Anup Sarode grew up playing Super Mario Brothers, Contra, Donkey Kong, Popeye, Tank, Duck Hunt, and Alladin on those video gaming consoles with cartridges. Anup recalls having a collection of about 15 such cartridges that had more than 200 games packed in them. He belongs to Nashik, a small city in Maharashtra, and for every kid in the neighbourhood, Anup’s collection was a goldmine. Over time, this love for gaming only intensified and Anup graduated to newer games. On his 17th birthday, he was gifted a personal computer by his mother, and he was lucky that the PC came with a bunch of exciting games like Road Rash, Quake 3 and Midtown Madness. Yes, they all ring a bell!
This was also the time when he enrolled for a course in engineering at a college in Pune, and thus began the LAN gaming season. He flunked in the first year of college but by now, one thing was clear. He wanted to become a game programmer. He mastered C, C++ and Java and ActionScript and by 2007, when he was in his final year of engineering, he had started thinking of applying for a job at gaming companies. He landed one with Gamesoft. But even before he could join, he was sacked. Gamesoft was acquired and there was no space for Anup in the new setup. He then went on to work at Codewalla after which he decided to quit the job and started taking up freelance projects.
He built good relations with gaming studios across the globe and then shifted base back to his home town Nasik to start his gaming studio, Xaxistarts. He had some money and the intention was to focus on building world class games. But a failure to go to market quickly resulted in them taking up services projects and that took over. It was the usual product-service dilemma. “When we started in December 2012, we were a team of two people. I was supposed to handle the programming part and my friend and a great 2D artist, Parashuram Korade, was to look after the art,” recollects Anup. But Parashuram had to leave because of personal reasons within a month.
Struggling and slowly building from there, Xaxistarts has come out with a game after 16 months called, Rolling Zimro- Rolling Zimro is a super fast endless runner game with beautifully rendered low poly spinning worlds.
Contrary to the popular belief of going with a freemium model, Anup believes in the premium model. The game is priced at $1.99 and the team believes that if the game is good, people will be ready to pay. “The game is taking off slowly without a single penny spent on marketing yet. Some of the players who downloaded the game have very good feedback on how we have balanced the upgrades for affordable prices (in game currency),” says Anup. The Android version will be out in the coming months as well.
WIth a very humble team from Nasik, Xaxistarts is working on minimal funds and a lot will depend on how Rolling Zimro does in the market.
Check out their game the Xaxistarts website.