Creators of Rory’s Story Cubes launch their next big thing
Belfast based husband and wife team Rory O’Connor and Anita Murphy are no strangers to success. As founders of The Creativity Hub, their multi-award winning story-telling game, Rory’s Story Cubes, (www.storycubes.com) has reached sales of 1.5million worldwide and held the coveted No. 1 spot across all toys and games on Amazon.com in Christmas 2011.
While Rory’s Story Cubes was created to fire the imagination of young and old, Rory and Anita recognised that an opportunity also existed to inspire the next generation of design thinkers. With an award from the Creative Industry Innovation Fund from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The Extraordinaires Design Studio was born.
Anita said; “We jokingly call this the ‘difficult second album’ because of the international success of Rory’s Story Cubes. The Extraordinaires Design Studio was inspired by a conversation with an educational expert, describing the lack of primary level resources to introduce design thinking, creative problem solving, presenting ideas and giving feedback. My immediate response was that this is what I learned in Art College.”
Rory added; “Our experience with Rory’s Story Cubes taught us that it is possible to create something that has educational impact while being entertaining, desirable and commercially viable. We are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for their advice and £10,000 funding which kick started this project by allowing us to invest in digital illustration assets for the game and carry out initial design on an iPad app version which we hope to launch 2014.”
If you've ever wondered what it's like to invent a music player for a robot, a remote control for a pirate, or cooking utensil for a vampire teen, this is definitely the game for you. In The Extraordinaires Design Studio, players role-play being designers, inventing products for the Extraordinaires - extraordinary because of their appearance, their job or the environment they live in.
Seven of Ireland’s top illustrators were commissioned to draw the Extraordinaire characters including Children’s Laureate Niamh Sharkey and award-winning creatives Chris Judge and Steve Simpson.
Lorraine McDowell, Director of Operations at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, who kick started the project with Creative Industry Innovation Funding, said; “At the Arts Council we want to put our support firmly behind local companies and to help them develop and transform their creative ideas into commercial success. The source of our wealth, job creation and economic competitiveness here in Northern Ireland is shifting to our burgeoning creative sector and we need to make businesses such as The Creativity Hub as well equipped as possible to compete at the forefront of the global market. The funding potential of The Extraordinaires Design Studio was obvious from the start, it is a fantastic new product and I’m quite sure we will be hearing a good deal about it in the future.”
The Extraordinaires Design Studio can be ordered online from www.extraordinaires.com and launches in selected retail outlets across Ireland from June, including Art and Hobby (Victoria Square, Belfast), Learning Space (Fountain Street Belfast) and No Alibis (Botanic Avenue, Belfast).
The Creative Industries, which include the areas of film, craft, digital media and publishing, currently employ over 31,000 people in Northern Ireland and generate £737million annually. The Arts Council has funded the development of Northern Ireland’s Creative Industries since 2008.