Binary Cocoa is a Southeast Idaho gaming company that sprang up in 2016. Joseph Brower, with a couple of other friends, created the company from their love of games. Their first games that were created were all digital, hence the name Binary, and they also say their games are sweet, which makes for an interesting company name!
Brower has loved playing games since he was little. He has had numerous ideas that were put by the wayside while growing up, but now that he is a game creator, Brower has been able to take up his old ideas and create them anew. In 2005, while working on the different tools gamers use, Brower quickly realized he needed some help from friends who knew the tools better than he. "We worked on things off and on together until 2016, when we decided to formally persue making this into something real."
There are a lot of things that are pulling people apart and Binary Cocoa is trying to create games that will bring people together. There definitely are a lot of games that can be used on computers and in an online world, but Binary Cocoa's main goal is to bring people together by making sure all of the games they create conform to that. "By doing this we feel like we're able to contribute to improving communities."
Brower brought a few of their more medieval board games to the Renaissance Faire in Rigby earlier this year. He invited people to play the board games, and there was a constant line of individuals intrigued by their game. One game in particular was like a cross between chess and chinese checkers, called "Wrestling Cubes." This game has cubes with different arrows that can move across the board. The other player will try to get into the corner to gain ground. When one cube touches another, the cube that gets "hit" loses an arrow and cannot move that cube in the lost arrows direction. It sounds confusing, but it is a lot of fun to play. Another game that has become quite popular is "Straight 4." This game gives each player four pieces and each player tries to put their pieces in a straight line. The player takes turns moving their piece along the lines trying to block the other player, while trying to get their own pieces into a row of four. This game is deceptively simple, but can last a while.
The process of creating games is interesting because not many people know what is involved. "Our games are much like making spaghetti. You get a lot of ideas, you throw them against the wall and you see what sticks. We come up with so many ideas, and a great many are not worth pursuing or need to be shelved, because they are more ambitious than we can take on right now. Once we find an idea that feels right, is within our budget, and we feel like families would enjoy, we begin with a quick prototype. This is just a quickly thrown together game made out of whatever we have handy. We play this among ourselves and our friends and gather feedback. We then move onto mid-prototype. We think about how it is going to look, what materials we want to use, and make a nicer prototype. We then retest and begin broadening our testing. We engage a technical writer to refine the rules and make what we print actually helpful." Even through this extensive process there are snags that can come up. It is also during this mid-prototype process that the team decides whether they will have a high-end prototype to take to conventions. It is through these prototypes that they meet different communities and vendors. It is different than other companies because people can come to their booth and play the game, instead of just buying the games. They are more than happy to let people test the games out and have fun, there isn't as much focus on selling.
Joseph Brower says the business is growing rapidly on both the business side as well as the creation side. They are currently working on a haunted house game to bring to an upcoming convention. "It is great because we can provide jobs that are less common in Southeast Idaho. Like having a technical writer, a fine artist, or even a musician who can create certain things for our needs. We are providing occupational diversity in the area. I wouldn't be able to provide these opportunities if I couldn't direct a business like this." One cannot wait to see what they come up with next.