Originally published at Polygon.
Careers in animation took them across the country. Taking a chance on game development brought them home.
"It looked like a toad jumping up," he says, tapping the glass.
His instincts are right: A small frog hops to attention on the sill, peering into the curious room on the other side.
From the toad’s position outside the basement, you can see plain, white walls and light brown carpet. You can see the top of a sewing machine and the side of an old writing desk tucked near the window. You can’t miss the plastic bins of toys, the pink kitchen play set and bags of dress-up clothes lined against the far corner. Through the window, you can see the basement of a young family.
You might not notice the other end of the basement, which tapers to hold the two elbow-shaped desks where Steve and Jessica Hoogendyk have spent most of their days for the past two years. You might not see the mismatched monitors, the idling laptops or the small whiteboard, divided down the middle to show the week’s pressing deadlines.
You might not see it, but in the basement corner, with limited space and boundless ambition, the Hoogendyk family is making a game. Seated side by side now, the Hoogendyks can’t get much closer. But the story of their game begins on opposites ends of the country.