Week in Mobile: Why one developer brought its first game back to iOS

I Love Strawberries is a simple game: Eat as much fruit as you can in as few jumps as possible. However, there’s a bigger story behind the iOS title, which Atari released at the end of 2010. Developer Coffee Stain Studios has just reclaimed the rights and polished up the game.

Coffee Stain has been busy since 2010, developing the Sanctum tower-defense meets first-person shooter hybrid games, helping Gone North Games with its upcoming platform-adventure A Story About My Uncle, and introducing the ridiculous Goat Simulator to the world of sim games.

I Love Strawberries - 1But I Love Strawberries is special. One of Coffee Stain’s designers, Oscar Jilsén, thought it up as a “one-button game” and got it put on an arcade machine at the University of Skövde in Sweden. Then a couple students there got together and founded the studio.  

“During our startup time in 2010, we had no money, and our initial plan was to build up a bankroll from quickly developing a ‘handful of mobile games,’” Coffee Stain’s CEO Anton Westbergh told GameZone. “I think our first goal was to launch six games in a year, but I guess it ended up with more like one game, which was I Love Strawberries.”

The physics-based jumping game has players flinging the main character, BoxBoy, in the direction of the luscious red fruit. The fewer moves you make, the higher the score.

“At this time, we also hadn't made up our mind about whether to self-publish or not, and we decided to go with Atari,” said Westbergh. “Game didn't sell too well, but we got a reasonable bag of money upfront, which helped us get some hardware and stuff to get going.

I Love Strawberries - 2“In some aspects, I think I Love Strawberries was one of the most valuable projects we've worked on just because of how much we learned, not just about developing games but about the industry as a whole.”

Coffee Stain’s agreement with Atari ran out this year, so the studio asked for the game rights back — and got them. The developer made only a few tweaks to the original, including fixing a crash bug that’s been there since 2011. “The game also got iPhone 5 screen support, and we got rid of some things we don't like, such as the Facebook integration,” said Westbergh.

“That said, as a coder, I love to refactor code, and it's a dangerous, dangerous thing to open up such an old project. I guess we've all been there once or twice. Still, of the main benefits of being a CEO, you can trash as much code as you like and then go and hide in your office.”

So why is I Love Strawberries worth playing after all this time?

“It's a really solid and polished game with a nice scoring system and truckloads of berries to munch,” said Westbergh. “Lots of people seem to think it's too hard, but I think the difficulty is what makes it fun.”