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#YouthMonth: This 16-year-old developer is dominating the gaming industry

16-year-old self-taught game developer, Brandon Kynoch, is dominating the gaming industry with the App Store having chosen his game, Torus., as its 'Game of the Day' in 137 App Stores worldwide.
Brandon Kynoch

We chat to Kynoch to find out more about his journey and how other young entrepreneurs can start paving their way to success. 

BizcommunityWe've heard the App Store recently chose your game Torus. as its 'Game of the Day' in 137 App Stores worldwide. This is the first time that a South African game has achieved such broad coverage on the App Store globally. How does that make you feel?

Ever since I started developing mobile games for iOS, I have dreamed of getting a ‘Game of the Day’ feature. However, I never would have imagined that my second published game would be chosen as 'game of the day' in 137 countries.

It has been so rewarding to finally have a breakthrough like this after many years of developing and to finally receive recognition for my work. I am extremely proud of my work and successes and am so happy that my games are now being enjoyed by players around the world.

BizcommunityTell us why, when and how you came up with Torus.

In the weeks leading up to the launch of Blast, I thought about my next game a lot, this is when the idea for Torus. came about. I wanted to develop a fast-paced and simple game, not something as time-consuming and difficult as Blast.

My initial idea was that the player had to launch rings onto dots and the player would die if the ring landed incorrectly or missed. This idea transformed into what is now Torus.

BizcommunityHow many times has your game been downloaded thus far?

I prefer to keep figures and stats about my games confidential. However, I like to share launch day stats (after their first 24 hours on the App Store) to give the public some sort of idea of how well my games are doing and, more importantly, so that they can compare to my previous games and see the growth of the studio.

Torus. received 100,000 downloads worldwide in its first day on the App Store. It also made it to #1 in free action games, #2 in free arcade games and #5 in all free games.

BizcommunityWow! That's impressive! On another note, you're only 16 years old! How did you initially get into development?

I am actually completely self-taught.

I have always loved video games and have always had a huge interest in technology. At the age of 11, I very naively decided that I was going to create my own game. I immediately turned to the internet and started doing research about game development, downloaded some software, and started teaching myself through free learning resources on the internet.  

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Initially, I actually moved into graphic design and away from game development because I was always very artistic as a child. After about two years of focusing graphic design and digital art, I picked up and interest in programming.

Soon after, I realised that game development is the perfect combination of art and programming. Ever since I have been developing games purely for the fun of it, and to improve my skills.

BizcommunityWhat do you think are some myths young people believe when it comes to entrepreneurship and/or reaching their dreams?

I think that many people don’t realise just how much work it takes to get to the position that I am in now. Young people expect to see instant results and I can guarantee that this is not the case when becoming an entrepreneur. Such a mindset won't get you anywhere.

I’ve been developing for just under six years with absolutely no reward or recognition until now. Building a business or a name for yourself takes a lot of hard work. Therefore, the name of my game development company is Hard Graft Studios.

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Entrepreneurs need to realise that they must find their passion and follow their dreams. Don’t chase money -somewhere down the line money will come naturally.

As the saying goes, "Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

BizcommunityTrue that! What is your message to the youth of South Africa this Youth Month?

I would like to encourage the youth of South Africa to discover their passion and to follow it no matter what.

I would also love to see young South Africans educating themselves and wanting to learn more and upskill themselves. Free learning resources for just about anything can be found on the internet, all you really need is a passion and will to learn!

I believe that having these two characteristics will take you very far in life.
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About Ilse van den Berg

Ilse is a freelance journalist and editor for hire. From 2017-2018, she was the motoring, ICT, and Logistics editor at Bizcommunity.com, the first-choice B2B news site in Africa. Prior to that, she was the editor of Marketing & Media Africa at Bizcommunity.com. She is still a contributing writer for Bizcommunity. In her spare time, she's probably surfing, hiking, or travelling - she has a long bucket list and very itchy feet. Email (note .co NOT .com) or or find her on Twitter.