Medium sized, average weight review of the year 2011!

2011 at Thought Den

As the rollercoaster of time hurtles ever onward, sometimes it’s nice to step down and enjoy a little of the candyfloss of reflection while holding the stick of memories, possibly washed down with some hindsight lemonade.

Pointless metaphors aside, here’s a little looksy at the past year from the Den-o-View…


One of the tightest schedules known to man led to a ‘frisson of excitement’ (read: pant-wetting stress) as we delivered ITRNomad, an e-learning tool for global risk consultants Drum Cussac. Amongst other features, you can play the ever popular game of ‘Is this man going to punch me in the face?’ It’s a classic.


TD history was made in Feb as minutes after Ben ‘Ben’ Templeton set a new chin up record on the amazingly painful G-Clamps of Doom, Antoine ‘AK47’ Kougblenou risked life and fingers to the destroy Ben’s new record and become Champ of the Clamps!

AK wins Champ of the Clamps


March was a month that now signifies revolution in the art world, as two of America’s most prominent artists released their most brilliant work yet. Installation artist Charlie Sheen aired his ‘completely batsh*t mental’ series, where he subverted the notion of TV interview by describing himself as an F-18 fighter jet with wings of crack and filled with tiger blood from MARS. Not to be outdone, controversial poetry star Rebecca Black explored the linear, entropic nature of time with a rousing, anthemic ballad called, simply, ‘Friday’.


Nothing happened in April.


All change on Backfields Lane as we said bon voyage to Flash Developer Adam Vernon and Studio Manager Kaila Engar, and hello to new Studio Manager George Rowe. We also enjoyed a plethora of lovely interns this year, so a big salute to Chris Carter, Rachel Chu, Abi Ponton and ‘the’ Peter Simon.

Thought Den Staff


PARTY! The yearly 14 Backfields Lane studio party rocked some bad magic, with a combination of random punch, cheese toasties and dangerball. Dangerball 2011 proved to be a mildly less destructive affair than 2010 as no Powerbooks were broken, but the spirit of danger was alive and well and we definitely broke a few glasses.


The month of August has become synonymous in the Den with the words “bOOm! thanks for following!” (B!TFF!) and the ‘If This, Then That’ fiasco. For those unfamiliar with, it’s a collection of interacting APIs; you can set it so one event triggers another in separate application. Our casual experiments led to ‘B!TFF!’ being posted on our Twitter account about 30 times in a day, as Tech Director Dan’s personal Twitter account automatically posted B!TFF when somebody followed him (but not actually @ them), which was then automatically retweeted by the Thought Den account.

Lesson learned: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.


Ever wanted to run your own exhibition featuring Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst et al but didn’t want to have to spend years at Art College talking about juxtaposition and wearing a beret? Well now you can! September saw the release of ‘ARTIST ROOMS: The Game’, a collection of minigames that ape the challenges of running your own gallery. Made for officially the 19th coolest company in the World, Tate, you should go play it, if you ain’t already. You even get a 3D gallery at the end to explore. wOOt.

ARTIST ROOMS: The Game Splash page


Sad news this month as a mobile app we, and our internationally renowned client, have sweated blood over for months and months gets blocked in the App store due to a copyright issue. It’s still stuck there, wallowing in dev limbo. Here’s hoping some Christmas goodwill may let this FREE and MEGA COOL app finally out into the wild. We hope.


Shiz got furry in November as we launched ‘Survival’, an iOS and Android game for the lovely wildlife charity Wildscreen. Clocking up nearly 10,000 downloads in its first 4 weeks in the wild, Survival teaches the kiddies about endangered animals and engages them with the charity. Plus lead designer Ben Webb got to draw lots of pictures of lovely animals. Result.

Cool animals are Cool - Ben Webb

In other November news, we gave Owen Curtis-Quick, lead developer on Survival and ‘Supercake’ to his friends, a lovely cake to say thank you for his amazing work on the game.

Aaaaand Dan and Ben got invited to the House of Commons to talk digital industry with the Crafts Council and MP Barry Sheerman MP. Busy month!


Well, we wrote this blog post, for a start. And North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il died, but the two were largely unconnected. It was also revealed that the ‘Ultimate Dog Tease’ was the UK’s highest watched YouTube vid this year, which Thought Den contributed at least three views toward.

What a year! And we didn’t even have a chance to mention:

  • A continuing shift in company focus towards ‘playful learning’. Education + Fun = Funucation!
  • Creative Director Ben dating an award-winning TV personality.
  • We’re moving office in January. Yeah I know it’s in 2012, but we’re thinking about it now. We’re having a party, you can come. He can’t.
  • Our oldest Product (capital P) gets a rebrand: Virtual Tours for a sexy world: TD Virtual Tour site

We look forward to seeing y’all in 2012. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

– Ben, Dan, Ben, George, AK, Peter and all the Thought Den fam!

ThoughtBots: cos we're busy scoffing mince pies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *