The original purpose of phones, or any other means of communication, was to connect people – but nowadays there are many who argue that cellular phones are doing just the opposite: making us less sociable, the shiny light of smartphones perpetually flickering in our eyes.
So it might come as a relief to know that there are social gaming platforms that actually force you to connect with others. That’s what new Israeli startup Nextends does, offering a shared-screen platform for smartphones.
A shared-screen game means you need to have someone share their phone with you, so that you can place it next to yours and play the game on a double screen.
Nextends was founded earlier this year by two cousins – Elad Amit, a programmer and game developer who consults for hi-tech companies in Israel, and Ynon Lan, graphic designer and motion graphics artist currently studying computer science and animation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Lan says that “our mission is to create a more social gaming experience in which everyone brings a small part to the table and thus create an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts”.
Their first game is called MonstAir Hockey and it utilizes two smartphones placed next to each other, for now – only iPhones. Nextends turns these two smartphones into an extended playground as each phone is its owner’s side of the hockey field. This way, a user plays over his phone with the person next playing on his own, thus doubling the size of a game played merely on one smartphone and creating a shared experience. Two screens, one puck.
Tested on family members
While designing the game’s theme, Lan consulted his six-year-old brother. Lan tells that “after deciding on the monster theme, I showed the concept and the designs to my kid brother, whose eyes lit up as he said “cool!”, a rare reaction from a six- year-old these days. Since then, I run my ideas past him and if I can get him to look up from whatever he is doing (usually playing on his iPad), I know I did good.”
MonstAir Hockey was launched a few weeks ago, but a partial version of it was tested earlier. Amit talks about his ‘ah-ha’ moment: “when I played with my wife at a bar with the very first version, and boy was it ugly, everyone around us was entranced! People are aching for fun ways to socialize.”
More games and more supported platforms such as iPad and Android devices are planned to be released in the future. Nextends is currently still looking for investment…Read More>>