Blockchain Blog

Blockchain API Profile: SaruTobi

Are you addicted to SaruTobi yet? It’s a wonderfully entertaining side-scroller for iOS that allows you to receive bitcoin tips just by playing the game!

The game was developed by Christian Moss and is available for free download, in the App Store!

After playing the game ourselves, we decided it would be a great idea to reach out to Christian to learn a little bit more about SaruTobi and discuss how the Blockchain API makes bitcoin tipping possible!

Alyson: Can you explain the premise of the game SaruTobi to us?

Christian: The premise is simple; you have to swing Tobi (a monkey) on a vine, build up momentum and see how far he can fly through the air. As Tobi flies through the air, he can collect floating bitcoins that you can use to buy power ups such as rockets, to help him fly further.

A: Where does the name SaruTobi come from?

C: SaruTobi is Japanese for “Monkey Fly”, which is pretty much the premise of the game. SaruTobi is also a popular character name in Japanese pop culture; it was the name of a famous fictional Ninja SaruTobi Sasuke.

A: Did you develop this entire project by yourself?

C: Yes, I am an indie developer and enjoy the creative control I get with design and functionality.

**A: Your game incorporates bitcoin by allowing users to acquire it as they play. When you were still in the idea phase, was your goal to create a game, or was your goal to create some sort of bitcoin application?

C: The initial purpose was just to make a simple addictive game; I wanted to add some sort of in-game currency, so I started to add the typical Mario-style coins. It then occurred to me “why not [make them bitcoin-style coins]?”

At the time, I didn’t intend to incorporate actual bitcoin, just to use the bitcoin “brand”, but in the back of my mind I thought it would be nice if I could incorporate actual bitcoins into the app.

I knew that Apple were never going to allow the user to buy items in the game using bitcoin (as you need to use Apple’s in-app purchase system), but there were no rules with regards to sending the user bitcoins as a reward. This is why I decided to incorporate a bitcoin tipping function, which would reward the player with bitcoin tips for playing.

A: How did you incorporate the Blockchain API into the game?

C: It was quite simple. The game has a bitcoin tipping pot; all the bitcoin in the pot is used as tips for the player.

The pot is a bitcoin wallet. In the game the user can see how many bitcoins are in the pot. The api is used here to get the current balance of the wallet address and display it to the user.

If the user wants to receive bitcoin tips, they need to enter their wallet address into the app.

Once they have entered their address and after they have played for X amount of time, the app sends the player’s address to our server, our server then uses the player’s address and the pot’s wallet details with the Blockchain API to send a small amount of bitcoin to the player.


A: Why did you choose to use the Blockchain API?

C: I was already familiar with the Blockchain API for previous projects and as far as I knew, the Blockchain API has been around longer than others, therefore I thought it would be more stable and less likely to “disappear”.

A: What other kinds of projects have you worked on in the past?

C: I have worked on a range of apps, but my first bitcoin related app was called “Bity”, which is a simple bitcoin wallet app that I released in May 2014. At the time, Apple did not have a bitcoin-friendly policy for apps that let the user transact bitcoin, so we were pleased that Apple allowed “Bity” through.

A: Do you have any bigger plans for SaruTobi, or will you be working on other bitcoin-centered games in the near future?

C: Not until Apple changes their policy towards in-app purchases. Ideally, I would love to allow the user to purchase power-ups or unlock features using bitcoin.

Apart from that, I am currently working on a bitcoin mining game. The game will allow the user to mine into the ground, just like conventional mining using dynamite and tools. As the user digs deeper, instead of finding gold they will find bitcoin.

I would like to work real bitcoin transactions into this game as well, allowing the user to actually earn bitcoin through their mining.

*Love SaruTobi? Check out these other apps!

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