One of the great things about the Internet Age is that we get to see lots of collaborative projects taking place across great distances. A good example of this is the Mr. Shingu Paper Zoo app, a game created by a three-man Scottish development studio, Stormcloud Games, and a Japanese origami expert Fumiaki Shingu.
Despite living on opposite sides if the world, the two parties managed to collaborate on the Paper Zoo game, which is a combination of origami instruction and a virtual pet game (think Tamagotchi). The game itself is a fun little diversion for anyone with young kids, or for anyone with an interest in learning origami. The app encourages them to fold a (virtual) piece of paper into one of many possible animals, such as hippos, pelicans, or elephants. Of course attentive kids or ones with parental guidance can even try making them with real paper. After that you can care for their animals too, dress them up, feed them, and even clean up their poops. Check out the short trailer below to learn a little more.
Stormcloud’s managing director Frank Arnot explained a little about how this collaboration got started:
We found Fumiaki via his website, Origami Club, and as soon as we saw his origami we knew he was the person we wanted to partner with for the game. His origami was very Nintendo-esque – it was simple but very cute and above all, fun.
But then there was the language gap to overcome, since Frank doesn’t speak Japanese and Shingu doesn’t speak English. How could the two parties possibly work together?
Frank credits a government body called Scottish Development International which facilitates exports and overseas business. An SDI representative made contact with Shingu and presented the game idea, and then found a translator to help with the contract. Frank notes that the project likely would not have been possible without their help.
It’s great to see this kind of collaboration succeed thanks to help from a a body like this. I’m not aware of many organizations that exists here in Japan for this purpose (my colleagues point out Jetro), but it would be great to see some formalized efforts as more and more Japanese companies look abroad.
If you’d like to try our the Paper Zoo app, you can get it for $2.99 over on the App Store. An Android version is said to be coming soon.