Interview with Christina K, the brains and beauty behind Fuzzle - Macenstein

Interview with Christina K, the brains and beauty behind Fuzzle

When I think of the words “computer programmer” normally I think of a dorky, pasty male who lives on snack foods and emerges from his basement only to replenish said snacks and occasionally attend a World Wide Developer Conference. So I was understandably intrigued when the stereotype-shattering video below surfaced of the lovely Christina, the programming brains behind the highly successful iPhone app Fuzzle.

My 6 year old daughter is a big fan of Fuzzle, and I am a big fan of Christina, 🙂 so I managed to track her down and ask her a bit about her game, being a female programmer in a male dominated industry, and the challenges of programming for the iPhone.

Macenstein: Hi Christina. You have a lovely accent. Where are you from, and how long have you been programming?

Christina: I’m from Estonia, a small country next to Finland and Russia. I started to program 4 years ago after having a programming course in high school. But professionally only 2 years ago.

Macenstein: Are you an avid gamer?

Christina: Well yeah, but I’m not so into the typical ‘hardcore’ games. I tend to prefer small puzzle games, which is why the games I’m creating for the iPhone are this type … and I also think the iPhone is more suited to these simple kind of games. I like something I can play quickly on the tram for example.

Above: Christina’s Fuzzle demo video caught our eye.

Macenstein: Did you run into any challenges in developing for the iPhone? Was it at all difficult to adapt to the iPhone’s touch screen user interface?

Christina: Yeah, we faced a lot of challenges in developing for the iPhone. Some of course are understandable – its a new platform, and programming for a mobile device is always going to have some difficulties. However, the most annoying frustrations were all the somewhat unnecessary issues caused by Apple i.e. requiring developers to deal with certificates, profiles etc.

For example, for over a week I was unable to run my application on the phone, until I eventually hacked the phone, because the Apple site that dealt with creating provisioning profiles was simply down for that time. It seems that all Apple achieves with these restrictions is making life difficult for developers, as in any case within a week of our game’s release a hacked version was available for free on bittorrent.

Adapting to the touch screen user interface was also a little challenging – it was hard to know how the game would play on the screen until we got it on there, which was why the delays in being able to test on the phone were frustrating. But we did some work to automatically ‘correct’ for user mistakes in tapping on the squares, and played with a couple of different input methods before coming up with the one we found to work best. We still had some users complain that that they occasionally make mistakes, so the next update will include a limited undo feature. But actually I find now that the game plays even better on the iPhone, using your finger to drag-drop balls, than using the mouse on the PC. It depends on the game a lot, some games are really suited to the iPhone’s interface, others really aren’t.

Fuzzle for iPhone

Macenstein: Being an attractive young girl, you seem to be the antithesis of what most of us picture a computer programer ordinarily looking like. How do you respond to those suspicious folks who doubt you actually wrote the game, and are merely “eye Candy” hired by the company (Mikael Suvi/Candy Cane Inc.) to generate interest for the game?

Christina: Yeah, well I think those people should come visit my country of Estonia – its a lot different from what the US is like, and visiting here should destroy many stereotypes people have.

Macenstein: Did you develop the game completely on your own, or were you part of a team (meaning, did you create all the graphics, animations, and the code yourself?)

Christina: No, I was part of a team. I designed the gameplay and programmed the game logic, but we had a graphic designer working on the graphics and another coder who’s more of a Mac expert working with me.

Macenstein: Where did you get the idea for Fuzzle?

Christina: The concept of Fuzzle is based on the old ‘color lines’ concept which has been around in a few games for a long time. I always liked this game, but thought it needed a little more excitement, which I added with the rainbow and bomb balls, and the timer. Based on the many positive reviews, it appears that many users also like the original gameplay we’ve created, although we’ve also added some options to the next update to i.e. allow for a more ‘classic’ mode with no timer, for users more used to the classic form of the game.

Macenstein: Does the name have any significance?

Christina: Well we just wanted something unique … it had the unfortunate coincidence of sounding similar some other game ‘Chuzzle’ which I’d previously never heard of, which gave us some imo unfair bad reviews by users expecting Fuzzle to be this other game. I think its almost impossible these days to find an entirely unique title for anything.

Macenstein: do you find your long finger nails hamper your iPhone enjoyment? Don’t they make it hard to type code?

Christina: They are not usually that long to be honest, but I have been typing with long fingernails since I was 14, so I am already used to it.

Macenstein: Are you working on any other iPhone follow up games?

Christina: Yeah, we’re working on another puzzle game, which is a bit more of a thinking, brain-twisting game than Fuzzle. Something more along the lines of su-doku, but without all the numbers, but I can’t give away too much at this stage.

Macenstein: Thanks Christina. We love Fuzzle and look forward to checking out your future games.

5 Responses to “Interview with Christina K, the brains and beauty behind Fuzzle”
  1. TheCos says:

    Yeah, I saw her video last week and was a little skeptical, but she’s obviously very intelligent (I certainly don’t speak Estonian as fluidly as she speaks english!) so I tend to believe she did the work. I also like Fuzzle. It’s simple but most good games are.

  2. Kensei says:

    Nice to see women staking their claim in the programming/IT field.

    She seems to be a very intelligent lady and I love Fuzzle! I look forward to her next projects with great anticipation.

  3. Brett says:

    Hi Christina,
    you’re pretty. Do you need a greencard?
    Email me and we can proceed with the marriage and practicing for babies.


  4. Freq says:

    I like it when she says balls

  5. Rowlings says:


    From comments like, that I think we now know why girls have trouble getting respect in the geeky, male dominated tech fields.

    And I agree, it does sound cute when she says balls.


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