Samuel Baird
Games and Learning Portfolio

Dumb Ways To Die (1 & 2)

Client Metro Ltd
Role Lead development, game design
Technology Flash, Actionscript
Kate Moss' favourite game

Originally conceived as a song to encourage safe behaviour around trains, Dumb Ways to Die became a massive global sensation and the most awarded campaign in advertising history. A huge part of it's extraordinary reach and longevity was due the breakout success of the original mobile game based on the characters and themes in the song, designed and created entirely by Barrel of Donkeys, the partnership of myself and Julian Frost.

After the initial viral launch of the song and animation, Metro approached Julian, the animator and character designer of Dumb Ways to Die, to consider the possiblity of translating the song and its message to a mobile game. We had already released our first indie mobile game, Toybox, and set to work on various game designs that could capture the magic. The minigame format most directly brought out the humour and message of the song, and filled a niche not yet well served on mobile devices, leading to explosive success and birthing a franchise.

Metro approached Millipede to create a sequel. Dumb Ways to Die 2: The Games expanded the dumb ways universe into new settings for the first time, seeing the next generation of dumb hopefuls storming the sporting world, where they partake in properly dangerous games to impress the heroes of the original series. Players travel by train around a map with a distinctly Melbourne feel, navigating games focused on train safety. I led workshops, the overall game design and and development of this smash hit sequel that grew the franchise even further.

Dumb Ways is a brand built on surprisingly nuanced humour. Game design, creative empathy, animation and character design work together to create a uniquely charming experience, one that is accessible to and loved by everyone. It showcases deep conceptual understandinhg, joyful creative expression and tasteful execution.

Both games went to number one in the world charts on iOS and Android, each with over 120 million downloads, and are some of the most widely played games in the world.