Minilab’s 2016 Highlights!
2016 – what a year! You’ve been an adventure worthy of Artie and his magic pencil, or even the genius Professor Astro Cat! As a startup in the gaming industry we’ve had plenty to do while our first few apps took off, and all in all there have been some exciting steps forward. A big thank you to all of the creators, contributors and contacts who have made this year so special to Minilab’s growth – here are just a few of our favourite moments…
For a start, our team has grown and developed throughout the year, bringing new dynamics and talents with each change. In April, we also moved to our new office, where we’re really able to set our creativity free – from our colourful book shelves to our impressive wall of kaiju figurines, our personalities have started to make our new home feel like a home!
And with these developments as a backdrop, here’s what’s gone on this year in the world of Minilab and our apps:
In January, Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System began to catch the eyes of many after we appeared on Huffpost Live in late 2015! We received plenty of praise and feedback, and spent February and March getting updates off the ground and launched into interstellar awesomeness! You can read reviews for our first ever app here and here.
And in April, we had some big news: Astro Cat won a Webby Award in the Family and Kids category! We were so thankful for the support we received from everyone who had explored the mysteries and wonders of the solar system with the enigmatic cat scientist so far. We were truly honoured to be a part of The Webby Awards, and you can read more about this highlight here.
When Summer finally brought some brighter weather, we got ourselves out of the cosy office again to attend the East London Comics and Arts Festival, or ELCAF for short. We hosted a series of talks and a Digital Play Area that introduced kids to our work, Yatatoy apps (Drawnimal, Miximal and Loopimal) and Rumpus Animation’s Bertram Fiddle. For the talks, we welcomed Laura Chilcott, Senior Digital Producer at Aardman Animations, Seb Burnett and Luke Hyde of Rumpus Animation, and finally Lucas Zanotto of Yatatoy. Our exciting weekend can be reminisced over here (oh, and don’t forget ELCAF returns June 2017).
As the Summer drew to an end we got ready for a whole new level of activity in the office – we released a further three apps this year! First up was Artie’s Magic Pencil, our dot-to-dot drawing game that introduced a completely original character to our roster! Courageous Artie inspires kids to draw digitally and offline too with a range of worksheets, and is being tested increasingly by schools and event-goers.
Just after Halloween, we introduced another monstrously fun kidsapp called TotemUp. This tower builder for younger tots brings the numbers 1 to 10 to life with customised creatures that interact with you when you tap and shake them. We also had something to shout about when Artie was selected by the App Store for the Free App of the Week campaign! A huge thank you to the App Store for the great opportunity.
Finally, we decided to go all-out for Christmas and release one more app: Artie’s World. Artie returns with his magic pencil to give gifts and discover Arctic creatures just in time for the festive season. And don’t forget – a growing world means there is plenty to come over the next few months, as Artie moves on to toastier climes…
Our final gift of the year was Astro Cat being selected as a Best App of 2016 on the App Store on Apple TV, which made sure 2016 ended on a high. We’ve really enjoyed watching our team and apps grow this year, and look forward to a brand new 12 months which, if the list discussed over Christmas dinner was anything to go by, will be even more exciting and adventurous! Happy New Year everyone.