Converting fun into money
WILLEMSTAD - The development of a mobile gaming app is helping a team of young men from Curaçao convert fun into money. Within months of the introduction of Urban Chase last December the youngsters, also associated with the music group Area 51, saw the game move to the top of Caribbean downloads on Google Play. Within two weeks there had already been over 6,000 downloads.
The concept was jointly conceived by young musical brothers Ryan and Xavier Navarro, moved to the stage of a functioning app by game developer, Margin Nahr, and attracted investments through the assistance of Yasser Casseres, a youthful financial manager. The idea came to fruition almost two years after Nahr, CEO of Margin Entertainment, was introduced to Area 51 and the idea of a video game, themed on the experience of the music group, was spawned.
Xavier, lead singer for Area 51, is marketing manager for Urban Chase while Ryan is creative director. The objective of the game is for the player, represented by either QD or Dopie, to pursue and recover Frosty, a sprightly chihuahua owned by an attractive girl by the name of Jinni, who runs away in chase of an iguana owned by the popular Iguana Man of Curaçao.
You earn points for capturing and returning Frosty to Jinni by dodging different obstacles and people and by using coins gathered along the way to buy gadgets and vitamins to keep up with Frosty. The Urban Chase story unravels on the streets of Punda and Otrobanda in Curaçao and Ryan believes the game will help promote awareness of the island internationally.
“We want to educate the younger generation in Curaçao about the culture but also at the same time promote the island internationally,” he told T&T Guardian. When this writer met Ryan and Casseres they were promoting the game via a live open-air broadcast on the streets of Punda, the deejay pounding Area 51’s Oh Maria and Bon Bon Sexy—both currently available on iTunes.
Prizes were awarded to members of the public who reached certain milestones on the game. As of that encounter in May, there were already more than 10,000 downloads on IOS and Android platforms. “We came up with the idea to make this app that plays basically on the island of Curaçao that we can use to promote Area 51 while entertaining the public at the same time” Ryan said.
Author’s disclosure: Wesley Gibbings won a prize of a weekend stay at an Otrobanda hotel during promotion of the game in Curaçao.