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Local Techies Update Pigs In The Clover

A group of entrepreneurial and tech-savvy Nashvillians are reintroducing the world to one of the historic hallmarks of handheld gaming, updating a pioneering past time, Pigs In The Clover, into a mobile app to be available in the coming weeks.

“Pigs In The Clover originally launched in 1889 and sold over one million units,” David Thek, a managing partner at Arkipolygon, the four-person team that built the app over the course of three months, said. “It remained popular for decades, people played it in pool rooms, on trolleys, street corners. Senators played it and there were political cartoons mocking them.”

The analog original had players navigating a marble around a handheld wooden board, twisting the platform in their hands as necessary. It’s a concept that, despite its simplicity, seemed to translate perfectly to the smartphone era.

“It’s a classic gameplay setup, the marble in the maze,” Thek said. “It uses the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer so it mimics real-world physics. It’s cool to launch a game that actually relies on hand-eye coordination and physical movement.”

Players will be able to tilt their mobile devices this way and that, rolling digital marbles or spherical pigs around a variety of maze layouts. Despite its reliance on a decidedly old-school concept, the updated Pigs In The Clover demonstrates the cutting edge capabilities here.

“Nashville has talent and a cool tech scene happening — the Nashville Software School, Silicon Valley players like Eventbrite setting up engineering offices here, Google Fiber — but much of the tech talent works in healthcare,” Thek said. “We wanted to put out something fun and creative to hopefully draw attention to Nashville as a unique tech community.”

The game will launch as a 99 cent premium app without ads, an effort to make sure players, especially young ones, are not solicited by in-app purchases. With success, Arkipolygon hopes to continue updating the game with more boards and variations.

“We hope players get an appreciation for the creativity and the history of the game,” Thek said. “We tend to think of tech, especially apps for smartphones, as just the last ten years, but the truth is, big ideas are timeless.”

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