Cardano has a way of bringing together people that would likely never meet to build projects that otherwise might never exist. Mini Ninja Heroes is such a project. It started with visionary founder Jeff Ross who discovered crypto in 2020 and likes the open source, scientifically based core values of Cardano. Jeff has his own business as an IT consultant where he works for banks and insurance companies.
He dreamt of making a game and started development of one with an artist friend, long before NFT’s, that began as “Bit Ninja’s”. But there was another program on Ethereum by the same name. This was a period of transition for the team, as the project name was changed and the original artist left for other endeavors. This is where a clean break and being diversified helped the multifaceted team who then found Jay-P and used their development skills to help keep the project moving forward.
As the project continues to grow, they added Kris who is now working on both art and music for the project, including upgrades such as swords and potions. In a nutshell, the way they found each other was Jeff sent out a tweet to the Cardano community looking for a musician for the game. Kris, @heavymetaltcryp, responded with interest and sent some samples of her previous work. Jeff loved her demo and a collaboration was born. The first task for the new team was to develop some music samples for the F7 Catalyst proposal so Kris quickly came up with some concepts and got them recorded so that they could be included with the proposal. From there they’ve continued working together -first with music and later with art as Kris is also now designing some in-game upgrades like weapons and crystals.
But Kris isn’t working on the music alone. She has a collaborator from the other side of the world. Big Joe @bigjoethedon was initially an investor and then community manager. Because of his musical talent he was a natural to help create a soundtrack for the Mini Ninja Heroes drop in February. How the entire soundtrack was created, however, demonstrates the magic of Cardano. Big Joe signed up to create the hip hop track and Kris, who is an artist / musician living in Finland started work on the instrumentals. Kris picked several instrumental tracks and then worked with Big Joe to choose the best one for his style. Big Joe then had his friend The Holy Bins drop by and create the recording and a second special effect layer. Then the collaboration was sent back to Finland where Kris created a third layer of harmonics and completed the final edits. Here we see Cardano’s magic in that it has brought together a hip hop artist from East LA and a classically trained musician from Finland to create music for a project that is managed by a Canadian. Just pause a moment and think about how special this global collaboration is.
Cardano has a way of helping projects grow and people revisit their dreams. Big Joe, for example, dreamed of a career in rap music when he was in his teens, but was unable to move forward with it due to a period of incarceration. He thought that his dream was lost but Cardano is offering new opportunities for him. He manages the Cardano Stoners Club Twitter space and is working on multiple music projects. He really enjoys working with diverse musicians. As a matter of a fact the Anthem for the Cardano Stoners Club was written by a fan who is a guitarist from the Philippines. Big Joe thinks of the Cardano Stoners Club space as if it is a virtual garage that everyone can hang out in and share ideas and music in a relaxed and non threatening environment. At this point Big Joe has left the Mini Ninjas project to pursue these other opportunities full time. Jeff has also assumed the community manager role for the time being until the team finds a person who is the right fit. Jeff’s girlfriend Callysta is helping too by keeping track of discord and quality assurance. The team has had its transitions but is always working diligently to achieve their goal. The global nature of Cardano means that anyone from anywhere who is qualified can participate. Jeff believes in selecting highly talented team members and allowing them complete creative freedom to do what they do best.
When the team applied for catalyst funding they felt small compared to other life changing projects out there. They are humbled by the award and excited for the opportunity to help promote the Cardano system. With Kris and Joe’s help the team worked hard to promote the project and received Catalyst funding for the mobile game which should be available by year’s end 2022.
Mini Ninja Heroes works more like an app than a game. Players will battle against each other using their NFTs. The game is easy to play- each NFT has properties, its worth, strength, etc.. There is a straightforward ranking system- High NFT beats Low NFT, simple to translate, easy to use. It was designed that way to facilitate use by a global audience and create an innovative tournament experience which encourages non cryptocurrency users to explore the blockchain. The game seems to be about fighting, however a thoughtful strategy is required to be successful. In order to be a superior player, you must study an opponent’s history, psychology and character stats to predict their next move. After your victory, your cunning moves and NFT items will be on display for the entire internet to view. If strategy isn’t enough by itself there are upgrades that you can win or purchase along the way.
Like any active project, Mini Ninja Heroes is growing and changing as development continues. Even in these early stages, however, one can see their dedication to creating a product that is accessible to a global audience and creates a practical use case for Cardano. The talent of the team is also apparent. While the path may be a bit muddy at times, this is a diverse, globally talented group that is determined to see the project through to completion. This is definitely a project worth watching.