In Hama Universe, children are invited to play with beads in a digital world based around the familiar concept of Hama beads.
The game allows players to explore three islands , and to help spark the creativity, at these three islands, the kids can choose to recreate classical Hama bead patterns or to come up with their own creations.
For Funday Factory, the goal was to build an app based around the core values of playing with Hama beads and take that experience to the digital world, as Tine Torp Knudsen, sales and marketing manager at Funday Factory explains:
“Funday Factory saw an interesting possibility to broaden the opportunities of playing with Hama beads by translating the core value of playing with beads into a digital world.”, She says, and proceeds to elaborate:
“Therefore CEO Kristian Bang Nørgaard contacted Malte Haaning Plastic A/S. However, instead of presenting a well-defined Hama app ready for production, we invited them to join in on a workshop which then created the foundation of what turned out to be Hama Universe.”.
While developing Hama Universe, it was important for Funday Factory and Malte Haaning Plastic A/S that the app stayed true to the physical experience of playing with beads.
“Through the entire development of Hama Universe, our guidance has been the core product and play value of Hama beads and pegboards.”, Knudsen explains.
“It would be very easy to let yourself get carried away and develop new products within the digital universe, but the idea of creating Hama Universe was to stay true to the core values of Hama as kids know and love it. For the same reason the pegboards are not done before they have been “ironed” – just as the adults do with the physical Hama beads.”.
To meet the challenge of creating an experience similar to the real world experience of playing with beads, Funday Factory tested the game extensively on children.
“We spent a lot of time researching the value of playing with beads, and during the development, we tested the app on kids. The purpose of our tests was to make sure that the user experience fulfilled both the children’s expectations of digital play with beads and that their motor skills and creative thinking were challenged as with the physical products.”, Knudsen says.
If Hama Universe turns out to be successful, Funday Factory is hoping to continue their collaboration with Malte Haaning Plastic A/S for future projects as well. And the studio may very well have hit the sweet-spot of taking physical experiences to the digital world without making it feel awkward and forced. But as always, only the future can tell if the game will be a hit among the consumers too.
“We really enjoyed working with Malte Haaning Plastic A/S on the Hama Universe project, and hopefully the app will be a great success and result in the want for more digital play and adventures with Hama beads.”, Knudsen concludes.