicity of 1980s computer games.

Technaturally Games director John Gillanders (38) said he released his only mobile game Colibrium at the start of this month.

After downloading the free game on a smartphone or tablet, a player could use their fingers to blend colours to match a target colour.

In a challenge, a player was given orange and red colours to target colour tones ‘‘from across the spectrum’’, he said.

The game was a ‘‘deep, mindful experience’’ and relaxed the player’s mind.

As the player graduated through the challenges, it put their mind in ‘‘a Zen­like state’’.

In higher levels, the player was given a third colour to mix to increase the challenge.

He designed Colibrium with the aim of it being simple enough for players of any age to play, Mr Gillanders said.

The game was inspired by a fascination born of playing games on a Commodore 64 home computer as a child.

He wanted to recreate the simplicity of 1980s computer games, such as Boulder Dash, which were easy to play and ‘‘brought me a lot of joy’’.

He wanted to develop exciting games which enriched people’s lives, by calming a player’s mind, rather than ‘‘overstimulating’’ it.

He graduated from the University of Otago with a degree in computer science and worked in information technology in the social sector.

The long-term dream was to lead a team of game designers in Dunedin developing fun games which brought joy, he said.

‘‘I’ve got a real passion for using technology to make lives better — in a meaningful way.’’

The game was free to download.

Downloads of Colibrium had been ‘‘slower than I hoped’’ but people were playing it every day.

He made money by people clicking on advertising which appeared when the game ended.

A future plan was to add more colours and levels to the game, he said.

He would write software so players could ‘‘unlock’’ colours and objects by watching a video advertisement.

SHAWN.MCAVINUE@thestar.co.nz 

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