(The Following is a reprint of a story from the October issue of Christian News Northwest)
By EDWIN OUELLETTE – CNNW intern reporter
NEWBERG — After releasing its first iPhone app game G in April to rave reviews, local indie game development company Soma Games is working on a sequel.
The thinker-puzzle game G is set in a futuristic, space-age “steampunk” world. During the game, humanity comes into contact with a mysterious cloud of minerals and resources, known as “The Rain.” As the sounding officer aboard a spaceship, each player must explore this new phenomenon. In the game, players must shoot rockets at specific targets; however, gravity, obstacles and power-ups influence the rocket’s path.
So far, reviews for G have been very positive, said Chris Skaggs, owner and founder of Soma Games. Soma Games was started in 2005 by Skaggs, also owner of the web development firm Code Monkeys, based in Newberg. Skaggs said G has been applauded universally, by Christians and non-Christians alike. Earlier this year, G won the “Best iPhone Game” award at the annual Christian Game Developers Conference July 30 to Aug. 1 at Concordia University in Portland.
“With its beautifully hand-drawn art and meditative musical arrangements, (G) looks gorgeous and plays quite well for a first effort,” declared a review by AppSmile.com.
It’s no secret that the video game industry is booming despite the recession. “More people know who the master-chief is than Robinson Crusoe,” said Skaggs. Yet even non-Christian game developers have noticed a giant gap exists in the Christian game market, said Skaggs. “It’s very untapped.”
In the past, Christian games have had a bad reputation for being poor quality, said Skaggs. From the beginning, he knew Soma Games would have to raise the bar and offer a top-notch game; complete with stellar graphics, amazing sound, and a rich storyline. “We put a lot of time into G … We busted our chops on it,” he said.
Skaggs made it clear that although Soma Games is a group of Christians making video games, they are not a “Christian video game company,” and they’re not making “up-in-your-face” Christian games.
“There are no Scripture references, no Biblical characters and no telling of the Jonah story – other companies have been there and done a fine job. We hope to try something a little different,” states the Soma Games web site. Instead, their goal is to make allegorical games with Christian worldviews. There’s a deep meaning behind the games — much like C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series. “We are taking a lot of our cues from Lewis,” agreed Skaggs.
Soma Games is currently working on four different storylines. First is the “Arc” storylline, which will features four games: G, F, E and Arc. The first three games will be iPhone app games, while Arc will be released as a console game, said Skaggs. The second storyline, “GROG,” is about giant robots battling giant monster invaders on Earth. The third storyline, “The Race,” is a futuristic, fantasy role-playing game about mysterious avatars and a world on the verge of revolution. The fourth storyline, “Dark Glass,” is a supernatural, spiritual spy game.
Soma Games hopes to have F, the sequel to G, released by Christmas. Web site is www.somagames.com <http://www.somagames.com> .