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IndustryVideo games
Founded1 September 2010; 9 years ago (2010-09-01)
Area served
Key people
  • Rami Ismail
  • Jan Willem Nijman
Members2 (2017)

Vlambeer is a Dutch independent game development studio made up of Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman, founded in 2010. The studio is known for its games Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter and Luftrausers[1] and for its stand on video game cloning.[2]


Jan Willem Nijman and Rami Ismail being interviewed in 2013
Rami Ismail at the 2018 Game Developers Conference

Vlambeer was founded in 2010 by Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman after both dropped out from a game design course at the Utrecht School of the Arts. According to Ismail, they had been developing a game outside of the school but when the school found out, the school demanded the rights to the game, which they refused, leading to their decision to drop out.[3] Ismail and Nijman began by working together to develop a prototype, initially created by Nijman, called "Crates from Hell". It was released on 11 May 2010 as Super Crate Box and earned the studio recognition in the form of an Independent Games Festival finalist position in the Excellence in Design category.[4] During the development of Super Crate Box, Vlambeer developed Radical Fishing. It was released in November 2010. Radical Fishing was the first of many games released by the studio under a "Not Vlambeer" label, which encompasses the studio's games that are developed for money or as an experiment.

Vlambeer was approached by publisher Devolver Digital to develop a game in the Serious Sam franchise. The studio and Devolver Digital agreed to develop and publish a turn-based role-playing game. The result, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, was released on 24 October 2011. During the development of Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, Vlambeer released many small games, most notably Luftrauser. Vlambeer started development on an iOS version of Radical Fishing called Ridiculous Fishing. Development was halted after a San Francisco–based studio released a clone of Radical Fishing on iOS. This generated discussion about the cloning of video games and led Vlambeer to be somewhat of an icon on the topic.[5] The term "Vlambeer'd" was introduced by several media outlets.[6] In November 2013, the browser game Vlambeer Clone Tycoon was launched to provide a satirical comment on the issue of Vlambeer's cloning ordeals.[7]

In February 2012, Vlambeer released Gun Godz, a first-person shooter inspired by hip-hop, in collaboration with Brandon Boyer's Venus Patrol.[8] Ridiculous Fishing was nominated for the 2012 Independent Games Festival "Best Mobile" award.[9] At the conference where the award ceremony was held, Vlambeer released Yeti Hunter.[10]

On 2 December 2012, Vlambeer announced a sequel to Luftrauser called Luftrausers. On 19 December 2012, Vlambeer released the iOS version of Super Crate Box. Its success prevented the studio from going out of business due to the financial ramifications of the decreased motivation caused by the cloning incident.[11] On 14 March 2013, Vlambeer released Ridiculous Fishing on iOS, after resuming its development.

In 2015, they have experimented with live streaming their development process and have over 12,000 paid subscriptions to their Twitch channel.[12][13]

On 5 December 2015, Vlambeer released Nuclear Throne, a top-down shooter roguelike which had been in Steam's early access program since 2013. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, receiving positive reviews from users.[14]

On 8 August 2016, Vlambeer announced 120 Years Of Vlambeer And Friends. Bringing back arcade games since 1896, an art and history book of the company written by Arjan Terpstra and published by Cook & Becker.[15]

Ismail received the Ambassador Award at the March 2018 Game Developers Choice Awards for his support of independent video game development through both Vlambeer and other activities.[16]



  1. ^ The Happy Medium. Thehappymedium.tumblr.com (1 September 2011). Retrieved on 2012-08-13.
  2. ^ Frushtick, Russ. (22 February 2012) Cloning Case Files: Vlambeer. The Verge. Retrieved on 2012-08-13.
  3. ^ Sarkar, Samit (14 February 2014). "Vlambeer: Just making games is the key to becoming successful". Polygon. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  4. ^ The 14th Annual Independent Games Festival Finalists. Igf.com. Retrieved on 13 August 2012.
  5. ^ Someone Else’s Solutions. PocketNext. Retrieved on 13 August 2012.
  6. ^ SF Molyjam: A Tale Of Three Parkour Romances. Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved on 13 August 2012.
  7. ^ Vlambeer Clone Tycoon. IndieStatik. Retrieved on 13 December 2013.
  8. ^ VENUS PATROL: charting a new course for videogame culture by Brandon Boyer — Kickstarter. Kickstarter.com (7 September 2011). Retrieved on 2012-08-13.
  9. ^ The 14th Annual Independent Games Festival Finalists Archived 8 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Igf.com. Retrieved on 13 August 2012.
  10. ^ Vlambeer to release Yeti Hunter from GDC show floor. The Verge. Retrieved on 13 August 2012.
  11. ^ Pitts, Russ (24 April 2013). "Cloned at Birth: The Story of Ridiculous Fishing". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 12 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  12. ^ Choudhary, Amita. "How Gaming Will Change For The Better In 2016". Endgadget.com. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Vlambeer Twitch Profile". Twitch.
  14. ^ "Nuclear Throne Reviews (PC)". Metacritic.
  15. ^ "Announcement!". Vlambeer. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Nolan Bushnell, Tim Schafer, and Rami Ismail to be honored at the 2018 GDC Awards!". Gamasutra. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  17. ^ Dornbush, Jonathon. "Nuclear Throne Developer Vlambeer Just Surprise Revealed a New Game - PAX West 2018". IGN. Retrieved 6 November 2018.

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