Warwick grad's Fish Flip game to hit market next year

Nov 04, 2013

Thumbnail for Warwick grad's Fish Flip game to hit market next year
Thumbnail for Warwick grad's Fish Flip game to hit market next year

Originally posted on Nov 03, 2013
by Cathy Molitoris
Correspondent of Lancaster Online

College student Kathy Beyerle has created something that she hopes will make game enthusiasts flip.

The local woman, who attends Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, has invented a game named Fish Flip.

And her concept has drawn the support of a game manufacturer, which is producing Beyerle's game and will put it on the market in 2014.

"The game was inspired by fishing lures," said Beyerle, now a graduate student at RIT, pursuing a master's degree in packaging science.

"I don't like to fish, but I love fishing lures. I think they're so cool looking."

Beyerle, a 2009 Warwick High School graduate, drew the company's attention by entering Fish Flip in RIT's metaproject 03 competition.

Her game finished third in the industrial design competition, held last spring when she was a senior.

Fish Flip features two wooden fish that players flip onto a cloth frying pan. Points are scored depending on how the fish land.

"I wanted to design a really basic and simple game," she said.

"I was inspired also by the game Pass the Pigs. I wanted to create a game that's for all ages. You could play it with little kids, who could practice addition, with college kids ... or with grandma and the whole family."

Beyerle, 22, daughter of Jamie and Scott Beyerle Sr. of Lititz, participated in the contest through a class she was taking.

"The class does a project each year, but you don't know what the project is going to be until you start taking the class," she said.

"I was so excited when I found out the project was to design a toy because I had specifically pursued industrial design (as an undergraduate) and I was really interested in toy design."

Metaproject is the brainchild of Josh Owen, associate professor and chair of the Industrial Design program at RIT.

"Metaproject started in 2010," Owen said. "It was a new idea for a course which I developed. …

"At the time, (the Industrial Design department) was looking to create opportunities for students which would position them in view of a global, design-centric audience."

The class matches students with what Owen calls a "highly visible partner," who pledges to bring the course output to a major design venue.

In this case, the venue was the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which coincides with Design Week in New York City.

Owen said Beyerle's design, one of 20 in the project, stood out because it reflected not only a unique idea but also Beyerle's extra effort.

"Kathy did an excellent job researching her area of interest, followed by the guidance I offered as her teacher and listened carefully to the needs of the client," he said.

"She worked hard and delivered high-quality output. These are all important elements that, when combined, can lead to success."

Metaproject 03 was sponsored by Areaware, a Brooklyn-based company that creates products with a unique twist on everyday items.

Beyerle — who made the game's wooden pieces and designed and sewed the game's mat and the bag it comes in — had to present her idea before a panel of judges, including the CEO of Areaware.

"It was a little nerve-wracking," she said, but her game made a big impression.

Not only did the judges from Areaware think Beyerle's project would reach their target demographics, they also thought it was a fresh idea that embodied the spirit of the products the company markets, Owen said.

When Owen approached Areaware about collaborating with RIT for the project, the company's representatives knew right away they wanted in, said Lydia Okrent, creative manager for Areaware.

"Participating in this project was a really great way for Areaware to gain insight into what's happening in the realm of student design, as well as providing a perfect opportunity to scout new talent," she said.

Beyerle's game immediately stood out to the judges.

"It's extremely fun to play," Okrent said,

Okrent added that the simple shapes of the game make it attractive from a production standpoint, too.

"One of the things we looked for when judging the products was whether we would be able to produce the product at a price-point appropriate for our market."

She said Beyerle's game also caught the judges' attention because "each component of Kathy's game is both captivating and beautiful."

Fish Flip is in production now and will be released by Areaware in August 2014. Its price has yet to be determined.

It will be available for purchase at Areaware.com as well as through the company's retailers both nationally and internationally.

Along with Beyerle's design, Areaware will be producing four other games that came from the class project.

They are Blockitecture, in January, followed by Shapuzi, Strong Men and Eye Know.

Beyerle, who will earn her master's degree in 2015, will get 6 percent of net sales of her game.

Her success has inspired her to dream up more game ideas.

"It was a great opportunity," she said. "I was really happy with how it all turned out."