|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||Auckland, New Zealand (2006)|
Ninja Kiwi is a mobile and online video game developer founded in Auckland, New Zealand in 2006 by Chris and Stephen Harris. Ninja Kiwi's first game was a browser based game called Cash Sprint, developed on the Adobe Flash Platform. Since then, they have produced more than 60 games across platforms including Adobe Flash, Android, iOS, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS. Their most well known titles are the Bloons and Bloons TD games. In 2012, Ninja Kiwi purchased Dundee, Scotland based developer, Digital Goldfish, for an undisclosed sum.
Ninja Kiwi Games was founded by Chris and Stephen Harris in 2006. The decision to develop games was brought about by Stephen upon completion of a game design course at the Auckland Media Design School, where he graduated with a degree in geophysics. The first game that the brothers created was the, now defunct, Cash Sprint, a browser based game where players raced a ghost car and the player with the fastest time each week was rewarded a cash prize. However, they were unable to draw in advertisers to finance the project and were forced to scrap it after 14 weeks of operation. Next, they launched their own web portal that pooled together Flash games made by the Harris brothers and other developers. This site was unsuccessful, so they dropped it and launched a new site, Ninjakiwi.com, using exclusively their own games.
In April 2007 Ninja Kiwi launched the first game in their Bloons series. The elegantly simple concept of the game came from Stephen's wife. The player controls a dart-throwing monkey, and the goal is to pop as many balloons as possible with each toss. The game gained exposure very quickly, being featured on Digg and garnering 3 million plays in its first week.
In December 2007, the first game of the Bloons Tower Defense series was released, pitting players in a strategic battle between dart throwing towers and increasingly large waves of balloons. In the game's first week, it garnered 3 millions plays and was, according to Chris, a "huge success". In 2009, the series was retitled from Bloons Tower Defense to Bloons TD due to copyright infringement with the Tower Defense trademark owned by Com2uS. In 2012, Bloons TD5 was released alongside a new free registration system for ninjakiwi.com. The new system is built into all subsequent games and provides users with many benefits, including safe online storage of their save game data, access to special challenges and achievements, as a well as a personal profile page.
In 2008 Ninja Kiwi was approached by Scottish game developer, Digital Goldfish, who wanted to team up to release Bloons as an iPhone application, where it reached the number two position in the US app store. The relationship between Ninja Kiwi and Digital Goldfish continued long after this, with several members of the Digital Goldfish staff being completely devoted to the mobile development of Ninja Kiwi games. In 2012, Ninja Kiwi purchased Digital Goldfish. The previous titles that the two companies created together had racked up millions of downloads. Due to the already close relationship between the two companies, the merger was described by Digital Goldfish co-founder, Barry Petrie, as a "natural progressive step in the relationship between the two companies. Digital Goldfish was renamed Ninja Kiwi Europe. The merger boosted the number of Ninja Kiwi employees to 35.
In 2012, SAS: Zombie Assault 3 won Flash Gaming Summit awards for "Best Shooter Game" and "Best Multiplayer Game".
In 2013, Bloons TD5 was nominated at the Flash Gaming Summit for awards in "Best Strategy Game" and "Best Cross-Platform Game".
Bloons was a major breakthrough for Ninja Kiwi. They idea came from developer Stephen Harris' wife, who suggested they make a game similar to the carnival game where people throw darts at balloons. The original Bloons was released in April 2007 and has spawned many sequels and spin offs, including the enormously successful Bloons TD series.
Many of the games Ninja Kiwi created for web browsers were then released for mobile devices, mainly iOS and Android devices. This is a brief list of games release by Ninja Kiwi for mobile devices.
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- "Armor Games: The Mochis". Flash Game Summit. 2013-03-24. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
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