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February 11, 2014

Threes! is Number One

Trojan Game Designer Tops App Store

Interactive Media & Games graduate Asher Vollmer ‘12 has achieved one of the most difficult things a young game designer can accomplish, creating games with a distinct voice. From his student project Semi-Automatic to his first breakout success Puzzlejuice (which peaked at #11 on the app store) to his newest game Threes!, which recently topped the iTunes App Store, Vollmer shows a clear progression and growth as an artist.

Asher Vollmer '12

“Back when I was a student, I didn’t really know what kind of games I wanted to make,” said Vollmer. “Semi-Automatic was a very awkward step between experimental and mainstream games that ultimately pleased neither audience. Puzzlejuice was more of a step in the direction that I’m on now. It taught me how people use their mobile devices. Threes! is the culmination of understanding how people play and spend their time. The game is built around that instead of making them play a certain way. I’ve learned so much from each step.”

Threes! is a tiny puzzle game where the player continuously creates number combinations and pushes the progress of the game forward until they run out of moves. The game has no time constraints and allows the player to take their time to make combinations. Vollmer is the game designer, Greg Wohlwend is the artist on the game and Jimmy Hinson is the musician.

Threes! is a great example of how a very small team with a strong game design concept and excellent execution can really make a splash in the mobile space,” said Tracy Fullerton, the Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division at SCA. “Asher Vollmer and the Threes! team are a real success story in this space.”

A screenshot from the Threes! website demonstrating gameplay

Threes! was recognized as an Honorable Mention for Innovative Game Design at the Independent Games Festival (IGF) earlier this year. “A lot of the judges at IGF were playing the game for a very long time so we knew we were on to something,” said Vollmer. “It was an early version and we got the chance to really polish it and add all the features. We knew we had something.”

Vollmer started his career with groundbreaking company thatgamecompany but decided to go independent last April. “It was a scary decision to go alone,” said Vollmer. “Eventually my mom just said, ‘You’re miserable with a job. You should do your own thing.’ I did and it’s worked out.”

Vollmer used the lessons from IMGD in Threes! and credits the course Game Development Workshop with molding his approach to gameplay design. “They taught us about the balance between luck and skill,” said Vollmer. “One of the most interesting parts of designing a game is managing luck. I go back to that every day.”

For more information on Threes!, please visit: