You might notice I like to talk about when I worked at Freeverse. The thing is, those 7 years were probably the most important years of my life. Freeverse encompasses my entire time in New York City, marrying my wife and the birth of my first son. Not to mention all the games I made.
When I left Freeverse, I did so because truthfully, I could see the writing on the wall. When ngmoco bought Freeverse it was a mixed, but mostly positive experience. ngmoco provided Freeverse with financial stability and the ability to try bigger things. When DeNA entered the mix by purchasing ngmoco, things changed. I’d like to say for the better, but we all know how that turned out for me (hint: I don’t work for Freeverse or ngmoco anymore).
Even after parting ways with Freeverse as a company, I never parted ways with the people. Especially important to me were Ian and Colin, the President and Vice President respectively of Freeverse. I met the brothers when Mark got me a job interview. Ian was just a guy in his 30s with shorts and flip-flops, and Colin, slightly older. was casual in his own way. It was the very essence of a rag-tag operation, out of an awesome brownstone on 24th Street with computer desks in what was previously a living room, and the president sitting in the kitchen. Behind Ian was the apartment’s refrigerator with an Xserve parked on-top, lovingly nicknamed “Fridge”.
This was the house that Burning Monkey Solitaire built, with Ian and Colin at the helm. As I moved up the ranks in Freeverse and began producing, Ian and Colin shared more and more with me the inner workings of the business, and valued my input. In turn I learned so much about business, design and development and even life than I ever thought I would learn in college. Even now when I begin a new project I go back to the initial designs and documents first used in Wingnuts 2 or Marathon.
Leaving Freeverse, I could take solace that it would still be there, doing awesome things. Not anymore. Today marks Ian and Colin’s departure from Freeverse, the company they started in 1994. I can’t pretend to know all the details or reasons, but I can bet it rhymes with “em pee go co”. There will still be a legal entity named Freeverse after the Smiths leave, but Freeverse as we know and love it is gone. Games will shine on, and live on past this.
Then on top of all of this, my partner in crime, Mark Levin is also leaving Freeverse.
Mark got me my job at Freeverse, he was lead programer on many games I worked on. It was his brilliance that went into every game. The tricks he pulled, the mad science he conjured out of Xcode will be things of legend. Mark made the iPhone do things that nobody else could. He was conservative in his estimates but flawless in his execution.
If there was such a thing as a dream team of programing, I’d take Mark first pick. I’m excited that he and I are working on a game together for iPhone. Getting the band back together, so to speak.
Rock on Mark “Doc” Levin! \m/