Everybody loves pizza and everybody loves ninjas! So when an indie game transforms you into a parkour-skilled pizza delivery ninja, you know it’s time to grab your control pads and get your game on. So, let’s jump straight into Ninja Pizza Girl!
Ninja Pizza Girl | Quick Gameplay Peek
A few hours before our weekly ninjutsu training (cough, cough), we crossed paths with the creators of Ninja Pizza Girl.
Disparity Games was founded in 2011 by married industry veterans Jason and Nicole Stark. Their family-based company draws upon their twenty years of combined industry experience and the varied skills of their occasionally helpful children. Based in the heart of paradise, Noosa, Australia, they make serious games with silly names.
Nicole honored us with knowledge about the heart and soul of Ninja Pizza Girl.
What kind of people are most likely to become pizza delivering ninjas?
Our fans come from all sorts of backgrounds and from all over the world. Some of our fans are 5-year-old kids. Some are Mums. Some are Dads. Some are hardcore gamers with Twitch channels. We tried really hard to capture the pure feeling of old-school platformers like Mario and Sonic and I think that style of game speaks to a lot of people.
But our biggest fans – the people who take the time to write emails about their experiences with Ninja Pizza Girl – are the people who have had to deal with bullying in their lives.
Ninja Pizza Girl’s story is very personal to us. There’s family moments and Dad jokes but the game is really about our eldest daughters being bullied at school and it seems like that’s something a lot of people can relate to.
Do you believe that video games can actually help in teenage social and capacity development?
Video games are powerful stuff. Out of all the modern mediums, video games are the most immersive and they’ve been used to help people with all sorts of serious conditions. I think it’s obvious that they can reach marginalized kids and help their social development.
We didn’t set out to make a serious game. (Considering that Ninja Pizza Girl is about underpaid teenage ninjas delivering pizza, I’m not still sure it is serious.) We just made a game that told our daughter’s stories with humor and heart. We wanted to make a game that showed the world how they experienced it. And it connected with a lot of people.
I hope that Ninja Pizza Girl shows people who are dealing with bullying that no one is alone in this. There’s a whole world of people who have gone through what you’re going through and have made it out the other side.
How far are you planning to go with Ninja Pizza Girl?
Ninja Pizza Girl took us 3-and-a-half years to make. The Ninja Pizza Girl T-shirts we made for our daughters at the start of the project no longer fit them. Our youngest daughter doesn’t remember a time when the family wasn’t making Ninja Pizza Girl. Our kids have grown up while we made a game about them growing up.
We’re not ready to commit to another project of that length yet!
Fortunately we have a bunch of incredibly talented friends so we’re taking a bit of a break by working on their ideas. Eventually we’ll embark on another crazy game-making adventure but we’re not sure what it will be.
What is the hardest part in mastering the art of the ninja?
The thing we had the biggest problem with is that we’re a small team so everything takes so long. Being slow is tough in a lot of ways and some days it feels like you’re going backwards. It’s also pretty challenging having to wear so many hats. Switching between UI / characters / environments / marketing / business managing is really exhausting which slows you down again.
I sometimes miss the days when all I did was model and animate creatures.
How do you like your pizza?
My brother in law makes the absolute best pizza I’ve ever had. Sometimes for special occasions he hires a pizza oven and makes a lamb and pumpkin pizza that is just to die for. “Pizzariffic” is very much based on my in-laws and how much they love to gather family and cook and eat great food.
Making pizza at home is a pretty fun thing to do as a family. There’s nothing like homemade pizza with lots of garlic and cheese. Our youngest daughter is a very fussy eater, but she’ll eat a whole garlic and cheese pizza all by herself. It does make a ginormous mess though. If only the kids didn’t disappear at cleanup time!
Behind the humor, addictive gameplay, and awesome music, Ninja Pizza Girl is, most definitely in our opinion, a “game for change” with a lot of heart. Pick up a copy and get to delivering “Pizzariffic” pizza!