Riverdale whiz kid creates zombie-slaying game app


The Ryan Robinson Files

Age: 15

Job: Sophomore at Riverdale High School

Family: Mom Viviane Bagley and brother JoQuane McIntosh, 23.

Favorite subject in school: Math and history

Favorite TV show: “Empire” and “The Walking Dead”

Favorite app: Snapchat and Instagram

Favorite game app: “Angry Birds” and “Subway Surfers”

Aspiration: “I want to be a graphic designer for games and an animator for TV shows.”

Most teenagers would be content just playing games on their iPhones. Not Ryan Robinson. The Riverdale High School sophomore creates them.

The 15-year-old’s love of zombies and retro computer games led to his creation of a zombie-slaying Apple Store app called Bashy Zombie, an homage to Nintendo Gameboy, a popular game from the 1980s.

As a big fan of “The Walking Dead” TV show, Ryan wanted to continue his thirst for zombie destruction online but found few outlets.

“I didn’t find many zombie-related games in the Apple Store,” he said. So the teenager — an A and B student who exempted out of most of his recent winter break exams — set about creating his own.

It took about three weeks to develop the game and post it to the Apple Store. The Bashy Zombie app, which is free, has been around about three weeks and is earning Ryan about $50 a day. To date, he has about 700 downloads. Bashy is Ryan’s first stab at creating game apps.

“I’m a big fan of Nintendo - Mario Brothers,” Ryan said. “I wanted to make (my game) the same 80’s-style graphics of Nintendo. A lot of kids are into throwback.”

Ryan does all of his own artwork and sound effects. The toughest part was nailing down the concept.

“I wanted to make something unique, different.”

Here’s how Bashy Zombie works:

The player becomes a man holding a hammer. There are two buttons on either side of the screen. One button is for changing directions. The other is for bashing zombies. You score a point for each zombie you bash. The game gets harder the longer you play. It also includes a tutorial Ryan developed to help newcomers.

“It’s incredibly impressive,” said Garry Kitchen, a videogame industry consultant in San Francisco. “It’s interesting that not only is he doing a retro game but he’s doing it the way a programmer in the Atari days would have done it. My first game (I developed) on the Atari, I did the art, sound and the programming.”

Just as impressive, Kitchen said, is the fact that Ryan has managed to grab a piece of the highly-competitive Apple Store market. About 500 new games are launched on Apple Store every day, Kitchen said.

“It’s very hard to do. It’s incredibly impressive,” Kitchen added. “Even the process of getting it up in the Apple Store is impressive. I always encourage kids who are spending a lot of time playing games that they should invest in creating games.”

Ryan isn’t resting on his laurel. He has already started working on a new game.

“I want to have multiple games that people of all ages can play,” he said.

While he is surprised by all the attention his game has generated, his mom Vivianne Bagley and his Riverdale High principal Jamille Miller Brown aren't.

“He’s an excellent student,” Miller Brown said. “I’m extremely proud of him and I told he needs to thank the Lord every day for blessing him with that talent. I look forward to more things to come from him.”