PopCap’s 4th & Battery studio pairs with 9-year-old to make iOS game

Jul 21, 2011
Games

This might be the best story about a video game ever told. It starts with Owain Weinert, a 9-year-old gamer who had an idea for a new title, according to a story from Pocket Gamer. The game isn’t too far removed from the blockbuster hit Plants vs. Zombies – it has players deploying vehicles to […]

This might be the best story about a video game ever told.

It starts with Owain Weinert, a 9-year-old gamer who had an idea for a new title, according to a story from Pocket Gamer. The game isn’t too far removed from the blockbuster hit Plants vs. Zombies – it has players deploying vehicles to take on invaders in a side-scrolling shooter format. Money earned from destroying enemies is applied toward laying down more cool defensive vehicles.

Though he’s only nine, Owain suffers from pre-b acute lymphocytic leukemia, a common form of the deadly disease in children. Owain is a member of the Make-A-Wish foundation. It is through that organization that he was brought into contact with 4th & Battery, a game studio created by PopCap Games to work on its more experimental products without the necessity of being successful. The studio enjoys a little bit of extra freedom from time and profit constraints, so it is free to explore cool ideas for games that might not otherwise be made.

Enter Owain and his game idea. PopCap, 4th & Battery’s parent, is the creator of Plants vs. Zombies, so the studio was a good fit with Owain. The studio and the young idea man set about bringing his vision into reality.

The free game launched this week

The result is Allied Star Police, a realization of Owain’s vision care of the development of 4th & Battery. The game launched for free this week, and being a 4th game, it will remain free in the iTunes App Store alongside the studios other titles, Unpleasant Horse and Candy Train.

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On its Twitter account, 4th & Battery announced the existence of the game on July 18 by mentioning that it had been “designed by an extraordinary person.” Here’s a quote from the game’s description on iTunes:

“Allied Star Police (A.S.P.) was conceived and designed by the incredibly talented and energetic nine-year-old game designer, Owain Weinert. Owain came to PopCap by way of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Alaska and Washington and worked with a crack 4th & Battery team to create an actual game out of his fertile imagination. Owain pushed the team to their limits to make sure that A.S.P. delivered on his game dreams and we certainly hope that you enjoy it.”

Owain was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2010 and is currently undergoing long-term maintenance treatment, with end of treatment marked for May 2013, according to his website. Since you can enjoy the fruits of Owain’s imagination and 4th & Battery’s hard work for free on your iPhone or iPad, consider making a donation to Owain’s Army at his site, www.caringbridge.org/visit/owainsarmy.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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