Noodlecake Studios proves that game development is alive and well in Bridge City

By in Culture

It’s important to be inspiring, talented and humble when making video games, and Saskatoon’s Noodlecake Studios stands as a beacon of potential for future game developers and aspiring artists alike.

Founded in 2011, Noodlecake Studios saw early success in the same year with their game Super Stickman Golf and its sequels on iPhone and Android. From there, they continued pumping out mobile games that cemented them as more than just a small-town game developer. Between publishing for other developers and attending events like the Game Developers Conference, Noodlecake proves that hard work and passion lead to great things.

In an email to the Sheaf, Noodlecake’s chief operations officer Ryan Holowaty speaks about developing games and living in Saskatoon.

“The quality of living is great here, and the talent coming out of the University of Saskatchewan is top notch,” Holowaty said.

Many students at the U of S — in computer sciences or not — dream of working on video games one day. However, in an industry as unpredictable as video-game development, the barrier for entry is often intimidating. Holowaty offers his own advice on getting started.

“First off, make stuff. [It] doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, or what you build it in, just make games,” Holowaty said.

Yet, Holowaty believes that game development requires more than just code writing.

“As long as you have a passion for games, you can usually find a job based on your skill set,” Holowaty said. “[It requires everything] from marketing and business to designers and artists to musicians, community managers and more.”

According to Holowaty, Noodlecake’s inspiration derives from the emergence of Apple’s iOS App Store and the staff members’ pasts as lifelong gamers. Games like Scorched Earth and Worms Golf were instrumental in creating Super Stickman Golf — a familiar name to many millennial gamers.

Their inspiration comes from outside the industry as well. Holowaty notes that different Saskatchewanian ideals made their way into Noodlecake’s design philosophy. For Holowaty, this is just Noodlecake being honest about their provincial roots.

“We keep our heads down and work smart, and that feels like a very Saskatchewan way of doing things,” Holowaty said.

The future for Noodlecake looks bright, as Holowaty states that they have multiple games in development and plan to expand beyond the mobile sphere.

“Right now, we are working on some titles that will be hitting the PC and console markets,” Holowaty said. “I can’t wait to see our logo pop up on a PS4 or Nintendo Switch game.”

The studio also publishes games for smaller developers, helping both to extend their reach and build up smaller studios in the process.

“We love working with all the different [developers] across the globe and have made some lifelong friends in the process,” Holowaty said.

Holowaty also shares some stories of the lighter side of game development, such as the time the studio received a cease-and-desist letter from Chuck Norris’s attorney over a quotation from a reviewer that they had used in the App Store listing.

“Apparently, ‘Chuck Norris Approved’ is an actual copyrighted term, and we got a letter saying the game was in fact not approved by him and that we needed to remove that line. We ended up framing the letter and hanging it up in the office,” Holowaty said.

Prospective game developers — and artists in general — should look to Noodlecake for inspiration on how to succeed in the game-development scene. Holowaty and the rest of the team are shining examples of what can come from mixing passion with drive and humility with smarts — along with a healthy dose of Saskatchewanian pride.

To find out more about Noodlecake, visit their website at noodlecake.com or search for them in the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

Reid Braaten

Graphic: Noodlecake Studios / Supplied