Radiangames and JoyJoy
Luke Schneider’s history in the games industry goes back as far as 1997 when he worked on various games as part of Michigan-based Outrage Games. After the studio was closed by its parent company THQ in 2003, Schneider hopped over to Volition Games, where he worked as a designer on such games as The Punisher and Red Faction: Guerrilla. After a successful six years at the company, his spirit of adventure finally won out and he struck out on his own in 2010. He founded Radiangames and, inspired by the likes of Arkedo and the Pixeljunk games, opted to release a line of monthly smaller gaming experiences.
Looking to his own experience with XNA tools and understanding that he needed to focus on one platform, Schneider settled on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Indie Games platform on the Xbox 360 as the target platform for his first batch of Radiangames releases. While he ultimately wouldn’t quite be able to keep up with his goal of monthly releases, Schneider did manage to release seven games within eleven months.
For the first Radiangames release, Schneider wanted to keep things safe and straightforward. He wanted to keep risks to a minimum and also use a concept that he could create within a relatively short span of time. Moreover, he was hoping to create a solid base that he could build on for future releases. As he considered his art skills to be one of his weaknesses, he planned a visual design that was simple and clean. What he ultimately came up with was Joy Joy, a Geometry Wars-inspired twin-stick shooter with a distinct presentation style. It had a few quirks to help it stand out, but there was no mistaking the game’s core appeal.
The game released on the Xbox 360 on May 15th 2010. Development took a bit longer than the initially-planned month, but it was still put together in a rather impressive amount of time. While it didn’t exactly light the charts on fire, the game received quite a bit of praise from those who took a chance on it. Each subsequent release in the line helped the earlier games gain some recognition, and among fans of the Xbox Live Indie Games platform, Radiangames soon earned a reputation for its solidly-built twin-stick action games.
With the overall line of games failing to catch on the way that Schneider had hoped, he looked for another platform to focus on. The indie winds were blowing in a new direction now, and it seemed like everyone was moving camp to mobile gaming. The developer got to work on creating an enhanced version of Crossfire, one of the more popular games of the Xbox line. Super Crossfire released through publisher Chillingo in late 2011. After that, Radiangames tried a few PC releases before returning to mobile with ports of some of its other titles and an original game called Slydris.
After some highs and lows working with other publishers, Radiangames pivoted back to self-publishing in 2014. It was at this time that its first game, JoyJoy, was revamped for a mobile release. The game launched on iOS in May of 2014. Circumstances were quite different in many ways from its previous release back in 2010. Radiangames was a well-known quantity on mobile by now, which meant that JoyJoy didn’t have to fight quite so hard to earn some attention. On the other hand, audiences were well-acquainted with several of the more complex titles from Radiangames that had built on JoyJoy. Would its simpler, more focused design still hold appeal?
The answer, it appeared, was a resounding yes. JoyJoy earned strong critical reviews and plenty of praise from players who had come to rely on the polished, enjoyable action games from Radiangames. Further mobile games from the developer followed JoyJoy, but Radiangames eventually decided to move on to other projects and platforms. This left the future of JoyJoy in question. Fortunately, the game was fully updated and brought up to modern standards as it joined the GameClub library in 2020. A whole new generation of players can now experience the pure pleasure that the intense action of JoyJoy brings.