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Global success for Scrabble-like app invented by Yarm man
8:00am Friday 31st August 2012 in News
A NORTH-EAST man who invented a board game then turned it into an app is celebrating its global success.
GoSum is a Scrabble-like app that aims to make maths fun.
It was launched three weeks ago and has already been downloaded by thousands of users across the world.
Colin Thompson, 63, worked on the game for 20 years after coming up with the idea while trying to help his children with their maths homework.
He describes it as a classic game, which, like Scrabble, could be around for many years to come.
The toolmaker, from Yarm , near Stockton, initially created a prototype board game version of GoSum, but it was a friend who suggested he make it into an app.
Mr Thompson, who until that moment had not even heard of an app, took up the challenge and, although he often struggled to get to grips with technology, worked with three other people to bring the electronic version to reality.
He said: “I am a 63-year-old toolmaker, not a 23-year-old IT guy. The learning curve has been an upwards straight line and continues to be. The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know.”
After two years of development and 27,000 lines of code, GoSum is now being played all over the globe.
Mr Thompson said: “It is a fantastic sense of achievement.
"My eyes were full when I first saw figures saying that 27 countries were playing it, and it’s up to 35 now, without any publicity. People in Bahrain and Bolivia are playing something that started in Yarm. It is unbelievable.
“The biggest achievement is knowing that a person in a little village in China is playing someone in Yarm who is playing someone in the US. This game has no boundaries.”
Mr Thompson and his team are attracting attention from the international media and he is to fly out to New York to be interviewed about the app.
The next step for the team is to launch the board game version, which they hope will hit the shelves of big retailers by Christmas next year. Junior and Einstein versions of the app are also in the pipelines.
The app is available on the iPad and iPhone from the App Store, or visit gosum.com