The story of 16 year old Ido Tal and 19 year old Hen Mazolski can inspire bootstrapping entrepreneurs around the globe. The two high school students co-founded WeCreateStuff and didn’t think that the flash game they had developed without ever meeting face to face would get any attention. After recording 5 million (!) downloads, winning several gaming awards and getting flattering emails from leading gaming companies and a spotlight in New York Times, even they were convinced they did something right.
Ido and Tal developed a 2D flash version of Valve’s excellent puzzle game “Portal”. As opposed to the original game, Ido and Tal’s paired-down version doesn’t require additional software beyond Adobe Flash, which lives in almost every browser. The work on the project took several months, but was done completely remotely, as the two only met each other at GameIS08, a gaming conference in Israel, after the game was released.
Flash Portal is a puzzle game, that uses the same basic game mechanics of the original packaged game in which gamers can create portals between two surfaces. Your goal as the player is to find the exit door and get out of the room. In 40 different challenge maps, you’ll have to create portals from one surface to another. For example, if you put one portal on the floor and the other one on the ceiling, walking through the floor portal will drop you from the ceiling. It’s pretty addictive once you get into it, but don’t take my word for it, click here to play or watch the game’s demo videos. I embedded one below for you:
Since it’s release a few months ago, the game has been an immediate success. It was put onto popular gaming sites such as Newgrounds and Kongragate, and stats show that over 5 million people have already played. Most recently, Flash Portal got its young creators the Israeli Oscar for Online Gaming, a great honor considering that this is the first time the award was given to anyone. The word traveled fast and reached the offices of Valve Games, who contacted the two congratulating them on the flash version of their game.
Needless to say that the gaming market is a real money maker. According to NPD, the gaming industry generated $18 billion in 2007, in the US only. Just this week, the release of GTA 4 has broken every record, with sales of $500 million in one week! I will continue keeping an eye on the Israeli scene in particular. Other Israeli companies in the industry include Pilon Games, Oberon Media and Funtactix.
Click to enlarge the thumbnails of Flash Portal: