Cancer survivor puts Fort Wayne in a video game

Local News

Pizza, drinks, and video games could make for a nice afternoon for some people, but for John Springer, it’s his dream, and it’s becoming a reality. Springer is working to open his pizza shop, I Heart Pizza, next fall, but it with that comes what he has spent 11 years building, a Fort Wayne video game.

Springer and his team have taken a liking to older video games from the 1990’s so they want to make a game that highlights Fort Wayne businesses and landmarks for the Sega Genesis gaming system.

The plan is to create a trilogy of games. So far, part one is finished, and parts two and three are on the way, but the goal is not to sell the individual games.

“We wanted to make this to bring folks in to our pizza place,” Springer said. “Honestly, that’s why we made the game because we want to be able to have folks come in, spend time together with their friends, families, whomever and just enjoy one and other’s company geeking out with our fun little Fort Wayne themed project.”

Springer wants to get other businesses involved in this project as well. He wants to include them in the game to give people a “real Fort Wayne experience.”

“My dream in our third and final installment of our Fort Wayne game trilogy is to invite as many local businesses as possible to appear in our game at zero charge,” Springer said. “We want to make the biggest shout out this city’s ever seen. Our idea is that players will be able to go to local businesses see their actual contact information, and if they make a purchase in the game itself, they’ll actually get a real life coupon or voucher that they could use at the real store.”

The idea for this project came to Springer when he was in the hospital after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

“I worked on this, and my dream,” Springer said. “This is actually what got me through cancer, and that’s no exaggeration. That’s no word of a lie. All I did throughout the chemotherapy and the radiation is think ‘how can I make this special thing?’ I wanted to make something special not only for me but for the entire community of Fort Wayne, and that’s not just something I’m saying on the news. That’s from the heart.”

Springer’s next steps are to get local businesses on board with his plan so he can put them in his video game. He is hoping someone with legal expertise can help him expedite that process. He is most responsive on his company’s social media sites. Those can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the handle @iheartpizzallc.

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