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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

18422215_10155075868145528_7208135263268758158_oOne sunny day in May, we decided that it was the perfect day to take a well earned break from our recent hard work (with the release of Jackpot Bingo and big updates to Cross-Stitch World) and take a trip to the beach!

Hunstanton (or Sunny Hunny as it’s known locally) is the closest beach to our office in Ely, so we took a drive and arrived just in time for lunch!

First off, we enjoyed some fish and chips while successfully thwarting several attempts of chip theft by a menacing gang of seagulls.

We then headed to an arcade, where we changed up our coins for 2ps and had a go at winning some prizes! No-one managed to hit the jackpot this time, but we did collect a fair few tokens to exchange for treats.

Next stop was a sweet shop where we stocked up on rock, candy and a marshmallow man on a stick for Lucy! This was followed by a pleasant stroll along the front back to the beach at Old Hunstanton, where we explored the sand, although no one was quite brave enough (or appropriately dressed!) to take a proper paddle. Alice and Lauren did explore some fairly deep puddles though!

After that it was time to head back to the office to finish off the day and shake the sand out of our shoes. It was a fun excursion, which we will repeat in the future – Graeme who was on his annual leave has made us promise to make sure he’s in the next time we go!

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Jackpot Bingo!

Jackpot Bingo!

We’ve just launched our latest game, Jackpot Bingo! It’s a new casual, social bingo game and is available now to play on Facebook!

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Grab your Bingo cards and join the fun! Jackpot Bingo features both US and UK style games, both are super easy and free to play.

Play and chat with hundreds of other people from around the world – make new friends and become a part of the community! Unlock colorful new daubers to mark your cards in style or treat your fellow players to a round of drinks to show your generosity.

There’s loads of rooms to choose from including free card rooms and high roller rooms with bigger payouts! You can relax in an automatic room or enjoy an exciting, fast-paced manual game. Play with up to 8 cards at once, with up to 6 prizes available per round! Jackpot Bingo also features special Jackpot rounds with mega prizes!

Play Jackpot Bingo today and become part of the community!

Head over to the game now to check it out You can also head over to the Jackpot Bingo Community Page on Facebook and like it, so that you can keep up to date with the latest news and offers from the game!

Play the game on Facebook here

Visit the Jackpot Bingo Community Page here

Amazon UK Developer Spotlight

Amazon UK Developer Spotlight

This week we had the awesome news that Facility 47 has been chosen as a winner in the Amazon UK Developer Spotlight!!

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The UK Developer Spotlight is designed to show off great apps that were developed in the UK and is open to larger studios as well as indies like us! The initiative is editorial in nature, with the winners being selected by the Amazon team after a careful review.

If you don’t already know, Facility 47 is our most recent point and click adventure game. It is set in an isolated research facility in the depths of the Antarctic; players must solve puzzles and search for clues as they make their way round the facility and its surroundings, discovering the mysterious history of the facility.

We’re really proud of the game (if we do say so ourselves!) and hope that this win will help it reach new players who will hopefully enjoy it as much as the Amazon team!


If you haven’t already tried it out you can get Facility 47 on the Amazon Appstore. You can also find it on other platforms using the links below:

Facility 47 on the Apple App Store
Facility 47 on Google Play
Facility 47 for Windows PC


Or, if you need some more convincing you can check out the trailer.

 

Forest Frolics

Forest Frolics

This Christmas for our main annual social event, we decided to head to Center Parcs again – it was an easy choice after all the fun we had last year! This time we tried out Woburn Forest for something a bit different.

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The weather was kind for us this year, turning slightly milder for the weekend we’d chosen. When we arrived the first priority was to enjoy some delicious pancakes at The Pancake House! We followed this with a visit to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise to check out the slides and discover one of our new favourites, the lazy river, complete with rubber rings!

This year we all decided to head to the Aqua Sana Spa on the Friday evening, and enjoyed a lot of relaxation. There were fire and ice rooms, an outdoor heated pool, rainforest showers and a very relaxing room called the ‘Salt Inhalation Room’ where Greg fell asleep, and had to be woken by the staff at the end of our session. We all left the spa feeling very chilled out and ready for some fun the next day!

aqua sana day oneAqua Sana Woburn Forest, by Center Parcs – Shared under CC BY 3.0 license

On Saturday the braver ones of us decided to climb to the top of a tall pole and jump off, as part of the high ropes challenge!

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We also had to balance up some poles with our eyes closed (and only a little cheating) and complete a vertical obstacle course. We tried out lots of other activities throughout the day too including archery, badminton, squash and table tennis.

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Saturday evening meant time for a few drinks and some games – we started with Telestrations, our old favourite. Then we moved on to Quiplash, a fun game where you try and come up with the most amusing answer to fill in the blank – for example, “The worst thing for an evil witch to turn you into _____” for which we had the answer “The inside of a goat”. Finally we played the Hat Game (a mix of Articulate and Charades) – trying to describe the phrase “Is that a trowel in your lederhosen?” in one word proved quite tricky! We ended the evening by enjoying some music together and sharing some funny stories.

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Sunday was a more relaxed day – thanks to a rather persistent cold that has been making its way round the office lately (don’t worry, we’re all better now!) we weren’t quite up to the fearless battle of hearts, minds and physical fitness that is the team challenge, so we opted for playing some pool, exploring the village (including the very peaceful nature area!) and dipping our toes into the pool again one last time.

In the evening we enjoyed a few games of Ten Pin Bowling – the victors were Greg, and Kieran (who pretended to have bad bowling skills and then swept in to overtake us all!). We accompanied this with Slush Puppies, because what’s a trip to the bowling alley without one! We then went to Huck’s American Bar and Grill for our big group meal.

By Monday we were worn out but contented, and it was time for one last bit of fun before we left for home – half of us tried out the adventure golf course while the others went next door for a horse riding session at Brook Stables. A fun end to a very enjoyable weekend and a great way to start the year :)

Almost..

 

Twist and Shout!

Twist and Shout!

We have recently launched an all new game ‘Tile Twist World’!! A unique new Twist on Puzzle Games, available now on Facebook, Android, Kindle and iOS!

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Twist interlocking shapes to reveal hundreds of stunning pictures in this unique new Puzzle Game! Featuring a myriad of intriguing tile shapes, all of which fit together perfectly to slowly reveal a hidden image as you solve the puzzle.

Tile Twist comes with a wonderful variety of puzzles, each containing a beautiful image – you can also create your very own puzzles from images and photos to share with friends!

Play Tile Twist World today and discover a unique new puzzling adventure!

Head over to the game now to check it out You can also head over to the Tile Twist Community Page on Facebook and like it, so that you can keep up to date with the latest news and offers from the game!

Play the game:

Facebook – https://apps.facebook.com/tile-twist-world/

Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…

iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/…/app/tile-twist-world/id1182933103

Community Page – https://www.facebook.com/tiletwistworld

 

Festive Fun!

Festive Fun!

group-photoAfter a year of lots of hard work, including some great new features for Fishing World and the release of Tile Twist World, it was time to enjoy a little festive fun!

Shortly before Christmas we spent an afternoon enjoying some games in the office. We all got to open our gifts from our Secret Santas which included an awesome Harry Potter themed cushion for Alice, a book of pranks for Greg (which has put Graeme slightly on edge) and lots of very warm, cute and fluffy winter socks!

We then moved on to a den building contest – having been collecting boxes for several months in preparation, we split into two teams and each one raced to get the best boxes! We had half an hour to build the best den we could, before the den judge Richard graded them on stability, aesthetics and size.

It was a very close call, with both teams desperately vying for bonus points, but eventually the winner was decided – the Castle den!! You can check out both of our creations below.

winning-dendenFinally we settled down for the much anticipated ‘Graeme’s Christmas Quiz!’ This included a stat guessing round (did you know that, on average, 1000 people in the UK are injured by their own Christmas tree every year?!), some Christmas film acronyms, and the customary music guessing round. We also got to enjoy some delicious Biscoff cake courtesy of Lauren.

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Keep an eye out for a blog on the second part of our Christmas fun, coming soon!!

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Award winner!

Award winner!

Last week SyncDevelopHER held the 2nd Annual DevelopHER awards in Ipswich. Alice, one of our talented programming team members, was nominated for the Best Newcomer award and, we are very proud to say, won!!

Here’s Alice enjoying her trophy!

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The DevelopHER Awards is a not for profit award ceremony that is designed to raise the profile of women in technology in East Anglia and in doing so, help encourage the next generation of women in tech by providing female role models.

Huge congratulations from all of us Alice, and thank you for being a wonderful member of our team!

 

A Frightful October!

A Frightful October!

This October we’ve had our helping of scary experiences!

Part way through the month we held our second Murder Mystery evening! Everyone took on a different character linked to the Heavy Metal band ‘Satanic Saints’, and we got together to investigate the murder of its lead singer Tarantula.

The night was led by Kim Detective Rachel Owens, and there were many suspects after Tarantula’s money, love or fame. Stoney Walker, the band’s bass guitarist, was an obvious suspect due to his paranoid delusions and obsessive behaviour. Other guests included Peaches Van Helden, Tarantula’s ‘porn star wife’; ‘The Skull’, an obsessed teenage fan; and Sabrina Hitchmen, a PA on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Lots of guesses were made but in the end it was revealed that the perpetrator was Rick Rocker, a roadie, who seemed to think singing classic rock hits to himself at random points throughout the night made him ‘down with the kids’ – he had been in love with Tarantula and murdered him after being rejected! We had lots of fun again and will definitely be having another Murder Mystery evening in the future.

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Then came Halloween itself; the bar had been set high from last year’s costumes (see our blog about them here but there was definitely a good effort this time round too! Costumes included Ghostly Bride, Mad Scientist and a very creepy Red Riding Hood Wolf! We had fun confusing a woman who came to deliver a package, and our newest temporary staff member Lauren certainly had an interesting introduction when she came to visit before starting the following day.

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And while Kim came dressed as Gerard, Gerard had his own Shark costume, courtesy of Lucy.

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After a day of fun and games in the office, including our new favourite the Hat Game, we headed into Ely for a Ghost Walk. We got to hear lots of local tales of ghosts and ghoulies, and explored some of the most haunted areas of the city, still wearing our costumes of course; finally, we all headed home to scrub off the face paint and fake blood and enjoy our free sweets from the Ghost Walk!

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Inspiring some creative writing!

Inspiring some creative writing!

Recently we were able to help out a class of schoolchildren using our games as part of their learning!

Mr Tregenza teaches 8-11 year olds in England – he got in touch with us as he was using our game “Escape from Darkmoor Manor” with his pupils. We were happy to help out by sharing a bit of the concept material from the game for his class to use.

The class played the game together and used it to inspire some very creative writing which they kindly shared with us – in fact, they enjoyed it so much that they decided to do the same with another of our narrative driven adventure/escape games – Facility 47!

Check out some of our favourite extracts from the work the children did:

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Luke:

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Charlie:

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They even made a display of some of their work on the topic! We’re so proud.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Mr Tregenza and class! We’ve printed lots more of our favourite bits and stuck them on our office wall :)

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Inertia Fun Day!

Inertia Fun Day!

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It had been a while since our last release party so we thought it was time to celebrate the hard work we’d been doing to create and release new games over the last year including Petal Match, Facility 47 and Cross-Stitch World!

We settled on our now traditional children’s soft play area trip – but we decided to try something a little different in the daytime before we went. We started off with a yummy meal in a local pub and then it was time to start THE ELY TREASURE HUNT (Expertly planned and delivered by our very own Graeme)!!

We each had to trust Graeme to install an app he’d made on our phones (luckily he has a little experience in that sort of thing…) and then we split into two teams and set off into the wilds of Ely.

The treasure hunt came with a map which led us to various local landmarks; at each one we used the augmented reality feature of the app to reveal hidden clues… numbers and letters which led us to secret hidden boxes! Inside the boxes were some treats for us (chocolate coins are important sustenance during a busy treasure hunt) and messages from ‘Ernie the Ely Eel Catcher’, who was trying to convince us that Oliver Cromwell, one of Ely’s most well known former residents, was not the hero he is sometimes portrayed to be.

Both teams managed to complete the treasure hunt, with only a few hints needed! Graeme got plenty of exercise as he biked across Ely keeping an eye on both teams, and we also got to practise our social skills when we had to ask an employee at the Oliver Cromwell museum for one of the boxes!

We all had a very enjoyable afternoon and were extremely impressed with Graeme’s hard work – you can check out some photos from the treasure hunt below.

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After all that excitement, we moved on to two hours of running around in a play area playing ‘zombies’, ‘capture-the-flag’, ‘find-the-flag’, ‘move-around-the-whole-play-area-with-a-ball-between-your-knees’ and ‘spin-on-a-pole-til-you’re-dizzy-and-then-fall-over’ (that last one was a new invention for this year).

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Lastly it was time to relax and visit a bar in Cambridge, where we enjoyed a few cocktails and some Busted songs before heading home to get some sleep and rest our various play area related injuries at the end of an awesome day :)