During last Christmas, I went through kind of a puzzle mania, and reviewed a bunch of puzzle games, representing a small number of how many I actually played on my iPhone. But I gotta say, that amongst the better ones I put my hands on were Strimko and LetsTans. Both these puzzles games came from the personal hands of Peter Grabarchuk, the man with the puzzle. I've been talking with him for some time about his puzzles, what makes them tick and what goes through his mind when he comes up with them. I did my research, and it seems like he is dedicated heart and soul to puzzles, on paper, on the web or on a mobile device. He plans to release a few more, so I asked him a couple of questions and he courteously accepted to answer them.
1. Tell me a bit about you and Grabarchuk Puzzles, the values and team that hold it all together. What drives and motivates you?
Peter Grabarchuk: We are a big family puzzle group (my dad Serhiy and mom Tanya, my elder brother Serhiy Jr and his wife Kate, and me and my fiancée Helen), which creates, develops, and promotes puzzles for many decades. We are driven by passion for puzzling and puzzles, each almost form the childhood. I could say that the main motivation of our activities is wishing to propose smart puzzling to people around us and all around the World.
2. What does it take to succeed in this market?
Peter: Same as in any other market - it's not too easy at all. But for sure we must have a new idea, prefect production, and a very good promotion.
3. I’ve seen that you’re truly dedicated to puzzles and developing great ones online as well as in print. I think the number 1 question is “Where does inspiration come from?”
Peter: I think from everywhere, very often - suddenly and without any warnings. :) Inspiration, like motivation or other similarly delicate matters, seems to be quite an illogical thing. Maybe after a few more decades I'll be able to answer this question more precisely.
4. What made you develop for the iPhone? Are you planning to extend to other mobile platforms?
Peter: Seven years ago we have started PocketPLAY project at puzzles.com - small playable puzzle apps for PocketPC handhelds. In fact it was very similar to nowadays iPhone apps. But only a year ago we've got a wide market where millions of puzzle lovers from any part of the world could see, try, and even buy your creations. And, yes, we also have plans to extend our puzzles to other mobile platforms.
5. What sets you apart from competition both in the App Store and the general market?
Peter: I hope that our numerous puzzles could answer better than myself to this question. I believe our puzzle products really differ by their original ideas and quality of their design.
6. Your favorite gaming genre for the mobile age? The most successful and/or popular?
Peter: Puzzle. Puzzle and/or puzzle :)
7. For our readers, please describe your puzzles in just one word.
8. What was your favorite thing about designing for the iPhone and iPod Touch? The biggest challenge?
Peter: Most favorite and challenging thing - to design a neat and meaningful 57x57-pixel icon.
9. What apps do you have on your iPhone or iPod Touch? What’s your favorite?
Peter: Strimko, LetsTans, Subway Shuffle, Fling, Geared, Theseus, Catcha Mouse, Trism, Wriggle, Labyrinth, Nintaii, Magnetic, Cross Fingers, and plus >100 other.
10. If you had to pick one and only one medium to create and share your puzzles, which one would it be? Print, Web or Mobile?
Peter: If you'd ask me this question "yesterday" - I'd answer Web, if "the day before yesterday" - Print, but today - indisputably it's Mobile. But I feel if you'd ask me this question again "tomorrow" - I could answer Web, if "the day after tomorrow" - Print. Everything changes.
Thanks Peter and good luck with the puzzles. I understood you have more coming and I hope to see them available on the AppStore very soon. Cheers!