mode of expression, LLC
Based in New York, NY

Founding date:
September 1, 2008


Press / Business Contact:

bigblueboo labs

The Grading Game
Rescuties Vr
Fireworks Hero
Word Fireworks
Ratatap Drums

85 Delancey St
New York, NY



mode of expression is an independent studio that creates creative apps, cutting-edge web experiences, and unique games.


Early history

I founded mode of expression in 2008 in San Francisco. Since then, I've written educational apps, musical instruments, music composition toys, WebGL things, and, most recently, games.

Music apps

In 2009, I published a series of iPhone musical instruments. These instruments had interfaces that mimiced their real-life counterparts; three valves for a trumpet, a slide for a trombone, and real fingerings for a clarinet, saxophone, and flute. I followed those with noteplex, a novel visual music composition toy that lays out musical notes on a LiteBrite-like grid. Next was moxMatrix, a visually appealing beat sequencer. I used my deepening audio programming experience to make Ratatap Drums, a flexible, fast drum app. It had best-in-class low latency and it was super-easy to make your own drum sounds and drumset. Ratatap Drums went on to be featured on the App Store.


In 2012, I began to fool around with 3d graphics on iOS, fascinated with the challenge of making infinite terrain on the constraints of the iPhone. At my then-fiancée's suggestion, I fashioned a playable game around the engine, and the iOS voxel game "lunacraft" was born. Since then, lunacraft has garnered 10,000s of 5-star reviews and millions of downloads. The following year, as part of a week-long gamejam called "7 Day First Person Shooter" or 7DFPS, I created a tongue-in-cheek prototype called "First Person Tutor", wherein the player targeted copy-editing mistakes in badly plagiarized essays. This grew into the full commercial game, "The Grading Game" for iPhone and iPad. Nominated for the Best Serious Game in the 2013 IMGA awards, The Grading Game earned thousands of positive App Store reviews as well.


In late 2013, I began a gif-a-day project where I create a new animation daily as a way to focus on improving my design skills. After nearly two years, I've made more than 600 gifs, some obscure, some topping reddit and earning 100,000s of likes. In late 2014, I moved to New York. With my developing design skills, and a pack of apps under my belt, I shifted my focus to game development.

Word Fireworks!

In 2014, my passion for particle systems and a new-found interest in learning Korean combined to inspire a game that would reward memorization with fireworks. The scope of the game quickly grew from a mini-game restricted to the Korean alphabet to a full-blown language learning experience across four different languages. Word Fireworks was finally released on Android and iOS in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Hebrew in Q4 2015.

Rescuties! VR

In 2016, after gifs of a prototype went viral, I launched a successful Kickstarter for a casual room-scale VR game, Rescuties! VR. In Rescuties, the player takes the role of a first responder who saves babies, beloved pets, and endangered species from myriad threats ranging from burning buildings to melting icebergs. In late 2016 the game launched on Steam for the HTC Vive, and shortly thereafter launched on Oculus as a launch title for the Oculus Touch controllers.

Slashcards: Learn Japanese

Slashcards is a top-down 3d adventure born from the 2016 7-day Roguelike Game Jam (7DRL). The game uses randomly generated levels and enemies to challenge the player to level-up their Japanese mastery to complete their quest. Featuring beautiful low-poly design, quirky animations and up-to-four-player co-op, Slashcards: Learn Japanese! invites players to adventure together, and learn to read and write Japanese! The latest playable alpha is currently available on itch.io.


In 2017, I began work on rogue//exploit, a cyberpunk-themed space shooter. Abstract, generative environments evoke an artificial, data-rich world where players hack corporate networks, dodge hostile security systems, and attack multiplying malware. rogue//exploit offers a variety of game modes including a challenging quest mode, co-op modes, and a variety of versus battle modes. The first playable alpha will be released in Q1 2018.



Rescuties! VR: Save Adorable Things YouTube

Word Fireworks: Learn Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Hebrew! YouTube

The Grading Game review YouTube

Ratatap Drums demo YouTube

Parameter Ghosts [Generative project] Vimeo



There are far more images available for mode of expression, LLC, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!


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Awards & Recognition

  • "The Grading Game: Best Serious Game (nominated)" - IMGA, 2013
  • "The Grading Game: Excellence in Innovation (nominated)" - IMGA, 2013

Selected Articles

  • " Although I love learning languages, I had previously been unable to find a sufficient app for learning Japanese, Mandarin, Hebrew, or Korean. Then I was introduced to Word Fireworks, a learning app that teaches you a language with fun gameplay that I’ve found to be absolutely addicting. "
    - Conner Carey, iPhoneLife
  • " I’m frankly surprised by how much I like The Grading Game. It is ultimately about grading papers and looking for spelling errors, but somehow the intense time limit, scoring mechanics and various modes wrapped around that seemingly bland premise make the game super addictive. "
    - Ryan Rigney, Wired
  • "The way words pop as your red pen dashes them out of existence feels wonderful, and the professor’s increasingly petty reasons for demanding that you fail students are sure to strike a cord with, well, everyone who’s ever attended a university."
    - Nathan Grayson, Rock, Paper, Shotgun
  • "I think it is safe to say that it is only getting more difficult to stand out, especially within already crowded genres...And then an app like Ratatap Drums comes along."
    - Samuel Lytle, App Advice
  • "[Lunacraft] is like Minecraft...on the moon. [Lunacraft] even adds a few cool features to the standard Minecraft experience, capitalising on its sci-fi setting to give you immediate access to both a gun and a jetpack, which you can use to fly around the world."
    - Luke Plunkett, Kotaku

bigblueboo labs
Check out various weird experiments and web toys by bigblueboo, including explorers for primes, fractals, and 3d cellular automata. http://bigblueboo.com/.

bigblueboo gif-a-day tumblr!
a generative, perfect-looping gif a day, ranging from skateboarding robots to M.C. Escher-inspired paradoxes. Now on my 900-something-th gif! http://bigblueboo.tumblr.com/.

Team & Repeating Collaborators

Charlie Deck
Designer + Developer

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks