Based in New York, New York
Press / Business contact:
PepRally c/o NEW INC
New York, NY 10002
Specimen is an addictive, minimalist game about color perception. Easy to learn, tough to master: simply tap the specimen that matches the background color. As you advance, earn patterned boosters and chroma coins to combat an ever faster clock.
What color do you see?
- “Can you stand the heat” arcade-style gaming
- Pick-up-and-play: super easy to learn, very hard to beat
- 100% Free to play: collect Chroma Coins to earn extra powers or save enough to remove ads completely. You can play to unlock any and everything without paying a cent.
- Potential to reveal something invisible about yourself and fellow players: How do you see color?
- A soundtrack that will get you in the zone
- Beautiful, simple design and elegant animation
- Casual with core audience being anyone with an affinity for design
Specimen initially came out of a long term collaboration between Erica Gorochow, a motion design director and Sal Randazzo, a senior iOS engineer. The two have worked on side-project apps as a way to expand skillsets and scratch personal creative itches. Inspired by a new wave of quick and casual play experiences, Erica and Sal settled on the challenge of making their first game. How hard could it be? (Turns out: hard.)
After basic prototyping, Erica enlisted artist and programmer, Charlie Whitney to focus on the organic physics of the specimen. His background as a highly visual coder gave the game’s key pieces, personality and life. Over the course of a year, the three worked to refine gameplay mechanics and visual polish. The project was kicked into high gear when Erica and Charlie joined NEW INC: the first museum lead incubator.
The Specimen team enlisted friends, Cody Uhler and Ross Wariner of Upright T-Rex Music, to handle all the music and sound. The pair had previous experience working on games, having notably scored Dots and Two Dots.
In May, the game was exhibited at KillScreen’s Two5Six festival in Brooklyn, NY.
Why A Game about Color Perception?
The initial idea came after Erica played a web-based color matching game at work with a group of friends. She was fascinated by who aced the diagnostic and who struggled. From there, Sal and Erica formed a few different gameplay prototypes revolving around color perception. Three versions in, they settled on something that felt novel, simple and genuinely fun. Specimen uses addictively fun tactics of play, but also hopefully has the potential to reveal something surprising about ourselves.
Erica Gorochow is an animation director, designer and illustrator. She runs a small studio called PepRally, which specializes in illustration-based motion design for established and emerging screens. Over the past nine years, she’s worked with clients such as HBO, The New York Times and Red Bull as well as musicians including Rihanna and Mac Miller. Her work has been recognized by the likes of the Vimeo Festival, Fast Co. Design and AdWeek. Additionally, she has written about the world of motion design for The Creators Project and Motionographer and was an adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP graduate program.
Sal Randazzo graduated from NYU having studied visual effects and computer science. He worked for five years as a visual effects artist before taking the leap into iOS development in 2009. He is currently the lead iOS developer at Paperless Post, but remains passionate about learning new aspects of programming, which helped spur his interest in developing Specimen. Sal also contributes to Open Source in the iOS community. You can find his latest project Verona on GitHub.
Charlie Whitney is an artist and programmer exploring experience, interaction, and invisible interactions with technology. Through both screen based and immersive installation, Charlie makes surprising and interactive works for people of all ages. His work has show in Dubai, Moscow and Tokyo and he has taught workshops in the US, Canada, and Qatar. He was an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design in the Design and Technology program, where he instructed graduate level students in creative coding. Charlie was a co-founder of Red Paper Heart, a creative studio based in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently an inaugural member of the NEW INC artist incubator program at the New Museum in New York City.
Upright T-Rex Music
Upright T-Rex Music is the custom music and sound design company of Ross Wariner and Cody Uhler. The shape of their musical character culminates from studying classical and jazz harmony, a fondness for analog synthesizers, and the manipulation of sound via analog tape machines. Currently they oversee all music and sound design for Dots and Two Dots, as well as upcoming titles from the Dots studio. Aside from creating scores for casual games, their commercial credits include music for companies such as Instagram, AOL, Google, The Verge, and VHX. In their free time, they release solo records under the monikers “Uncle Skeleton” and “Nahnee Bori,” respectively.
Press and Recognition
- Featured by Apple: BEST NEW GAME on App Store Front page in 140 Countries: Screenshots
- Featured as a part of Core 77's NEW INC Demo Day coverage: "When Design, Art, Tech and Business Collide: 5 NEW INC Collaborative Projects to Watch"
- Featured on KillScreen's Playlist Selection: "Specimen Wants to Give you the Color Perception Skills of a Veteran Painter"
- " I feel a tightness in my chest that’s at constant odds with this almost meditative set of animations on screen. The game is telling me, "just relax your mind" and "YOU MUST TAP NOW!" at the same time—and this cognitive dissonance is, yes, fun."
- Mark Wilson, Fast Co. Design
- " Even if I'm bad at color, I want to be good enough to beat Specimen."
- Biz Carson, Business Insider
- Behind the scenes look: "Now that the launch is behind them and the positive reviews are piling up, the team agreed to take a long, hard look back on their process: What worked? What didn’t? Would they do it again? And will they make enough money to buy a sweet Lambo with scissor doors?"
-Justin Cone, Motionographer
- "Easy to learn but tough to master, download the game and see if you can beat our score of 1312, knocking us off the global leaderboard. Not that we're counting or anything..."
-Specimen: Welcome to Your New Addiction, Working Not Working's Free Range blog
- "iOS Game of the Day" Booooooom
Specimen: Trailer Promo
Logo & Icon
Team & Repeating Collaborator