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The number two paid app on iOS... is based on a $10 GameSalad template
The number two paid app on iOS... is based on a $10 GameSalad template
February 6, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

As of this writing, a game called Red Bouncing Ball Spikes is the number two paid app on the U.S. iPhone store.

Strangely, it appears to be based on a template for drag-and-drop game creation tool GameSalad called "Red Ball Template" -- which sells for $10 on tutorial and tools site

The template's creator promises that "You can very easily create many levels and turn this into a full game in no time!" -- advice that seems to have been taken extremely literally. Red Bouncing Ball Spikes uses the same extremely simple artwork that the template ships with.

Things get weirder: users on the GameSalad forums theorize that the game's developer Louis Leidenfrost may be a pseudonym for a developer called Mateen Pekan. Pekan is a controversial figure on those forums and elsewhere. The evidence? App aggregator AppDecide lists the game under Pekan's name.

As with Flappy Bird, there are accusations that the game's meteoric rise in the charts has little to do with legitimate traffic -- but as yet no conclusive evidence has been produced. Red Bouncing Ball Spikes was originally released in December, but rocketed to the top of the charts today.

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SD Marlow
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Perhaps it's just popularity by association. In addition to Flappy Bird, Nguyen released two other games that have sharply climbed to top spots, and one of them is called Super Ball Juggling.

Troy Walker
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perhaps a vulnerability exists that has been yet revealed to the public with the iPhone store... that would be my guess.

GDI Doujins
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It's stories that these that make me want to throw in the towel and regret the $20,000 I spent on independent artists.

Time for another game in the vein of Cow Clicker but it'll be mobile charts topper.

Phil Maxey
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Nothing wrong with that as long as you have another $20k for promotion.

Alfa Etizado
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I think people shouldn't be surprised anymore when random stuff makes it to the top. It has happened many times. Games with a very simple mechanic, a mechanic that's been done before a lot of times, and with apparently nothing too special going for it.

Make a game where players have to foresee the trajectory of an object (doodle jump, angry birds, jetpack joyride, fruit ninja, flappy bird), have only one command, look simple and maybe has something that people can associate your game with. Throw bird, jetpack, temple, whatever in your game's name or use art that resembles something else. Then hope you get lucky and your game gets on a feedback loop of popularity, where popularity feeds more popularity.

Emmanuel Henne
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Here comes "Angry Flappy Doodle Birds: Jetpack Edition"

Arthur Hulsman
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You would be surprised on how effective this is. Especially with crosslinking through apps and other strategies. Don't tell anyone though.

R. Hunter Gough
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just a few months ago that COULD have been "Angry Flappy Candy Doodle Birds: Jetpack Edition Saga".

Mike Kiessling
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I like
Angry Scrolls Clash with Friends vs Flappy Zombies Saga

Jacek Wesolowski
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Needs more plants.

Will Hendrickson
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Why am I spending all this time with isosurfaces and multiplayer network architecture??!!

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Because you love game making and not use game to be rich?

Fan Zhang
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It feels like a trick which already racked China App Store for years: you pay a company, the company use part of the money to buy your app, they have many part-time labor who can gain a bit money from purchasing and rating, when Apple don't care so much for this, they just use free bots to save labor cost.

Through such a easy way, any app can become No.1 or 2 top paid app quickly. Thanks to that, the list for top paid app in China always full of scam apps with almost 98% five star rating.

I'm not saying it must be the same trick, but it's nothing new to see an app like this reached the peak for Chinese.

EDIT: I have checked information of the guy Mateen Pekan, and I am pretty sure it is the same thing happens to China for years. Obviously you are facing something called "刷榜" in Chinese.

Rudy Gjurkovic
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I just don't understand it anymore on how the AppStore works - maybe I never did. Our game Blaster X HD can hardly even be seen, and we are premium and really put a lot into it. Maybe very simple gameplay is the key...

Michael Pianta
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As far as accusations of corruption or other shenanigans, I don't know anything about that. So I will give these guys the benefit of the doubt for now.

In which case, I think there are two basic takeaways:

1. Mobile users seem to clearly prefer extremely simple interaction. I think any mobile game could probably be made more popular by being made more simple. The exception might be established brands that are trying to capitalize on existing fan bases. But other than that, I think the ideal mobile game should be conceptualized as a one "button" game.

2. It is also increasingly clear to me that the appstore is like the youtube of software development. Nobody fully understands why certain things go viral, but it is generally the case that things that do go viral are short, simple and funny. If you look just at music videos on youtube (which I imagine might be analogous to isolating games on the appstore) you will see that a disproportionate percentage of viral music videos are jokes, parodies, or really ridiculous, or else really bad (and that is specifically why it's popular). It is comparatively rare for a "serious" song from a real artist to go viral (although it does occasionally happen). I think the same dynamic is in play on the appstore. I heard a lot about Flappy Bird, but I didn't download it until a friend of mine told me how bad it was. "The worst thing ever" he said. Really? Well this I gotta see. In this way being shockingly pathetic or inept could be just as lucrative as being good.

SD Marlow
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Your second point, combined with "free to download," is likely the exact dynamic at work. You could create a kitten vs puppies game that just flashes different pictures of kittens and puppies when the screen is tapped, and get like a billion downloads. It's digital junk food.

Martin Edmaier
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Alot of comments said it before mobile games are most of the time a quick experience. And players play that games because its boring to wait for a bus, meeting etc... I know it hurts to invest a tone of money and time to make a good game and then release it as a mobile game and nobody plays it buys it whatever.

I just think when someone invest alot of money into a mobile game development is a bit a waste right now.
Its better to make a console, vita etc game.. then.

From my experience its like with old mobile releases that i get around 200-300 downloads a day and then have 100 uninstalls or more..(free i mean..)

Most people that buy your game will keep in on the device, because they paid for it;)

I think alot of devs and companies dont understand the players and the mobile market and then waste alot of money for development for a target audience they dont know.