Many people enjoy card games.
Using animated images, called GIFs, on smartphones are a popular way to communicate, too.
So, Land O’ Lakes Connerton neighborhood residents Michael Cornuta and Ramon Jimenez put their heads together and thought — Why not mold the two into a fun, interactive activity?
They did just that, with “That GIF Game.”
The game is described as a hybrid party group game that combines a physical custom deck of cards with a free smartphone app interface.
Each player anonymously submits responses through the app, and points are awarded to the most fitting, funny, quirky or creative GIF.
The deck of cards includes a total of 265 GIFtions — or situational expressions — which assist in facilitating the game.
The app is available in the Apple App Store and Android Play Store.
The corresponding deck of cards can be purchased on Amazon.com.
Here’s how it works:
Each player must first download the app, then sign up and enter their phone number associated for the game.
A game organizer will select a new game and add all players, of up to 50 people. Players are added through phone contacts or manual entry.
Once phones are added by the game organizer, each player will select “Join Game” for the fun to begin.
Each individual card in the deck has a list of five GIFtions, or expressions, for a round.
One particular card, for instance, reads the following five scenarios with which a GIF is needed to best match:
- You look ridiculous right now.
- My Valentine’s Day plans:
- Do you believe in magic?
- Eww, it’s all sticky!
From there, players have two minutes to select a GIF from within the app, which sources GIPHY, one of the largest public online GIF databases with over a billion selections.
There’s strategy involved in searching for and choosing a GIF — taking into account the personality and humor of the card reader during each turn, so users can earn points. The first player to score five points wins the game.
“Sometimes you’ve got to know their sense of humor,” said Cornuta, a health care professional.
The game usually works best with a group of five to six people.
A typical session — the first to five points — runs about an hour.
“You just laugh and have a good time playing it,” Cornuta said. “It’s really just a fun, easy, quick game. Everybody’s got a phone on them all the time, so all you need is the deck of cards, and you could be anywhere – the beach, a campfire…”
He added, “The best part is when people start laughing at their own GIF that they think is going to be funny.”
The original idea for “That GIF Game” came from Cornuta.
Since Cornuta and friends often use GIFs to express their thoughts in group text messages, he wondered about using them to create some kind of game.
Said Cornuta, “We were like, ‘Everybody’s always got their phone in hand, so what if we come up with an idea, or you have an app with cards and questions? Can we create it? Is it possible? Can we do the app?’”
Jimenez, an Air Force veteran, was the first to jump aboard to assist in the effort.
“I threw it out to a bunch of buddies, and Ramon stepped up and was like, ‘That sounds like a great idea, and was like, ‘Let’s do it,’” Cornuta recalled.
It took about a year to develop the game before its official launch over the summer.
The process involved finalizing a business model, then producing the cards and smartphone app with the help of printing and technology companies in Orlando and Miami, respectively.
The cards and app take on a 70s theme with a red-and-yellow color scheme and groovy font.
“I mean, everything we did was right from scratch,” said Cornuta. “The name, the design of the package, the cards, the app. I mean everything was literally from ground zero.”
The duo also enlisted help from over a dozen Connerton neighbors and friends to brainstorm and finalize and narrow the GIFtion sayings to put on each card.
“It was a big, massive collaboration process, getting involved with the neighbors and personal friends,” Jimenez said.
Going forward, Cornuta and Jimenez plan to launch specialty GIFtion card decks, such as sports-themed and celebrity-themed versions.
They also have aspirations of getting the hybrid card game into name-brand retail and convenience stores, as well as gas stations.
“You name it, it could go there; it doesn’t take up much space,” Cornuta said. “It’s a great stocking stuffer.”
The game entrepreneurs received solid reviews when they unveiled the game in Tampa Toy Con at the Florida State Fairgrounds in July. They’ve also seen steady downloads of the app since.
“Anyone who’s played the game has been nothing but positive feedback, and we confirmed it at the convention,” Jimenez said. “So, our sales pitch (at the convention) was, as people walked by, we said, ‘Here, take my phone, we’re about to read you a GIFtion.’ It was very positive.”
Published October 20, 2021