His dreams of putting up his own real-world foodcart business may have been crushed, but Filipino game developer Erick Garayblas was able to transform this disappointment into something positive. The setback not only gave birth to the hit iOS and Android mobile game Streetfood Tycoon, but has also spawned a sequel, Streetfood Tycoon: World Tour, which has come out today, Jan. 24, on the App Store.
“One of my biggest frustrations was to come up with my own foodcart business. Several years back I actually thought of putting up one but have never gotten around it,” Erick told e27.
When he became interested in business-related simulation games such as the different Tycoon titles, he decided to come up with his own offering that would revolve around his real-life love for streetfood, which, as far as he knows, is a microbusiness that has never been “tycooned” in games.
“Being a fan of streetfood, I thought of using it so I can also incorporate some of our local culture and hopefully promote the Philippines to the world. That’s the short story! And yes, I was so surprised that it got so popular especially here in Asia! A lot of people were able to relate and really loved the game,” Erick said.
As you may glean from the title, Streetfood Tycoon allows you to manage and expand your own foodcart business. The addictive gameplay and local flavor has won the hearts of players and critics alike, even earning Streetfood Tycoon and its developer Kuyi Mobile — the one-man company Erick founded — the Best Handheld/Mobile Game Award at the Philippine Game Development Festival Annual Awards 2012.
Streetfood Tycoon: World Tour ups the ante by making the game mechanics more challenging and incorporating different cultures.
“In the sequel, you’re not stuck with just a set of streetfood but instead, you can choose where to begin your journey and what kind of streetfood to sell. A different country means a different experience,” he said.
Interestingly enough, streets in a way also inspired the name of Kuyi Mobile, which Erick, a veteran mobile game developer, set up in 2009 to focus on iOS and now also Android games. It was initially a hobby that turned into a full-time job for the developer.
“’Kuyi’ is actually the name of our pet cat whom we found in the streets. It wasn’t long before she became a part of our family and my love for cats convinced me to name my company ‘Kuyi Mobile’ back when it was still a hobby. A lot of people think it was a Japanese word for something or an acronym,” he shared.
While Kuyi Mobile remains a one-man startup, Erick outsources sound and music production, and late last year started forming a team as part of his plans to expand the company.
“Everyone is still working remotely from their own homes as I would like to experiment if this type of approach will work. Eventually, we may just have to get our own office,” he said.
A mobile game based on the streetfood business that mixes addictive gameplay and local flavor, developed by a startup named after a street cat. Now that’s an unusual but heartwarming recipe for success!