UW Pair Find Viral Success with Rob Ford ‘Crackathon’ Game

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 10.07.46 AMWhen Toronto gives you Rob Ford, you make a video game.

Nick Mostowich and Chris Ngan, a pair of systems design engineering students from the University of Waterloo, have reduced the city’s larger-than-life mayor down to 8-bit size.

The appropriately dubbed “Crackathon” isn’t the first Ford-themed game to be released since scandal enveloped the mayor of Canada’s largest city, who admitted last year to smoking crack cocaine and drinking heavily.

Created in 16 hours, during last weekend’s annual spring hackathon at HackNY, the game is all in the name of fun and not to be taken too seriously.

“It wasn’t supposed to be any sort of political statement, or a massive attack on Rob Ford,” says Mostowich, who spent a co-op term working in the Communitech Apps Factory.

“I’m glad it’s getting people talking and it’s made people laugh, which is really what we were going for.”

And how could it not fuel a conversation? The game is filled with Ford’s vices—marijuana, crack and booze—and has the mayor dodging the cops and media, trying to avoid being impeached.

Mostowich was behind the graphics, including Ford’s portly figure, and Ngan built the majority of the interactions. Ngan also won first place in the Communitech DATA.BASE challenge in March.

“No surprise that Nick is the first Apps Factory alumni to create a viral site,” says Rob Drimmie, Apps Factory Development Manager, who has worked with more than 40 co-op students since 2011.

Mostowich was quick to return the compliment.

“I honestly can’t credit Rob Drimmie and the Apps Factory enough for teaching me everything I know,” he says, adding that Drimmie is always one to give credit to others.

“He was an amazing mentor to me, in my career thus far,” he says. “I worked at a startup in California and now I work for Morgan Stanley in New York City, both doing programming jobs, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Rob.”

This article first appeared on Communitech’s blog.