The mobile platformer graduated from the Digital Arts department, catching the attention of local press with its endearing graphics, creative gameplay, and nearly-funded Kickstarter campaign.

In addition to my own coverage on the game’s trophy-winning victory at the IEEE, and the team’s recent creation of a Kickstarter campaign to fund their final push through the design process, the local press has also picked up on the endearing mobile game Axle, which began as a collaboration between majors from the Digital Arts department at Dodge College and programmers from the College of Computer Science.

From the Orange County Register:

Axle derives its name from an animated yellow gear that evades lethal crushers while repairing machinery in virtual factories. One member of the group, digital arts major Lauren Gragg, used the game for her senior thesis. Then, Axle won top honors in the regional Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Intercollegiate Computer Game Showcase in April, and the team realized Axle could be more.

But an idea – even an award winner – isn’t a business. And no team member was a business major. The students needed to learn how to cross that bridge, so they took Axle to Chapman’s new eVillage business incubator within the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics.

Within five months, team members had created a company, Fallstreak Studio LLC, laid out a business plan and launched an online crowd-sourcing campaign to bankroll their venture.

They are more than two-thirds of the way through a Kickstarter funding drive to raise at least $15,000 to release Axle for Android phones, said Liz Fiacco, who designed the game. Like Gragg, Fiacco graduated this past spring with a major in digital arts from the film school and a minor in game development from the computer science school.

If they raise $22,000, team members can complete the game for iPhone and Kindle Fire. Another $8,000 will fund an editor to create more playing levels within the game.

“They came to me in April with an award-winning game, big dreams and no business experience,” said Christopher Buckstein, director of eVillage. “With the resources at the incubator and a lot of hard work, Fallstreak Studio’s team members have transformed themselves from enthusiastic students to passionate entrepreneurs.”

Don’t forget to Check out the Kickstarter campaign for Axle – Mobile Platformer in a World of Gears!  At nearly $13,000 out of a $15,000 ask, it’s certainly been a successful campaign already, and it still has over two weeks to meet its goal.  With 4 backers already at the $1,000 level, it’s generating a lot of interest – but no one has claimed the top $5,000 tier contribution yet.

So – to all our philanthropic readers out there: will you take the plunge and push them over the edge?

Good luck to Liz and her whole team on their adventures in crowdfunding!

Read the whole article on the OC Register website.