Funomena does Extra Life

The Funomenauts have decided to run an Extra Life campaign to raise money for Children’s Hospital in Oakland. This means a bunch of us (and hopefully a few special guests!) will be staying up late to play games and chat about them, live, on camera… and you can help make it successful by donating here.

Extra Life began in 2008 as a way of honoring a young lady named Victoria Enmon. Tori’s battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired the Sarcastic Gamer Community in a way that is difficult to describe. Members sent in video games and bought gifts to keep Tori’s spirits up despite numerous hospital stays and three bouts with the deadly disease.

Tragically, we lost Tori to cancer in January 2008. Later that year, I asked my partners at Sarcastic Gamer if they would be interested in Extra Life, a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for the hospital that treated and fought beside Tori. In 2008 and 2009 Extra Life raised a combined $302,000, 100 percent of which went directly to help kids like Tori at my local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (Texas Children’s Hospital).

While thousands of gamers, more than 100 websites and more than 12,000 donors were happy to support Extra Life, many expressed their desire to raise money to help kids closer to home. In what I can only consider destiny, in 2009 I left behind my radio career and went to work full-time for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as a Radiothon Director. This life-changing event gave me unique insight into an incredible non-profit organization that helps kids all over the United States and Canada.

We believe that games and play have a positive impact on the lives of others – and we hope you do too! Support the campaign, and tell your friends! We look forward to seeing you online :D

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Hello everyone – we are happy to say that we showed a sneak peek of our new game, Luna, while speaking on the topic of Inspirations at this year’s IndieCade Festival, in lovely downtown Culver City.

Luna is a fable, which begins when the Owl convinces a young Bird to swallow the last piece of the waning Moon. We have been working on the game for almost a year, and are so happy to finally share it with you.

Glenn, Martin, Eileen and I will be here in LA for the rest of the weekend, hanging out with Brad and Austin, talking to fellow developers and friends about the game, and getting inspired by their work as well. IndieCade is one of our favorite times of year.

Congratulations to all the finalists here this year, and to last night’s award winners. We <3 you, game explorers!

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We’re Growing!

Hello! It’s been a while since we let you know that we were looking to grow… and the good news is that we have found 3 lovely new Funomenauts to join us here in SF. We are pleased to announce the arrival of:

Animator Ryan Mohler

Lead Engineer Jon McElroy

Artist Lauren Cason

and Intern Isaiah Reed

Adding people to a small company is a big step, so we take it very seriously. In addition to their talent and experience, each new contributor to Funomena brings their curiosity, hobbies and passion for making something new. We’re very excited to have these lovely new people on board, and cannot wait to share their thoughts and work with you in the months to come.

PS: We are still on the lookout for a senior engineer, and considering longer-lead hires in art, animation and design. If you think you might be a fit for us – please get in touch!

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Summer fun

Keita has been up to his usual silly tricks, making pictures with his iPhone and then drawing on them. We’ve been posting them to the funomena twitter account – but you can see some of the highlights from his summer here – including our recent trip to LA.


It has been almost a year since he started posting images about life in the US, working on his game, and raising kids here in SF. Time flies, when you are having fun!

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Made with Code

I am happy to officially announce my participation in Google’s awesome new Made with Code initiative, aimed at inspiring girls to make cool new things with code. The inaugural event, hosted today here in NYC, will feature the mentors and makers selected for the program. I am honored and thrilled to be in such fantastic company!

Coding is something that runs through every part of a game – no matter how you slice it. We use programs to build the art, craft the music, and to sculpt the interactions and responses of the game itself. And even if you don’t end up coding for a living – knowledge of how code works, why it works, and what it can do is so helpful when it comes to realizing your vision. The Funomena team includes people who code, people who work with complex programs, and even people who design new tools to help make what we do easier each day. I am so proud to represent the lovely and talented people here at the studio, and show more young girls just how fun it can be creating things with code.

Look for updates and pics on our Facebook and twitter feeds. And in the meantime – you can read about the initiative here on Engaget and USA Today!

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