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Hawaii’s Five Game Developers

September 3rd, 2010 by Ryan Ozawa · 9 Comments · Business, Hawaii, Technology

Last month, I blogged about an Entertainment Software Association report that said the Hawaii video game industry had added $23 million to the local economy. The report said that the revenue was generated by five “Interactive Entertainment Software Locations.”

I asked if anyone knew who those five developers were. Local “renaissance chick” Traci Toguchi also wanted to know who they were. But she went the extra mile and asked the ESA. She got her answer today, and passed it along:

  1. Aloha Island (Honolulu)
  2. Avatar Reality (Honolulu)
  3. Blue Planet Software (Honolulu)
  4. JAMDAT Mobile Hawaii (Honolulu)
  5. Maui Games (Kihei)

Now, JAMDAT Mobile Hawaii was headed by Henk Rogers, who is also the head of Blue Planet Software (both companies focused on licensing Tetris.) I’m pretty sure JAMDAT no longer exists. Meanwhile, Rogers is also co-founder of Avatar Reality. So three of the five game developers included in the ESA report are closely intertwined.

As for the other two? The last update on the Maui games site is from April 2006. And Aloha Island’s latest update is from April 2007.

Suffice it to say, I’m sure that the lion’s share of the 165 people the ESA says work in our video game industry work for Henk Rogers.

I’m confident, however, that there are more game developers in Hawaii than the five counted by the ESA. Heck, I’d say the folks behind the “Bartleby’s Book of Buttons” iPad app could count as game developers. But if you can think of any other local company focused on video games, I’d love to hear about them.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Denise

    Thanks for the Bartleby mention Ryan! I’d also add Edutainment Resources, Inc. and 808 Interactive. Even PREL has done Nintendo DS stuff. (Design and dev, but not the code)

  • Alex Cortez

    Maui Games!? AWESOME! Way to represent the local Maui businesses. Thanks for posting, I had been wondering who the 5 companies were.

  • Gene Park

    I’d love to hear about them too. As a former (and still sometimes) video game critic who has attended two E3s, it’d be great to know there’s at least some presence in Hawaii.

    I always thought it strange that Capcom chose Hawaii to announce some choice titles earlier this year.

  • David Nolte

    I can confirm that JAMDAT Hawaii/EA Mobile Hawaii is gone, since I was the general manager for the EA studio. Also Maui Games is in hiatus since I know the folks behind it. There is at least one more company (mine) working on video games and at least one working on traditional board/pen & paper games and puzzles. http://www.pathem.com/

  • Shawn Taras

    There is also Tetris Online, Inc. founded by Minoru Arakawa, Henk Rogers and Alexey Pajitnov in 2006. They have a variety of products:
    http://www.tetrisfriends.com
    http://www.tetrisparty.com
    http://apps.facebook.com/tetris_battle
    http://apps.facebook.com/tetrisfriends
    http://apps.facebook.com/feevo-game

  • Dale Thomas

    Hi there
    Thanks for the great post. For the past year I have been an indie iOS game developer in Japan, and before that I worked on PS3 titles, but now I am looking to work in a game company in Hawaii. This is a good resource.
    Cheers

  • Moana Games

    Aloha! New kid in town – Moana Games, LLC Honolulu). I started the company just a few days ago and it is a one man shop as of now. I am very close to releasing my first game for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad – Tiki Spark. the game takes it’s roots in an ancient Hawaiian legend about two goddesses: Pele and Poliahu. I am also starting a new project on Kickstarter trying to raise some money for the game. Look for it next week. Mahalo.

  • Marsha Bain

    Please put me on a mailing list. I am working on a few project one The Zoo an adventure, and Texas Sun simulated with modified changes from the book.

  • Theron Benson

    Excellent! Thanks for the article. I am an industry veteran looking for new opportunities. I’ve been Animating triple AAA titles for over 17 years, with senior/lead/director experience the last 10.

    Give me a shout if you need animation.

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