FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — A Fort Wayne man is using his cancer diagnosis to fuel his dream of making Fort Wayne come alive in a video game.
Places like Headwaters Park. Parkview Field and the Wells Street bridge are all brought to life through retro game art.
For 11 years, John Springer has worked on a trilogy of Fort Wayne games, like a 90’s ‘beat-em-up’ inspired game in which the player fights zombies and ninjas outside Science Central, the Embassy and other Fort Wayne landmarks.
A life-long gamer, Springer says nothing beats joining friends to share in a game, which is why he’s working to open a video game themed pizza shop.
He also wants to get other businesses involved and include them in the game as actual places you can visit.
“I’ve got this vision where you can go and visit a local store, make a purchase in game, get a little powerup to help you on your Fort Wayne video game journey. But once the game is over, I will be able to see you visited x store, and I can give you a coupon, voucher, whatever, to actually go and redeem at a local business,” Springer said.
He says he’s working on a game cartridge that would allow you to use a game console to place your order.
Springer says he got the idea for the entire project after he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Throughout treatment, he says all he could think about was how he could make it special.
“All I did during my recovery was work on this stuff. Started researching, what could we do? We wanted to open up a little pizza place,” Springer said. “And it was my mom actually. I’m out to eat with my mom and she’s like ‘Why don’t you make your own video game?’ And I’m like ‘That’s a rad idea, but we’d never be able to do it. Well lo and behold the idea stuck.”
Springer has purchased a property on the city’s northeast side and says he’s aiming to open during fall of 2020.
He’s inviting local businesses to reach out and wants to include them in the game for free to help create what he calls the “ultimate shoutout” to Fort Wayne.
Those interested can contact Springer’s company, i heart pizza LLC, on Facebook; Instagram; & Twitter at @iheartpizzallc