Michelangelos of Interactivity: GameFounders Spring 2017

January 21, 2017 — by Khail Santia of Moocho Brain and The Bamboard Game Project


I wake up after a night of binge coding to a dawn awash in the song of the muezzin. I am on the 27th floor of a glass tower in the midst of a modernist mountain range that is Bangsar South. Below me is all of Kuala Lumpur incredible in the fading night.

Three weeks ago, I received a message asking if I was interested in applying to GameFounders. I said, “Of course.” To my mind, GameFounders is the modern equivalent of the Sculpture Garden of the Medicis. Sculpture not involving marble, chisel and hammer, but interactivity, pixels and code. GameFounders calls digital talent from all over the world to come to Kuala Lumpur to build the future; accelerating the process by providing investment, a first-rate workspace and a three-month mentorship by masters of the various disciplines that comprise game development.

Over the Holidays, I faced a series of interviews. The first was with Christina Begerska, GameFounders Program Manager, sharp as an adamantium blade and kept fresh – no doubt – by the tears of failed applicants. Next was Reinaldo Normand, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur, investor and author. And finally, Kadri Ugand herself, Co-Founder and CEO of GameFounders.

I was sleepwalking throughout the long wait for The Decision. Then I was told, matter-of-factly, that we were in. It took a lot of staring into space before it finally sunk in – our studio, Moocho Brain Interactive, would be in GameFounders Spring 2017!

This cycle is made of nine teams selected from a growing pool of more than a thousand applicants. Three teams are from South America, two are from Europe and four from Asia. Meet the teams of GameFounders Spring 2017:


Five Filipino Games from Casual Connect Asia 2016

June 25, 2016 — by Khail Santia of Moocho Brain and The Bamboard Game Project


At Casual Connect Asia 2016, held at Resorts World Sentosa’s Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, the cream of Filipino indie game development was showcased among the best in the world. Here’s a look at five of the games and their creators.


Lithium City is the Excellence in Audio winner of the recent International Game Festival China – coming from a field of 350 games in the Asia-Pacific region. In the game, you play as a synthetic heroine shooting your way out of a world taken over by computers. The game design evokes tension and excitement. The art is convincing as a portrayal of a dystopia with its austere aesthetic reminiscent of 80s Neon. The music ties it all with its dark yet upbeat synth style. Lithium City is developed by Nico Tuason and its music is composed by John Camara. Casual Connect Asia’s Indie Prize honored them with a nomination for Best Game in Development.

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Alates to a Flame: Casual Connect Asia 2016

May 25, 2016 — by Khail Santia of Moocho Brain and The Bamboard Game Project

Roland Melvin Zabarjad, Hartono Peng, Assaji Tjahjadi, Andri Cuy & Steven Aang of the Indonesian Contingent © Andri Cuy
Roland Melvin Zabarjad, Hartono Peng, Assaji Tjahjadi, Andri Cuy & Steven Aang of the Indonesian Contingent © Andri Cuy

It has been a hard year for indies. The first session I attended at Casual Connect Asia 2016 was in fact titled “Is the Indiepocalypse Coming?” And yet, when Casual Connect Asia came around, indies in the region and beyond, even those with little resources to spare, were drawn to her like alates to a flame.

I heard the story of an Indonesian indie who really wanted to go to the conference but couldn’t afford to. His solution — offer to take photographs, apparently with a borrowed camera, of Sentosa Island for a travel agency in exchange for a round-trip ticket to Singapore. It worked.

Where does this urge to join Casual Connect come from? A long-time Casual Connect volunteer, Assaji Tjahjadi, told me simply, “I just have to be here.” For the CEO of Filipino start-up Monstronauts, Allen Tan, “Casual Connect is the place to be to let the world know that you exist.”

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January 9, 2016 — by Khail Santia of Moocho Brain and The Bamboard Game Project


Pampanga, Philippines. Bari Silvestre’s games have been played 60 million times around the world. He has circumnavigated the globe as a recipient of various honors from Singapore to Amsterdam to San Francisco to Tokyo and, most recently, to Shanghai where territorial tensions between host and recipient countries were set aside in celebration of great game design. That celebrated game is “Kill the Plumber.” And this is the story of how one of its creators fought and stumbled his way from the fringes of the fringes to end up at the center in triumph.

Bari Silvestre (middle) winning the “Director’s Choice Award” at Indie Prize San Francisco 2013

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Rising from the Wreckage: How Casual Connect Brought Us Back

November 30, 2015 — by Khail Santia of Moocho Brain and The Bamboard Game Project


After eight arduous years trying to learn the craft of gamemaking, our work finally began to gain traction. One of our games was featured in Newgrounds and was positively reviewed by a game critic at Jay Is Games. Another game won an award from the Philippine Game Festival. We even had a European publisher to back us up.

But we took on too much too soon. Our expectations regarding cash flow were too high and having a team working from distant islands didn’t help either. We hung on as long as we could, but our studio simply disintegrated.