Video game developed in Whistler hits it big

Husband wife duo John Borchert and Elizabeth Boylan have been working in another dimension building a mind soother dreamscape, an alternative video game called Big Top Ballet. What began as a concept game for the iPhone, has now turned into its own indie game studio, Big Top Ballet Inc. based out of Whistler. The pair identified an opportunity after much research.

"There are a lot of shooter games, there are a lot of racing games, but there isn't a classic girls' game that appeals to the growing number of female gamers," says Boylan.

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Boylan, an artist with a background in chemistry and programming, worked with her husband under their mobile development company VectorBloom Technologies to build Big Top Ballet the game. The game features unique game play and a music box of mesmerizing electronica dubstep custom composed by Vancouver native, Ill-Esha. Instead of releasing just to the iPhone, they decided to release to multiple platforms. As a result, the concept title is also currently available for the iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chrome Web Store and Mac Desktop, where it achieved No. 1 in China and No. 4 in the U.S. for Mac Music Games last summer.

It continues to rank in the Top 10 Mac Music Games and has recently become available on Facebook Games. The game's Facebook fan page has amassed a following of over 12,000 gamers (most of which are teenage girls) in less than a year. The Big Top Ballet team is ecstatic to have just been one of 3,000 indie developers invited to publish their alternative game on Electronic Arts' and Samsung's latest store for Android smartphones and tablets,

With large game studios continuing to lay off staff in an economy of much uncertainty, the indie team is applying a different strategy to marketing and game development in order to hedge their efforts and build a successful video game title. Boylan's vision is to begin with a video game, "then go beyond as technology advances and allows us to execute what our imagination dreams up as possible for our beloved and trippy ballet."

Currently a free download on all stores, as of this summer Big Top Ballet the gamewill begin to feature an added series of nouveau cirque inspired mini games available as in-app purchases on the different platforms for mobile, desktop, Facebook and the emerging market of smart TVs. For more information on Big Top Ballet you can email or visit their website at


Whistler Blackcomb's top partners have been recognized at the first annual Partner Marketing Awards. Nintendo, Telus, Gore-Tex Products, Quiksilver and GMC were awarded top honours at the awards held this past December.

"The purpose of the Partner Marketing Awards is to recognize the efforts of our partners and encourage them to leverage their relationship with Whistler Blackcomb to showcase world class activations,"says Megan Reynolds, manager of strategic alliances and partner marketing.

Categories included: Most Innovative Activation, Best Bang for Your Buck, Best Employee Engagement, Best Integration of Athletes and Best Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Activation. Nintendo was recognized for the most innovative activation through the Nintendo Gaming Lounges in the Roundhouse and Rendezvous Lodges on both mountains. The lounges integrate added convenience for families and individuals who are interested in taking a break from skiing and riding, and enjoy the latest games for the new Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems.

The award for Best Bang for Your Buck went to Telus for their new complimentary Wi-Fi hotspots around Whistler Blackcomb. This initiative was completed at a low cost with a large positive impact for all WB guests. New this season, alpine Wi-Fi was made available at several on-mountain locations. Gore-Tex Products won the Employee Engagement category thanks to their highly successful Brand Ambassador Program. Six outstanding WB employees were recognized for their efforts in promoting and encouraging guests to choose Gore-Tex products. Each of the winners were awarded with Gore-Tex attire and starred in an ad campaign. Quiksilver was recognized for Best Integration of an Athlete. During the Canadian premiere of the movie Art of Flight, starring Travis Rice, Quiksilver invited Rice to meet customers at their Whistler Village store location. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation also honoured GMC with an award for the Best Activation at a Whistler Blackcomb Foundation event. In September 2012, GMC hosted a Hole-In-One competition that took place during the Telus Golf Classic at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Participants lined up for a chance to hit a hole-in-one and win a Cadillac SUV. In total, a record breaking $121,000 was raised during the even for the foundation. It will distribute those funds to deserving organizations within the Sea to Sky community.

"We are thrilled with the array of unique events and programs our partners have executed at Whistler Blackcomb and the focus they have demonstrated with enhancing the guest experience," says Reynolds. "It was difficult to single out the winners."

Those who earned top honours were also awarded with a $500 Whistler Blackcomb gift card.

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