Arts and Culture

Video games often offer players the opportunity to explore lands — both real and fictional.

But a video game design studio based in New Jersey just released a game that takes Louisville players to a location that’s a little closer to home.

Sam Azzarano is the director of Emerson Studios and one of the designers behind Matchino. Matchino is a lot like other popular match-3 puzzle games, like Candy Crush, where users try to, well, “match three” of the same objects in order to clear the board and win prizes.

But according to Azzarano, Matchino is structured a little differently. The game takes players on a road trip throughout the United States, and different locations on the map serve as levels — including Louisville.

“When most people think of Louisville, the first thing that pops in their head is the association with baseball, but our question is always what is in any small town or city that people might not know about,” Azzarano said. “For Louisville, we drew a lot of inspiration from Kentucky Kingdom.”

Ashlie Stevens

A screenshot from Matchino.

The graphics depict the theme park’s signature red, Western-style entrance and include tidbits of information about the park.

And, Azzarano said, as much as he — as a game developer — wants people to have fun with their phones, he hopes Matchino will inspire players to get out and explore the world around them.