Chupacabras to Telenovelas: Coral Gables Company Develops Apps for Latino Market

"When the night falls, the legendary creature Chupacabra awakens, and he's ravenous. Devour as many goats as possible, jump over cliffs, evade your enemies and terrorize entire villages. Give life to the myth (or legend) of the Chupacabra and create panic."

This is not a joke. What you just read is the marketing description of a new video game. Thanks to Venevision Mobile, based out of Coral Gables, you can have the cute little guy on the right running across the screen of your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, devouring goats and instilling fear into the hearts of villagers.

The company creates apps with a Latino flavor, such as Jose Comes to

USA, Futbolero, Mister Miguel's, and Novelera.

Cultist thought that making Latino-centric video game phone apps was a

neat and novel idea, so we decided to talk Rafael Garcia, the vice

president of new media distribution at Venevision International and head

of Venevision Mobile.

New Times: Why did you guys start developing apps for the Hispanic market?

Rafael Garcia: We first started creating products around our television programs, such as the telenovelas and talk shows. However, with the growth of smartphone penetration and the surging mobile applications market, we decided to forge ahead and become the first content creator to serve this important market segment, targeting the U.S. Hispanic demographic. And the initiative has paid off.

How do your apps appeal to the Latin market?

The second and third generation Latino, is either bilingual or English dominant. Thus we create applications that have mass market appeal, but with a strong connection to the Latino culture.

In the particular case of Chupacabra, the gameplay is simply about a monster devouring goats and running off to escape, but the character is a well-known mythical creature in the Hispanic culture. Another example is our game Mr. Miguel's, which entails the user playing the role of a cook at a Mexican restaurant in East L.A.

Who comes up with these concepts?

We have an ingenious team of game designers, project managers and marketing minds that come together to discuss ideas, create and carry out the projects.

The Chupacabra is an iconic Latino myth. How did the idea to turn the Chupacabra into a video game come about?

We have a process where our creative team comes up with different ideas that have universal appeal, connection with the Latin culture, and are entertaining and fun. From those ideas, we make a selection of the best ones, sometimes we combine a few of them, and at times totally new concepts come to life.

With Chupacabra the idea came from one of our team members and the whole team immediately embraced it, and ran with it. We create products that we would absolutely love as consumers first. There isn't a proven formula, however, we iterate through ideas and make changes on the way to make sure we create the best products and, most importantly, we listen to what our customers have to say. Creating digital products is a collaborative effort because market reaction is in real-time. Consumers will tell you right away what they like or don't like about your product and then it's up to you to react fast enough. 

Can you tell us of any new apps you guys are working on?

We are about to launch our next mobile game app named 'King Bandido.' Set in the Spanish colonial era, the main character is an apprentice swordsman. The app has a couple gameplay modes and tests the user's speed and precision with the sword. It's really fun and we hope to launch it next month.

We are also working on two other applications, one code-named 'Magica,' which is about a fairy that protects a young boy from his evil enemies. Another app we are working on is a strategy game centered around the legend of 'El Dorado,' in which the user uses god-like powers to divert Spanish conquerors from finding the lost city.

You can download Chupacabra or any other Venevision Mobile app at the iTunes store. But, pay attention to the product description.... "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

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