GRESHAM OUTLOOK - Feb. 12, 2004
By Kelly Moyer-Wade
Mike Summers grew up like most Gen X'ers - with his hand on a joystick
and his mind wrapped around Pac Man and the Mario Brothers.
Video games entranced Summers. He played them with his brothers and
friends and was one of the first kids on his block to own a Commodore 64.
Now married, with three children of his own, Summers, 29, hasn't left
those childhood pleasures in the dust.
The difference is this: Instead of just playing video games, he now
His first independent game, a colorful, mathematic mind-bender called
"Add 'em Up," came out in January, and Summers is already working
on his second game.
"I've been developing simple games for a couple of years but "Add 'em Up"
was the first one I really got passionate about." Summers says.
A full time Web developer for a Portland firm, Summers spends his
off-time designing educational video games at his Fairview home.
His wife, Karen, stays at home with the couple's three children, ages 1, 2
and 5, and helps Summers with his game development company, Blue Bug Games.
An elementary education major in college, Summers discovered his talents
for Web design later in life and went to work in the computer field instead
of becoming a teacher.
That side of him never quite went away, though. The games he develops are
unique in the independent game world - they teach basic skills like addition
and multiplication while providing fun distraction.
Higher elementary and middle school age children like "Add 'em Up" but so
do the adults. Teenagers, however, weren't thrilled by the game - too much
math, Summers says, shrugging.
"I find that the games that use logic and require you to think about what
you're doing are the most satisfying," he says. "I think there's a niche for
educational video games."
Summers has taken out ads on various homeschooling and educational sites,
and his game is available for purchase through Blue Bug Games' online store
Summers first game, "Add 'em Up," retails for $14.95 and requires WindowsXP,
NT, 2000, ME or 98SE.. He's still working on a Mac-based version but says
many independent games are PC-only because the software runs a lot
slower on Macs.
The game has various degrees of difficultly and some interesting puzzle
boards that Karen helped design, but the basic strategy is to clear the
board of all its numbers. To do this, you must place tiles in a space where
all the numbers touching that particular tile add up to the number featured
on the tile.
For example, if you are trying to place a tile with the number 7 on it, you
may put it in a spot surrounded by tiles with numbers 1,1,2 and 3 on
The Game levels increase in speed and difficulty, and it is an interesting
way to teach youngsters the basics of addition and multiplication.
Summers' next game is already named "Flooper Grouper."
"There are these little creatures, the 'Floopers,' and they're different species,
different shapes and colors. So, you have to group the colors and shapes
together," Summers explains. "It's a patter perception game".
He has the basic engine for "Flooper Grouper" running, but the game is
several months away from completion. "Add 'em Up" took more than a
year to finish, and Summers sent the game to testers before tweaking it
for its final retail version.
Summers posts his games to a Web site, www.grab.com, where users can
play "Add'em Up" and comment on the game. He'll soon do the same with
"Flooper Grouper", Summers says.
For now, he's content with working full time and developing games in
those "off hours."
Someday, Summers hopes, he'll be able to play video games and develop
new ones full-time.
When that day comes, it's a good bet that Summers' peers, those
30-somethings who were weaned on Donkey Kong and Atari games,
will be green with envy.
» See Story Here
Blue Bug Games releases Add 'em Up
January 10th, 2005
Do you remember learning 3rd grade math, wondering how you would actually
use that stuff in real life? It finally pays off with a unique new puzzle game
from Blue Bug Games.
Add 'em Up is available now for Windows 98se/NT/2000/ME/XP, for $14.95 (USD).
You've never had this much fun combining strategy, concentration, basic math, and
a bit of luck. Clearing the board may seem easy to start, but given the limited
moves or the ticking clock, you'll have to stay sharp to find the best moves.
Boasting 4 modes of play, 5 difficulty levels, and over 50 puzzle stages, Add 'em
Up is a constant challenge for the mind. Compete with family and friends and
earn your bragging rights with recordable High Scores and Best Times. Add 'em
Up is guaranteed to stay fresh with randomly generated boards. You can literally
play millions of games and never see the same layout twice.
Have kids hungry for video games? Let them go at this and watch them blossom
into expert adders! They'll have so much fun, they'll forget that they're honing
their addition and multiplication skills.
Whether young or young at heart, you'll love Add 'em Up for hours of brain-bending
entertainment. Rack up bonuses to score big in Classic Mode, set record time in
Panic Mode, or solve each challenge in Puzzle Mode. However you want to play,
it sums up to a smart and fun gaming experience to add to your library.
Play FREE Web Demo:
Download FREE Demo:
Learn More: http://www.bluebuggames.com/games.php
GarageGames' Players Choice Awards Gets Zapped!
IndieGamesCon '04 Players Choice Awards
October 14, 2004 - Eugene, Ore - Independent game developers from around the world brought
their game creations to IndieGamesCon'04 last weekend in the hopes of walking away with the
coveted "Player's Choice Award". The competition was stiff this year with over 36 independently
developed games making a strong showing. When the dust finally settled late into Saturday
night after the intense LAN party, ZAP!, a retro-action, fraq-filled game took the top honors as
the 2004 IGC Players Choice Best Overall...
*Add 'em Up
- Have a blast with this fun puzzler while raking in points and sharpening your mind.
Won 3rd Place in Best Game Innovation (BlueBugGames)
Conference attendees enjoy playing Add 'em Up at IGC 2004
*Excerpts taken from Garage Games press release dated October 14, 2004