Local game developer Charles McGregor launches “HyperDot” game for Xbox

After years of work, McGregor has released his latest arcade action game in a partnership with Xbox.

Developer Charles McGregor poses for a portrait in his workspace on Wednesday Feb 12. McGregor and his team at Glitch launched a new game called Hyperdot.

Parker Johnson

Developer Charles McGregor poses for a portrait in his workspace on Wednesday Feb 12. McGregor and his team at Glitch launched a new game called Hyperdot.

Frankie Carlson

After years of work on his very own arcade-style action game, 26-year-old Charles McGregor is thrilled to share “HyperDot” with the world.

Since learning coding from his father at a young age, McGregor has constantly looked for ways to incorporate his passion for game design into his schoolwork. 

“I would try and find a way to shoehorn video games into whatever projects I had,” he said.

He designed and programmed games for his class assignments from elementary school well into his time as an undergrad at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Though he took pride in his work, McGregor never expected to see what began as a simple demo made for a research project in college on the front page of the Xbox Games Store. 

“HyperDot” is a simple yet addictive minimalist arcade game with one rule: dodge everything. The player controls a colorful ball within a circular and attempts to evade geometric enemies that fly in every direction. The game is presented with a unique aesthetic and every level comes with a new palette of colors, lights and shapes. McGregor’s original class demo now contains a variety of modes and settings. “HyperDot” features a 100-level campaign and multiplayer mode as well as a custom level editor. 

McGregor has been the sole developer behind the project. He operates under his independent game studio, Tribe Games, of which he remains the only member. “HyperDot”‘s programming, artwork and music have all been under his control.

During his three and a half years of work on “HyperDot,” McGregor has been partnered with the local independent video game label, GLITCH.

GLITCH began as a student group at the University of Minnesota. In 2010, the group started out by hosting events and workshops with the intention of connecting creators and insiders within the gaming industry. Like McGregor, many of the founders at GLITCH began by looking for ways to merge academics with gaming. 

“We figured out what we wanted to do with our studies outside the classroom,” said Evva Karr, GLITCH’s co-founder and CEO. For Karr, that meant making time to pursue her passion for gaming. 

As “HyperDot”’s publishing partner, GLITCH has assisted in business development while also providing assistance on the technical end. 

GLITCH’s co-founder and director of insights Nic VanMeerten has assisted in balancing the level of challenge within the game, as well as conducting accessibility research. Part of VanMeerten’s contribution to the project has been “making sure that the features [McGregor] made resonate with a lot of people,” he said. 

Thanks to GLITCH, McGregor’s game has had a successful release. Along with availability on the Xbox store, HyperDot is being featured in a unique partnership with the Xbox adaptive controller. 

“It’s one of our first big investments as an organization, and Charles was the right person for us at the right time,” Karr said.

McGregor is still in disbelief about seeing his game appear on a major console. He is excited to be able to continue his partnership with GLITCH and go on to tackle new projects that he has in mind.

“I have a lot of ideas for other games moving forward,” McGregor said. “… the games that I’ve had dreams of making since I was a kid.”