Tuesday, 26 July 2016 17:19

MUST-SEE VIDEO Interview: David Reichelt, Color Switch inventor

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What drives a man to invent a smash-hit game, trying 40 times to create something people want to play and not giving up? We talk to Color Switch’s inventor in a must-see interview.

Before Pokémon Go there was another smash hit, still ultra-popular out there, called Color Switch, but before that was Angry Birds, Scrabble, Uno and more.

Great games are definitely memorable, but they’re tough to create, and once you’ve made it there are plenty of imitators.

After all, "back in the day" families would sit around for hours playing board games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Uno and Cluedo.

In 2016 it’s all about the app store and Pokémon Go, Color Switch and Angry Birds which have been downloaded by tens of millions of players worldwide. Who’s better, why and what does the future hold?

App game inventor David Reichelt, whose Color Switch app has been downloaded more than 90 million times this year, says it’s all about personal space, time, addictivity and easy access.

Reichelt said: “I believe the success of the apps is the fact that players can play anytime, anywhere, by themselves as well as against others online. They are extremely addictive and also interactive but you don’t need anyone else physically with you to play against. Plus, there is the instant gratification of winning or losing in a matter of minutes.

“In the past you’d spend hours playing a game, you needed to have people to play against and what if someone was already at the kitchen table or in the lounge watching TV? Well, you weren’t allowed to disturb them were you?.

“I think that the past success of Angry Birds and Flappy Bird combined with 2016’s multimillion downloads for Color Switch and Pokémon Go proves that the future of gaming is here now.

“It’s all about players being able to play when and where they want and it has to be challenging, with different levels of difficulty so everyone can play at their own level. The days of sitting around with the family playing board games is over unfortunately. The games will live on, I think, but it’ll be online,” Reichelt continued.

So, what else does Reichelt have to say about the process he undertook to create Color Switch, and how it has transformed his life?

He kindly answered all my questions, with some inspiring answers that everyone should take the time to watch – especially young people who can truly benefit from his life lessons.

I did this interview last month, before the Pokémon Go craze hit, and meant to publish it earlier, but my tardiness doesn’t take anything away from the fantastic answers Reichelt gave to my questions.

He had some especially fascinating answers on the mashing of ideas, and how different perspectives and clear, critical thinking blended with lateral thinking can really make magic happen – or at least, that’s my description of it.

It’s something young people should especially hear, if they get the chance – why not ask your children to listen if you listen yourself and agree that they an definitely learn from Reichelt's success?

Here’s the interview and a summary of my questions below that. Please read on!

I started by welcoming Reichelt, and then asked him to tell us a little about his fascinating history, not only as a colour blind Iraq War veteran, but a veteran of game making.

We spoke about some of his 40 games before his massive hit Color Switch, and we spoke about some surface similarities with part of Rovio’s journey, the creators of Angry Birds.

I asked Reichelt what kept him going during the time when none of his games had made much of an impact, noting that it takes a special person to never truly quit.

I had read that he had come up with the idea for the game "in 30 minutes" and asked him to describe what he was thinking about at the time and when the moment of epiphany came through.

Reichelt shared advice for other game and app developers, and for anyone in business start-up mode.

I explained how I had found the game insanely addictive, too, and how even the thumpingly cool sound track of the game was available to buy on iTunes.

I asked Reichelt for his comments on the experience all Color Switch players are having playing his amazing game – and what his best score in the game is thus far!

I then wanted to know if he had already thought of his your next big blockbuster hit, or some awesome variation on Color Switch so he could have a Color Switch 2.

We spoke about how the game’s success had changed Reichelt's life for the better, and about his plans to to travel the world telling his story. I asked him to share a few of his experiences thus far post-game success with us.

Also, I noted that Reichelt is famously colour blind, but that presumably he could see all the colours in the game – and how it would have been hard for him to create and play the game if you couldn’t see the colours used.

Then I spoke about hearing stories of couples that have broken up over playing the game too much, even of "public fights" that people have had over the game, without being sure what those have entailed. I asked if Reichelt had reached out to any of these people to thank them for loving and playing the game, but to please chill out.

Getting towards the end of the interview, I asked which platforms he has ported the game to, and which ones would consider porting it to in the future – major consoles, smart TVs, PCs, Macs, even Samsung Gear VR headsets?

I asked Reichelt about his thoughts on the future of gaming over the next decade, the best piece of advice he had ever received to help him where he is today, and if he had any final video messages for iTWire viewers and readers, and for his current and future Color Switch customers.

So, if you’re read this far, thank you, now please watch the video, I truly believe it is a must-watch discussion that you’ll enjoy watching!

Here's the trailer for Color Switch:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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