We got a full size screen shot of the game on the cover of the arts and entertainment section as well. To top it all off, a huge two page spread right in the center of the newspaper. All to ourselves. It is freaking huge in size. I will have to get a photo of us holding the paper, to show its size. I personally love the article. The reporter also interviewed Driven2Sin and Handi. It’s a good read for any of the fans on here.
The Boston Globe, September 8th, 2008. by By Luke O'Neil
Two friends take checkers to a new level online in a game called Quadradius
Most people know how to play checkers: You move your pieces square by square across the board in an attempt to capture your opponent's army by "jumping" them. But what if you could turn those pieces into space-age battle robots and equip them with bombs and lasers?
Then you'd have the online video game Quadradius.
Quadradius, created by two friends from the Boston area, updates the old checkers model for the video game generation by providing players with a series of weapons they can collect during each turn and then employ against their opponent. Instead of moving all the way across the board for a kill, Quadradius heightens the action by incorporating a warlike atmosphere. Here you can dig trenches around your opponent's pieces or lay traps that destroy them if they try to move. There are also elements of strategy to consider as in chess and bluffing techniques to employ as in poker, and many of the game's increasing number of players throughout the world say that those spins on the relatively staid board-game experience are what keep them coming back again and again.
Launched last year, Quadradius has seen its number of users swell in recent months thanks to exposure on video game websites and excited word-of-mouth recommendations, says Jimmi Heiserman of Somerville, who built the game with his longtime friend Brad Kayal of Brighton. The game can be played for free at www.quadradius.com.
With thousands of contests being played every day, the game is becoming a phenomenon: It has had as many as 13,000 unique visitors in a day. Heiserman credits its success to its simple premise, the easy learning curve, and the repeat playing value.
"It's a game where you fight like turn-based BattleBots, bluff like poker, and combine strategic combos like Magic: The Gathering," he says. For the online video game community, an experience that incorporates the trinity of robots, gambling, and magic powers covers all the bases.
The simple but eye-catching graphics are a big part of the appeal. Kayal, the game's art designer, likens it to a "checkers apocalypse." It's not uncommon for the board - with a look that combines high-tech chic with a rundown, industrial warehouse - to end up looking like the product of a war between two alien robot species.
"I've always liked the Mad Max aesthetic, where you see a lot of older technologies being used for futuristic needs," says Kayal, 29, who works at the advertising firm Modernista! with Heiserman, 31. "The pieces could have been just black and white and looked like checkers, but giving Quadradius a world to inhabit makes it just a bit deeper."
It was the wide variety of options in a relatively casual flash game that first caught Pavel Zakharov's attention. A player who goes by the alias "Handi," he is representative of the compulsive devotion the game inspires. "As I first played Quadradius I was thrilled by such a huge pool of powers," he says in an e-mail. "Soon, I discovered all the strategy behind this seemingly luck-only game and got hooked. I remember playing a lot the first week, then I couldn't sleep because I had those hypothetical Quadradius boards in my head when I was closing my eyes."
Bill Bohn, a player who uses the screen name driven2sin, finds the balance of skill and luck to be a big draw. "The possibilities are very dynamic and create unique game experiences more often than not," he e-mailed. "The skill/luck factor is around 70/30, so the game is very rewarding to the expert with the draw of trying to beat a casino."
The game as it exists today was never something Heiserman envisioned when he first started toying around with it.
"It's based on a project I made in high school back in 1995," he says. "I made it just as a home project to get better at flash programming and to learn some server skills." Before long, he says, the college circuit found it online. "It quickly spread throughout dorms and computer labs across the country."
He thinks he knows what it is that keeps players coming back obsessively. "Quadradius is online, so it works great as a two-player, head-to-head networked game, but it is built in flash, so people expect it to be a casual game," he says. "A great deal of our players were hard-core gamers who couldn't get their daily dosage of first-person shooters or massive multiplayer online role-playing games while chained to their work cubicles or while sitting in the back of a Chemistry 101 auditorium. They were turning to our game while they were away from their home game consoles."
If the game sounds complicated, neophytes shouldn't be intimidated, Heiserman says.
"We try to keep the game easy to first get into, so that the casual drive by will stick around long enough to get hooked and relish in its complexities." The game requires no sign-up or registration, and it gives descriptions of the powers and the potential tactics, so new players can quickly get into a game.
And there are no shortage of new players, he points out. "The cool thing is," he says, "we get new subscribing members every day from all over the world, France, Australia, the UK, India. So people are flocking, and staying, to check out our little flash game, which was meant to be just a small game for me and my friends to play."
on the cover:
on the cover of the Arts and Entertainment section:
the full fold-out spread [nerds]: