Written by Blaise Sewell
We have a lot happening in the world of Pixel Pals and can only give a glimpse behind the scenes. We’re working with some great people, burgeoning franchises, and major retailers to bring Pixel Pals to every home. Most of that stuff will stay secret for now and be revealed in future installments (and on social media of course.)
Instead I’d like to take the time to introduce some of the team that’s brought you Pixel Pals. The driving creative force is myself, Blaise Sewell, and Razlo Bailey. I’ll begin with Razlo and explain a bit about what he’s doing and how we met.
Razlo originally worked in videogames and is a self-described videogame fanatic. His hit party game, Billionaire Banshee, brought him to PAX South in 2015 where he met the Breaking Games team and, more importantly, me!
After speaking briefly at that convention I mentioned we should share expenses at the upcoming New York Toy Fair by booking an AirBNB together. Little did he know… he was agreeing to stay in THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AIRBNB IN NEW YORK CITY. What’s the worst that can happen right?
I think I’ll save the full story of our lovely $20-per-night room for another day but the most important thing that came out of New York Toy Fair was our new friendship. We’d hit it off on several levels: we’re both stay-at-home dads, we both want our products to be as accessible as possible, and are both level-headed chill dudes. Beginning way back then we started a literal world tour with our games.
Now a little about myself: I come from a background in graphic design. Very early on I met Max Temkin, creator of Cards Against Humanity, and he was nice enough to take me under his wing for a bit. It helped that my apartment was only one block from the CAH office, I sort of got grandfathered into the Cool Kids Club. From him I met Shari Spiro who later went on to publish my games and Billioniare Banshee, Razlo’s game.
As we traveled the world meeting excited gamers and interesting people, we all got an invaluable opportunity. Because we were on the front lines of new and exciting products, and more importantly, talking to the people that purchase these games and toys, we learned what people want and what they don’t want. A lot of our assumptions were correct (not being niche, make things accessible) but we also picked up a ton of new ideas too.
The best way to figure out WHY something is popular is to first actually find out what products are popular. Makes sense but you’d be amazed how many companies aren’t actively trying to figure these things out and would rather clone what is popular. A good way to do this at conventions is to walk around and visit the other booths. To this day, this practice is still one of my major points of inspiration. Razlo and I would generate a dozen ideas per convention with a little walkabout the convention hall.
During our second New York Toy Fair, in February of 2016, we came up with Pixel Pals. All the pieces were there: something that hadn’t been done, fits well in the collectible toy market, something we know WE can do, and is popular and accessible to almost everyone. We came up with the name Pixel Pals shortly after we came up with the concept and set to work making prototypes.
Within a few months we had fully completed prototypes and pitched the idea of Pixel Pals to Breaking Games at PAX East, in April 2016. They loved it and we immediately set out to make these awesome toys. The rest is history… just kidding, the rest isn’t history at all. In fact, some of the most exciting and crazy stuff came immediately after that but will have to wait for another storytime.
Thanks for reading about our origins and Pixel Pals’ origins. Before I go I’d like to say this whole project is a labor of love and something I’ve been extremely proud to work on. I hope Pixel Pals warms your home or desk the way they’ve warmed my own.