Reality TV is a rather divisive subject: some see it purely as televisual trash, while others consume every last possible second of it.
Whatever your opinion is, tomato shooter / karaoke character creation title American Tomato has you covered. It offers more than enough to keep lovers and haters of reality TV comfortably entertained.
Micky Fridlov of Aio Synergy, the game’s developer, talked to us about how American Tomato managed to get reality TV to work in an interactive format, the game’s endless customisation options, and the future plans for the title.
AppSpy: Can you give us a brief summary of how American Tomato is structured and what your aims were when making the game?
Micky: American Tomato contains two games in theory - an audition section and a performance part.
For the audition side of the game, your vocal skills are tested to the max by singing in front of a group of tough judges. Your singing is aided by the fact you can use the background songs from your iPod library.
On the performance side, though, your main aim is to sling tomatoes at the singer that’s onstage. You'll need to expertly calculate the angle and timing of your shots to accumulate the points required to pass each level.
There’s a different atmosphere created in each level. There are eight different avatars that can perform onstage, and in addition to this, the player can also choose what song will be heard during the game.
We knew many people around the world enjoy the reality TV shows that have flooded our schedules in recent years, so we thought we could find an iOS title that would appeal to this demographic. The game appeals to everyone, though - those who like reality TV and those who do not.
AppSpy: On your website, it says that American Tomato is ‘probably one of the most personalised games available in the world today’ – what makes you believe that this is the case?
Micky: We believe American Tomato's level of personalisation really helps to engage the player, and it does this in a number of ways.
First off, it records your audition and saves the song on the device. You can also create your own personal avatar, with the ability to insert your own photo (or choose a famous singer, friend, celebrity - whoever) for the face, as well as choose which body this virtual singer will have.
You can then place your own avatar onstage, and can hear its voice in the background. This combination results in a gaming experience that is hilarious, personal, and fun all at the same time.
The levels of customisation in the game really are unlimited. For example, you can choose the avatar of Justin Bieber and select one of his songs from your iPod, and then sling endless reams of tomatoes at him. It doesn’t matter whether you like Justin or not - it's funny.
AppSpy: What was your thinking behind including a karaoke element to the game that actually allows you to perform a song yourself? Did you ever consider making this part of the game a more traditional rhythm-action experience, and if not, why?
We considered the karaoke part of the game to be one of the most important ways to make the player feel part of the game. We could have divided up the audition and karaoke parts of the game and sold them as separate releases – but we didn’t, as we wanted to ensure that players would receive a game that was value for money, and to feel as connected to the characters in the game as possible.
As for why we made this part of the game a karaoke-led experience, we simply felt that the market was already flooded with rhythm-action games, whereas there was no simple and quality karaoke application out there. So, we felt we could plug that gap with American Tomato.
AppSpy: Why did you choose the idea of reality TV as the main driving force and inspiration for a game in the first place?
Micky: Reality TV now dominates our lives and has become infused with our culture, making us all feel as if we could become famous in an instant. Everyone has an opinion on whether reality TV is genius or trash, and that’s why we felt American Tomato would make a great idea for a game.
It not allows you to pretend to be a celebrity in karaoke mode, but it also allows you to silence a talentless singer by slinging tomatoes and shutting him up.
AppSpy: Do you have anything planned in terms of updates for the game? Can you give us any in-depth details?
Micky: Yes, currently we're working on additional levels, characters, and maybe a little surprise that we’re keeping under wraps for now.
American Tomato on iPhone is available now, priced at 99c.
Check out the American Tomato video below.