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App Store Insiders: Igor Pusenjak, President of Lima Sky, Creators of Doodle Jump

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 11th, 2013

Igor Pusenjak is the creator of one of the most prolific games on the App Store, Doodle Jump. While it may have only received 12 downloads on its first day for sale on the App Store in 2009, it has now amassed a total of 150 million downloads across all platforms. An amazing success for a game that started off so slow.

148Apps: How has the App Store changed your life?

Igor Pusenjak, President at Lima Sky: Quite profoundly in many ways. I have been able to do what I love on my own schedule from anywhere, reaching so many people and jumpstarting the creation of a really unique character brand (Doodle Jump) in the process.

148Apps: Lima Sky had good success in the App Store early and Doodle Jump really exploded. What do you think resonated with users so much?

Igor Pusenjak: Simple and fun gameplay custom tailored for the iPhone. Specifically, short gameplay sessions, intuitive and precise tilt controls, one hand gameplay.

148Apps: What about one thing you have done that you think should have taken off, but never did?

Igor Pusenjak: I wish there was only one thing… ha ha.  We knew there was not much volume in the interactive book segment, but decided to do one anyway. It is called "Boquitas: The Hunt for the Chupacabras". It is visually stunning with incredible music and sound effects, and a very very cute story, but it hasn't unfortunately done so well.

148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence your path five years ago, what would you say?

Igor Pusenjak: Don't really think I'd actually change much of anything. We've grown and transformed along with the App Store. We started with a 99c price point and have adjusted for in-app purchases and looking at free to play models

148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of apps you are associated with, that has surprised you most?

Igor Pusenjak: The most pleasantly surprising has been the level of success that many of the small indie teams have found over the years.

148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?

Igor Pusenjak: We'll finally see the App Store in the living room through whatever ends up being the long rumored Apple's TV. Sounds like we'll be wearing it on our wrists as well once the iWatch comes out.

Many thanks to Igor Pusenjak for his time.

[ Photo credit: Jon Jordan ]

App Update: Massive Doodle Jump Update Brings Ninjas

Posted by Jeff Scott on August 23rd, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RECOMMENDED :: Read Review »

Doodle Jump, one of the original smash hits on the iPhone has just seen it's largest update ever. This update brings a whole new Ninja theme to the game.

If you haven't played in a while, this might be a good time to give it another shot.

Boquitas: The Hunt for the Chupacabras Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 28th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Boquitas: The Hunt for the Chupacabras is a really well crafted, interactive storybook app for iPad, bringing the traditional mythology of the chupacabra to devices in a way that is thoroughly modern and a lot of fun for children of all ages as well as adults. This app is also nicely bilingual, including both English and Spanish translations, wonderfully styled artwork, as well as interactions and music.

For those who do not know, a Chupacabra is a very dangerous creature, said to be legend as their existence has not been proven by science, with the first reported attack in Puerto Rico.

Chupacabras have the reputation for killing livestock and drinking their blood, so when, in this story, pet chicken Diva goes missing after some strange noises are heard in the woods, and there is a news report of chickens disappearing as a trend, sisters Candela and Cari try their best to find Diva in order to bring her back home. Mischief from these girls' brother and his friend, as well as further details of this sordid tale from their grandmother, further complicate this story as the girls head off into the woods to save Diva.

There is so much I really appreciate about this app. It is wonderfully colorful, with a bright and lively palette that I greatly enjoy. The look of these illustrations is highly stylized, reminiscent to me of the great, iconic cartoons created by Genndy Tartakovsky and include clever interactions that add richness, whit and whimsy to this pitch-perfect storybook application. The art direction here is perfectly realized as the reader's attention is focused in all the right places to further this story along, creating nice moments of suspense and great humor.

I also appreciate the quality of the interactions found here, as they often are used to have the characters pantomime the action being read about in this story, as well as other fun hotspots that are never random movements or noises, but add to the richness and style used within this app. It is also especially nice how a subtle highlighting of sorts is used to show readers where to tap, offering hints along the way, very nicely done and informative without being distracting. A personal favorite detail is how the kids make up missing posters for Diva, allowing readers to choose the drawing that looks most like this missing chicken - a memorable moment which is nicely representative of the humor throughout this terrific, interactive story.

This app contains great music that adds to this story's suspense as well as fun sound effects, but it is worth noting that this app is without narration. I think that the terrific look of this app in general would encourage reluctant readers a great deal as I can’t imagine children not being instantly engaged by the first peek at this application.

Although a great choice for grade school kids, this app can be enjoyed by those younger as well if this book is read to them, while keeping in mind that the details, although comical in nature involving the chupacabra, may not be appropriate for very young or sensitive children.

I also like the fact that although a well-done English translation is included, an emphasis on some included Spanish words and intonations within the English section makes one aware of the Spanish roots of this app as well as the myth of the chupacabra itself, adding some nice diversity to the U.S. iTunes store

This app was originally delivered in 3 parts, with part 2 and 3 to be delivered by free updates during the month of October. True to their word, the 3rd installment was recently offered via update. I enjoyed this ending as much as I did the rest of this story. There is a moment that the imagery used could conceivably scare children most sensitive, but I am happy to say humor prevails here with a conclusion that kids will find funny and satisfying.

I recommend this story to a wide range of audiences, especially nice as without narration, this app would be a great choice to get kids interested in reading on their own. This would make a nice Halloween app, but will defiantly be favorite any time of year.

The Doodlegate is Closed. Lima Sky Tells Their Side of the "Doodle" Trademark Story

Posted by Jeff Scott on January 13th, 2011

PocketGamer.biz has the full details on what people have dubbed "Doodlegate." It's the other side of the story that we brought you a couple days ago revolving around the trademark for the word Doodle. We now know the Lima Sky side of the story, and shows some corrections are needed in the original story.

Igor Pusenjak of Lima Sky sent their side of the story to PocketGamer earlier today. It sets the record straight on a few of the details. For one, the story is much more conveluted that we were originally aware of, and two, the request for developers to change their app titles has been cancelled.

The story really revolves around trademark law and what has to be done to protect your trademarks. I don't want to overreach my knowledge of law, so I'll let Igor's statement speak to their side of the ordeal. Suffice to say it's complex.

The request for developers to change their app titles that had Doodle in them was due to an attempt to protect their trademark on "Doodle Jump." Here's the part where trademark law gets complex. Another developer, Accelerato was attempting to have the "Doodle Jump" trademark cancelled because Lima Sky did not prevent other developers from using the word "Doodle" in their titles. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Lima Sky has instructed their lawyers drop the claims with Apple against the apps with Doodle in the title. So all developers that got the notice will not need to make any changes.

The folks at Lima Sky are good people, they didn't want to cause anyone undo hassle. In the end they were just trying to protect the copyright for "Doodle Jump", one that no one can claim isn't theirs. In an over-litigous society, that gets really complex.

In a fast paced blog world, our rush to report the story quickly and from the information we had, was a bad choice. We now know that and it's not a choice we will make again.

Can we all just be friends now and start talking about the iPad 2?

(Follow up) Lima Sky Claiming Trademark on the Word "Doodle"?

Posted by Jeff Scott on January 11th, 2011

Follow up posted: We posted a follow up story with details from Lima Sky on their side of the story. Read the reply before jumping to any further conclusions.

Earlier today, developers of apps with the word Doodle in their titles started receiving notices from Lima Sky through Apple that they are in violation of Lima Sky intellectual property rights. Lima Sky is most famous for releasing one of the most popular games on the iOS platform, Doodle Jump.

I am as sick of the Doodle meme in iOS games as anyone - it's unoriginal and quite simply boring. But trying to claim that you own the Doodle term or art style seems a bit absurd. Doodle Jump itself isn't even unique - it just got many things right. It's an old art style applied to a game type that's been around forever.

Doodle Jump wasn't even the first app in the App Store with Doodle in the title. There were multiple apps in the iTunes App Store with the word Doodle in their title before Doodle Jump. Some of those include Doodle Kids, uDoodle, Pocket Doodle, and Doodle Chat. Outside of the App Store there are countless examples of games with Doodle in the name that pre-date Doodle Jump.

As of today, their have been 730 applications approved for the App Store with the word Doodle in their title. Unoriginal yes; trademark violation? I don't see how.

It's a rather odd move for a developer that has been so friendly with other developers in the community. This just seems like a frivolous pursuit of small developers on the App Store. And for what? Does Lima Sky want to be the next Tim Langdell? Langdell's claim of a trademark for the word Edge ended in failure when Electronic Arts stood up to him. And in the end he looked like the most evil person in the gaming industry.

We have requested comment from Lima Sky and their lawyers, but have yet to hear back. We're interested to find what their exact trademark claims are and what they are requesting of the developers of other Doodle titles. We'll update this post if we hear back from them.

Update: Developers have started talking about this over at the Touch Arcade forums here. Specifically, Bryan Duke of Acceleroto, developer of Doodle Hockey has a great description of the issue and his experiences.

Update 2: We got a standard form letter back from the lawyers representing Lima Sky confirming that Lima Sky is seeking to have apps with Doodle in the title change their names as they are claiming a trademark on the word Doodle. We'll try to contact the lawyer in charge directly to get a comment later today, after the Verizon press conference.

Update 3: I'm no lawyer. But I've been informed that we're actually talking about trademark here, not copyright. Article corrected.

[photo credit: Flickr user walkn]

Tuesday Morning App HQ?

Posted by Chris Hall on December 22nd, 2009

Christmas Time Is Here!
Christmas is in just four days, and the best gift of all is definitely a new iDevice for your loved one. Sure, you could give a plain ol' iPod Touch or iPhone, but wouldn't he/she be so much happier with an iDevice loaded up with a few apps? Here's 4 that I think everyone should have.

1. Tweetie 2
Whether or not the person you are buying your iDevice for uses Twitter or not... they will very soon. They may scoff at the idea now, but the ability to Tweet about your surroundings with text message ease makes the idea far more attractive. Being the best of its kind, Tweetie 2 is the way to go for all of your narcissistic Twitter needs.

2. Midomi Sound Hound
It used to just be called Midomi, and it used to be absolutely free, but given the fact that Shazam charges too, I figured I'd go with Midomi for my recommendation. Like Shazam, Midomi can tag a song out of midair, but it goes one step further and pulls songs that you sing or hum into the mic. Is "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man" stuck in your head, but you can't think of The Byrds? Pull out Midomi and start humming. Warning. If you are entirely tone deaf, this really won't do you much good.

3. Yelp
Sure, it's an old, no-fun app, but it is an app that I use on almost every vacation I take. Just select 'near me', choose 'restaurant', and then pick. It's that easy. If you need a bit more excitement in your life, I'd go with the even older UrbanSpoon, which does the same thing but leaves the selection process to the phone itself. Watching the slot machine selection process is great though.

4. Need For Speed: Undercover
I know I'm going to get flack for this, but here is my rationale. If you are pre-loading a game for this iDevice, I'm assuming that the person is somewhere between the ages of 13-18, and that they like games... otherwise they would probably just go buy their own games. You could certainly take a gamble and buy an RPG like SEED, Zenonia, or Inotia 2, but RPG's really don't show off the system like other games do. Remember, this is the game that people are going to show of to their buds and say, "Pshh, eat that PSP". Personally, I would go with a tower defense game, but there is nothing sexy about tower defense. To show off the full graphics capabilities of the iDevice, I would go with a full speed racer. Most would probably say that Real Racing is the way to go here, but as a show-off piece, it falls in one crucial area... cut scenes. Sure, the cut scene does nothing to enhance the gameplay, but if you really want to stick it to your UMD toting, PSP playing friend, just show them that your iDevice can roll with a game complete with full motion video. NFS: Underground really is the most complete video game on the device, even if it may not be the best.

Vector TD
Speaking of Tower Defense, Candystand just put Vector TD onto the iPhone. Sure, it's not the prettiest thing you'll ever see, but if it's anything like the web version, it will be fun. I'm just now downloading it to my iPhone, but I'll hopefully have a review up soon.

Big Dollars
For all the stories I hear of iPhone devs struggling to make ends meet, it's good to hear a success story or two every once in a while. According to a recent Reuters article, Tapulous says that it is pulling in a million dollars a month from its 'Tap Tap Revenge game series. According to the article, "Earlier this year, research group comScore said the game had been installed by one-third of Apple app users."

Having only 20 employees total, the guys over at Tapulous are certainly doing well for themselves. They aren't the only ones though... Lima Sky, the dev behind the Top 10 Paid App stalwart, Doodle Jump, recently announced that they have passed a million downloads. While they aren't pulling in a $1mil a month, they are splitting all the profit between its 2 employees, Igor and Marko Pusenjak. Merry Christmas indeed.

Big Finish
Well that's all I have for this week. I hope all of you have a great holiday weekend... just don't eat so much that you won't be able to read 148apps on Monday. That just wouldn't be good for anyone.

Doodle Jump

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Bonnie Eisenman on April 13th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RECOMMENDED
Doodle Jump is a jumping game reminiscent of PapiJump, but it's got a unique, sketchy art style that oozes charm. Avoiding aliens and UFOs during math class has never been so much fun!
Read The Full Review »