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Casper Start-Up Challenge Qualifier Launches First Video Game

August 8, 2017

A qualifier from last year’s Casper Start-Up Challenge, Bison Kings Game Studio, has launched its first video game on the Steam and itch.io gaming platforms for personal computers.

Brad Erickson and Eric Lewis founded the Casper-based independent game studio. The duo focus on making games for the PC platform. The company’s planned games explore a wide variety of genres and emphasize rich gameplay with adventurous stories.

Bison Kings was among three Casper-area companies in 2016 that were qualifiers for a small seed fund and business counseling, courtesy of the Wyoming Technology Business Center’s (WTBC) Casper Start-Up Challenge. The WTBC is a business development program of the University of Wyoming, with business incubators in Laramie, Casper and Sheridan.

Erickson and Lewis recently released their first video game, titled “Deadly Edge,” which features complex fighting moves and a rich story set in a dark gray fantasy world. Erickson and Lewis say the game is an homage to 16-bit, side-scrolling action-adventure games from the 1990s, featuring plenty of action.

“Every battle encountered is a one-on-one duel to the death, and the levels are designed to require multiple play-throughs to see all of its bizarre secrets, dripping with lore and mystery,” they say. “The gameplay is as challenging as they come, with no levels or power-ups, just your own skill against legions of unique enemies.”

Erickson is the company’s programmer, and Lewis is the artist. Their first official game retails for $9.99.

During the first year of the competition, five companies participated in the WTBC Casper Start-Up Challenge Pitch Day at the Casper Area WTBC. The challenge was sponsored by the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, WIDC Frontier CDC and the WTBC.

The three qualifiers each received $5,000 and were eligible to apply to a $50,000 seed fund. The WTBC also covered each of the client’s rent for the first year in the Casper incubator.

According to Erickson and Lewis, Bison Kings began when “two guys chatted about video games during a break from their day jobs in 2011.” After nearly five years of learning, game jams -- sessions for the purpose of planning, designing and creating games -- and part-time work, they finally decided to get serious about developing their own products.

For more information about Bison Kings and “Deadly Edge,” visit the website at https://bisonkings.com/deadly-edge/.

Administered by the UW Office of Research and Economic Development, the WTBC is a not-for-profit business incubator that provides entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for success. The WTBC’s main office is on the UW campus. Besides Casper, another WTBC incubator is located in Sheridan.

The incubators provide access to office space, shared services and business management advice to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses faster and stronger than they would otherwise. In addition to the incubator program, the WTBC hosts entrepreneurial networking events in each market known as “e2e Wyoming.” The program consists of a 45-minute networking block followed by a 45-minute presentation from an entrepreneur or business expert.


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Chad Baldwin

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