Twitch Games for Web3: An Interview with Gaz & Chaz, Co-Founders of CritterCraft
We chat to the brains behind the smash-hit stream games to discuss their flash game past, their 2023 plans, and the future of the Grubfish!
If you’ve watched any WAX streamers, you’ll know Grubfish Royale.
The NFT-powered stream game took the community by storm, quickly becoming the tool of choice for influencers looking to give prizes to their community – and the team behind it, CritterCraft, have a lot more in the works.
After 2022 saw physical plushies, a token launch, crafting and more, we caught up with Gaz and Chaz to find out what we can expect in 2023. Quests? Plushies? More games?!
John: Gm Gaz! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Gaz: Gm! 15 years ago I started making flash games, and I’ve been hooked on web games ever since. I used to distribute them to sites like Newgrounds, Kongregate & Addicting Games to promote a site I made called The Game Homepage – I got pretty good at it and racked up over a billion plays on the games I made. Flash games declined and I pivoted to FreeGames.org – a HTML5 game site designed for older players.
I learned about NFTs from the banano community and their NFT collection, CryptomonKeys. After I began to play games on the WAX blockchain, I realised a web game renaissance was afoot. Since they’re my bag and I’ve spent more time developing that skill than any other, I knew I had to try making a web3 game. I reached out to Chaz, and we started to collaborate on CritterCraft!
CritterCraft is probably best-known for your NFT-enabled livestream games. Could you explain how these games came about, and the story of these games so far?
We wanted a fun way to pick winners for an NFT giveaway, so we made a minigame. I wanted one that was random, but where contestants were eliminated one by one. Something with near misses and showboating special moves. I couldn’t find anything like that, so figured we’d try making it.
Chaz had just drawn a Grubfish for another part of our site. For some reason, it felt perfect, and so Grubfish Royale was born!
The first version proved popular with our community, so we smartened it up and turned it into a free tool that anyone can use to host a giveaway. We added Twitch integration so that viewers could interact with their Grubs live on-stream by typing in Twitch chat, plus introduced NFTs that viewers could purchase to customise their Grubs.
It’s continued to grow in use on Twitch – it’s my favourite thing to work on right now, so expect plenty more updates. We’re transforming it in to a whole suite of stream games, and you can expect more stream game NFTs to come soon!
How many stream games have you created so far, and how many are in the works?
To date, we’ve released five; Grubfish Royale, Dance Off, Doom Rollers, Super Doom Rollers & Doom Blades. Two more are almost finished too. I’m especially excited for one of these two, where viewers must work together to try and beat the streamer!
Your roadmap mentions Critter Crafting, progression systems, community objectives and Quests. Could you tell us a bit more about these, and what the community can expect?
Yes! In the main CritterCraft game, players will be able to purchase ingredients from our drops and craft them together to create Critters. These Critters can be combined to make more unique and advanced Critters, e.g. combining a Flying Critter and a Mushroom Critter will give you a Flying Mushroom Critter, which is more powerful than its ingredients!
We’ve also launched music NFTs which you can now buy on the secondary market. These are stakeable for MOTIVation tokens, which you can use to train and level-up your Critters. The cherry on top is that you can also send your Critters on quests to earn rewards!
There may be some other uses for them in-future too…
Speaking of your different types of drops, earlier this year, you released an exclusive IRL plushie! Could you tell us more about that, and will there be more physical items available in future?
We had a lot of fun creating our Grubfish plushies!
To get one, you need to collect 5 different Grubfish-part NFTs, each constituting a different part of his body. Once done, you can blend them together to receive a complete Grubfish Plushie NFT. Complete this form, send us the NFT, and we’ll post the Plushie to you freepost anywhere in the world!
There’s two different Grubfish to collect, depending on the face NFT used in the blend. We still have some Grubfish plushies available, and may be hiding additional plushie parts in future packs too! When all the Grubfish have been redeemed, we might make another physical Critter…
We’ve been in a bear market for the best part of a year now. How are you and your team coping? Has it changed any of your plans for CritterCraft? What has helped you get through the past year?
It’s been challenging for everyone, as the swing in money you could raise to fund development from drops has been significant. We’re in a fortunate position as both Chaz & I are used to making games on a small budget. It’s slowed us down a little, but if anything, our ambition has only grown bigger. We’re experimenting witha few new ideas for CritterCraft right now.
Why did you decide to build on the WAX blockchain, and what has kept you there? Have you considered other chains?
It’s carbon neutral, it’s fast, there’s virtually no transaction fees, and it has a good community – WAX is a great blockchain for our game! We will consider making our games cross-chain compatible in future.
Who or what inspired you and your art style?
Chaz creates all of the art for CritterCraft, so I’ll pass you over to him!
Chaz: I’m heavily inspired by Dan Paladin of The Behemoth (Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers) and Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac). Coming from a flash game background, I’ve always looked up to those guys and how they were able to transcend the genre but keep the bold lines and colourful aesthetic that defined so many great games of their eras.
I see lots of people refer to it now as a “Newgrounds” style, which is a tag I’m more than happy to have applied to my own work.
What are your goals with CritterCraft for 2023, and is there anything in particular we should expect?
2023 is going to be an exciting year for us. CritterCraft stickers can now be turned into tokens using The Sticker Melter. Critter Crafting, training and quests are being rolled out. Our VOTE token will be put to use with some interesting community decisions. Stream game collabs are coming, and we’re experimenting with creating fun browser games using your NFTs!
What have you enjoyed the most about working on CritterCraft so far?
Collaborating with Chaz is a lot of fun, plus engaging with the community and experimenting with the new ideas that are made possible thanks to blockchain technology!
Web3 is all about community! Who or what are some of your favourite projects, people, or personalities in the space?
I love the CritterCraft community!
As for other projects, Turis Station is an interesting one to watch. I’m friends with the devs IRL, and every time I chat with them, I’m impressed with what they’re up to.
Josh from Stratton Studios, Sammy from Nova Rally, Stabby Quack, yourself (<3), Sassy from Cat Stickers and Sascha are also legends. There are so many A+ people in this space, it’s hard to pick!
Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say directly to the reader?
Join the CritterCraft Discord rn and say hi to me!
Quick-fire question time!
What fuels you?
One unusual fact about you?
I can (just about) juggle with 4 balls!
What do you do to relax away from Web3?
A nice warm bath.
You can invite three people, real or fictional, to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
The three main Spidermen!
What is your purpose in life?
Make cool stuff and have fun.
How can we follow you and your work?
The CritterCraft Discord is the best place, but you can also follow us on Twitter and check out our free games website at FreeGames.org!
CritterCraft is one of the longest-tenured collections on WAX – having started in mid-2021 – and Gaz and Chaz should both be commended for what they’ve achieved to date.
Their stream games are a WAX institution, and it’s fantastic to hear that not only do they have more innovative games in the pipelines, they’re also fleshing out the CritterCraft brand to deliver more excitement, value and fun for their fans.
An innovative, super-fun set of games, coming from a brilliant collection, created by two fantastic, down-to-earth people. What more can you ask for?
To stay up-to-date with all things CritterCraft, visit their website, follow their Twitter and join their Discord!