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DRC/David Minton

Creative fun

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Abraham Lincoln swings axes, Finneas T Rex solves crimes, and Cupcake Brawlers protect the Kandy Kingdom in a game about windup toys and their Trouble in Tin Town created by a local mobile game and application development company. 

Mike Christian, Stephen Hess, Kyle Rives and Joey Bryant are the creative minds behind the game for the iPhone and iPad. They founded their company, Jovian Minds, about three years ago after working together at Paradigm Entertainment in Farmers Branch, where they created console games.

All their creativity happens in the basement of the Bank Building on Locust Street — a big improvement from their previous office.

During its first couple years, Jovian Minds had offices in a car repair shop in Lewisville.

“It made oil changes real convenient,” Christian said, although business calls were more difficult.

The four moved their office to Denton about a year ago because most of them live here and they like the creative vibe of the town.

The team does contract work on business and marketing apps as well as Flash games.

Mobile is a “happening industry,” said Christian, the CEO.

Jovian Minds has worked on about 80 projects, including the American Airlines app.

“Games are our passion,” Christian said. And that’s where the money is, but there is a lot of luck involved, he said.

The team creates games in between other projects when they have the time and funds, Christian said.

They don’t have a specific type of game they develop. While they worked at Paradigm Entertainment they worked on a variety of games for consoles, including Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck, The Terminator: Dawn of Fate, Mission: Impossible — Operation Surma, and Stuntman: Ignition.

When they worked for Paradigm, they didn’t have much say in the final product, said Rives, the artistic lead.

Now, he said, “We have a lot more of the freedom.”

The game developers’ office has a laid-back atmosphere. They throw around a lot of ideas and act a little silly, they said, until they come up with a game that they think people will buy and that they have time to create.

Bryant, the director of art, draws up their ideas on a white board.

Hess, the chief technology officer, said 90 percent of what they come up with at this stage is pointless stuff they won’t speak of again. 

“We track a lot of ideas, even the dumb ones,” Christian said.

Business has expanded to the point that they’ve hired a contract worker, Andrew Wells, to help with the workload.

The team’s recent games include Trouble in Tin Town, a turn-based strategy game that took the team about six months to create, and Jungle King, a game for the Kindle.

They’re now developing a doughnut game similar to Fruit Ninja.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is


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