It has been more than 25 years since Channel 4 first aired a little known American kids TV show called Biker Mice From Mars. The series was a huge hit stateside and had reasonable ratings and favorable opinions amongst British children. In 2006 ITV brought it back for one more run to remind us all of the bravery of animated mice on bikes protecting their home planet.
Since blasting into pop culture in 1993 the show has spawned two video games, one for the now ancient yet idolized Super Nintendo and then for the Nintendo DS and PS2 In 2006.
However it is to the west of Ireland where an ambitious games design company called 9th Impact are striving to let the mice rev their engines on our i-phones and androids in 2016.
The gaming group are a "A mix of Italian Designers, French Animators, German and Irish Engineers who are former employees of PopCap Games and a token Canadian Storywriter".
This project is merely an I.T reflection on the current state of Irish employment. At the turn of the millennium, forestry, fishing and farming were three of the main employers in the Emerald Isle. In the early 2000's an economic surge towards the building and construction industry saw thousands flock to jobs on sites making hundreds of euro a week. In 2008 The Celtic Tiger let out it's final roar and those tradesman swapped building sites in Ireland for the shores of the UK, Dubai and Australia. Into this vacuum came an Irish I.T bubble. Fueled by employers like HP, Intel, Google, Facebook, Ebay and EA Games, vacancies for java developers, software engineers and programmers spread.
Many chose to pursue traditional forms of college education options such as teaching, medicine, business and liberal arts yet since 2010 a trend has seen more young minds stray to computer science. With salaries starting at 500 Euro a week for programmers and higher, the decision to pursue a degree with a genuine job opportunity struck a chord with a new generation.
With this wealth of tech minded grads comes a start up community, not unlike those seen in Silicon Valley but with a more European approach. NUI Galway graduate Finn Krewer is one of those leading computer brains with an electronic engineering background, he is the fulcrum around which Biker Mice is making a comeback in Ireland's growing startup world.
Q1. Why Biker Mice?
Biker Mice from Mars was my absolute favorite TV show as a kid and I dreamed about being one of the Biker Mice riding through the streets of Chicago. I grew up to become a game developer and could see how cool that idea would be as a mobile game.
Q2. Why Do You Think British Gamers Will Like Biker Mice?
Millions of British people watched Biker Mice on Channel 4 in the '90s and they will get to momentarily re-live their youth. Even for people who don't know the show, playing a smart talking, rule-breaking, ass-kicking mouse on a motorbike is a pretty fun game.
Q3. What Advice Do You Have For Aspiring Game Developers?
Start experimenting with game building tools like Corona and learn a programming language as you go. Keep making small games and get people playing them and giving you feedback - you'll learn so much from this. Once you're ready to build your dream game - go for it and enjoy the ride!
Q4. What Are The Hardest &/Or Most Rewarding Aspects Of Being In A Tech Startup
The hardest thing about being a start-up is realising there are a lot of big corporations with tonnes of money competing against you. The most rewarding moments are when you see someone enjoying a game you've worked hard on or they get in touch to tell you it was fun.
9th Impact have turned to crowdsurfing to fund the project. The game's loyal fans and cult status for more than two decades both in the UK and US are helping their cause.
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