The new, quirky free iOS mobile app called the Turf Geography Club, billed as a gamified mashup of Monopoly and Foursquare, was partially built in Bucks County and hit 100,000 check-ins in its first four days since leaving closed beta earlier this month.
Making the national gadget blog rounds from Mashable to PandoDaily and the Verge this month, the game was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that partnered Michael Tseng, who first envisioned the idea, Adam Bellmore and Steve Finkelstein.
The 8-bit themed app offers virtual currency for check-ins, built on the Foursquare API, and allows users to explore and own real-world locations in an alternative virtual reality—all set in throwback pixilated goodness.
Download the Turf app for free here.
With plans to scale usage now that a months-old closed-beta is open, the app has already raised a $600,000 funding round aimed at building a business around Turf, planned to be the first of many titles.
It’s in Finkelstein, the head programmer for Turf Geology Club, that the buzzy new app has suburban Philly roots.
Living in Feasterville, Finkelstein has worked with his colleagues for a little more than a year on developing the game and, on the heels of the new funding round, is focused on building a business, not just a single app.
“Our intention for Turf is not a one off game that becomes abandonware,” he said. “We are building out a platform that we plan to release expansions on for as long as our users support and love us.”
Watch a Turf promo video with a Wes Anderson feel.
Finkelstein assures players that “What you see now is just a shell that we put out there that shows the possibilities of what geo-location gaming is capable of,” and promises things to come. “We’ve got a lot in store to keep our players engaged.”
After meeting his colleague Tseng, the vision and art behind the game, through a Kickstarter campaign, Finkelstein became hooked on the vision for what Turf could be.
“I probably re-watched the video over 10 times when I was first introduced to it,” he said. “I made it my mission to meet him and find out more about what his vision is and where he wanted to take Turf.”
The pair hit it off and Finkelstein began to work part-time on the project after-hours from his full-time consulting work for Thomson Reuters in New York City’s Times Square (The other two are rooted in NYC, the orbit of which Turf is being placed in coverage). Soon after, he became so enamored that he wanted to fully devote himself to the game’s development.
“From there, everything just progressed naturally and I eventually left my consulting job to work on Turf full-time, as part time was no longer cutting it,” Finkelstein said. “Turf requires 200 percent of my availability and I am currently not doing anything else.”
While the trio do plan to add additional revenue streams to their business model, it is clear that developing it has been a labor of love.
“We currently have in-app purchases players can make in order to further enrich their game play experience,” he said. “However, our immediate goal right now is to simply make the game an amazing experience for everyone downloading it.”