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Joe Chard and Jacob Richardson are taking the plunge into the app business. They are the co-founders of Nomuda Games, a company that seeks to reinvent the way we play games on our mobile phones. “Current data shows that 90% of apps are no longer in use a month after they’ve been downloaded,” explains Chard, “and games are no exception.” After analyzing app trends and use, the two realized that people who play mobile games tend to play a bunch right after they download it, but then eventually abandon the game altogether just a few weeks later.

They determined that they could really penetrate the market by developing a game that could keep people hooked over a long period of time. That’s when they came up with a winning idea: episodic, story-based content.

The premise is cool. Basically, each game is a serialized story, with a full plot line and several characters. Rather than play as one monolithic game, players are fed updated  “episodes” on a regular basis, building upon what they’ve already learned and keeping them coming back for more. “Imagine if you were able to play a character in your favorite television show, and every week you had to wait and find out what’s going to happen next,” describes Richardson.

There really is nothing like this in the mobile market. Telltale Games has a similar approach in that players participate in “cinematic adventures.” But their stories are more like long-form film than they are episodic. And their games can only be played on a computer or a game console.

By bringing episodic game content to mobile phones, Chard and Richardson are reinventing the way we look at game-based entertainment. Their games are designed to meet the demands of today’s on-the-go, multitasking consumers. “You’ll be able to play a little bit during any small nuggets of free time, like when you’re waiting for the bus or on your lunch break,” says Richardson. “You can play as much or as little as you want,” explains Chard. “Our games will be configured so that you can always easily pick up where you left off.”

Nomuda will launch their first game in the fall – initially only available on the Android. As much as I probed, the guys remained pretty tight-lipped about the game specifics – even the title. But I’ll definitely be hitting up my Android-owning friends this fall so I can try it out.


Words with Friends has become quite an obsession. I’m already a total word-game nerd, so having it at my fingertips is pretty dangerous. And while it doesn’t really simplify my life, it definitely provides nice little mini-breaks in the middle of hectic workdays or lazy weekends.

The app is pretty simple; it’s basically like Scrabble with a few little differences (letter quantity, point values, board layout). I have the free version, which comes with ads. The ads are a little annoying, but harmless enough that I don’t feel the need to buy the $2.99 version.

The app gives you the option of playing with random opponents or searching for your friends (it can look up friends through your contact list). Unfortunately, it doesn’t give you the option of playing against more than one opponent – but you can play multiple games at once.

It’s become a bit of a craze among my friends, and I’m currently playing nine games (7 with friends, 2 with randoms). Another cool feature about the app is that you can chat with your opponents via text message. For those over-texters out there, this could be a good loophole for free texting.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate this app a 7. It loses points because it tends to be a little slow, and it sometimes freezes up when there are too many games going at once. It’s also lame that it doesn’t keep a record of your moves within each game.