& Ideas

Brother Nature

Last time, we talked about Ponycorns; a jam game that was made by a father and his daughter.

Today, we talk about Brother Nature; a jam game made by a son and his mother.

If you hang around Toronto’s indie game scene, you’ve probably met Alex Bethke before. Tall and usually grinning, he’s a game development veteran. Last May though was the first time he had made a game with his mother, Kathryn Grimbly.

Last May, local non-profit Dames Making Games held a weekend game jam called “Mother, May I?”. This was Alex’s excuse to get his mother into game making. Using the jam’s name and what Alex liked to call a “reverse Ponycorns”, he decided that this was his chance to make a game with his mom.

Alex and Kathryn presenting their game.
Mother and son presenting their game


The team split up as follows: Alex would code/design while Kathryn would illustrate/design narrative. The audio would be coming from local talent: Troy Morrissey. Kathryn Grimbly, having been a graphic designer/artist turned teacher, was not shy when it came to producing great artwork.

The jam did come with the usual pitfalls though. Kathryn was producing very detailed artwork on paper that, when transferred to the game, was scaled too small to see the details. So they left a little frustrated on Saturday night. Alex said “goodnight” to his mom around 8pm.

But then at around 1am, Alex received an e-mail from his mother. Inside, was the artwork that is used in the game. Her inspiration coming from playing with the idea of the game’s name: Brother Nature.

so playing off of male vs female, nature vs structure, organic vs crystal

From there, the game grew into its current form.

Brother Nature game
A screen from Brother Nature

When asked if he would do it again:

I’d definitely do it again. It was a fun experience.

Alex and Kathryn looking sharp
Kathyrn and Alex

We love this story and want to hear more! If you’ve made games with your children/parents or know people who have, then please, let us know.

Play the game here

Follow Alex Bethke

Follow Troy Morrissey

Interesting things are brewin’.

Provide us with your email address and we’ll make sure you will be made aware of our Kickstarter campaign when it launches. Here, you will learn about the super cool design and maker kit we have been working on. If you are a parent, educator, designer or maker, you will love it!