HOULTON, Maine — The operators of Took A Leap Farm, a small goat dairy farm and state-licensed creamery in Houlton, have always known that their Nigerian dwarf goats were cute. But even they admitted last summer that they were shocked when a video starring Buttermilk, one of their more mischievous goats, amassed more than eight million hits on YouTube and was shown on several television programs
And now, having conquered TV and the Internet, Buttermilk is set to take a new genre by storm — electronic games.
Kathryn Harnish and her husband, Rob Lawless, started Took A Leap Farm after they moved to Aroostook County from Chicago 10 years ago. The farm sells a small selection of fresh goat cheeses and also has chickens, a donkey and other animals.
Last August, Harnish posted a video of some of their Nigerian dwarf goats scampering around the property. The highlight was the boisterous Buttermilk, who was then 5 weeks old, jumping over and kicking some of the other goats. Just as some would regain their footing, Buttermilk would topple them over again.
The video quickly went viral and was shared on Facebook and Twitter numerous times. The staff of the “Today” show featured the clip of the athletic goat on the air, as they were in London for the Olympics. Several other shows soon followed, and Buttermilk’s star was propelled further skyward.
A short time later, one of the couple’s friends suggested developing a game around Buttermilk.
Doug Davies is the owner of Ohio-based Funky Visions, a firm that develops fun and creative applications for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. He recently ventured into Android with the newest game.
The firm was launched in 2009 and focuses on providing fun apps at a low price that have replay value, according to its website.
“When Buttermilk was all over the TV and the Internet, Doug told me he wanted to develop a game,” Harnish said on Friday. “I was excited about it. We collaborated on the app in January and it was launched about a month ago.”
The game is called “Buttermilk The Bouncing Baby Goat” and is available for Apple and Android devices. The objective is to help Buttermilk jump over her brothers and sisters while avoiding hitting them, because Buttermilk loses strength if she hits other goats. A player can score bonus points by getting Buttermilk to jump on top of another goat and propelling her skyward. Players can compete against friends on Game Center and can purchase accessories for Buttermilk to use while running, such as party hats, tin cans and bananas. Each one will give her special abilities to get higher scores.
“It is a really, really neat game and it was downloaded more than 1,000 times in the first 24 hours and 7,000 times in the first week,” said Harnish. “Doug wanted to keep the game really simple, and it is really bright and has neat music. It is something that you can play really quickly while you are standing in line or just waiting for a commercial to end. The game is free to download and the accessories you can purchase don’t cost more than a dollar or two.”
The game has 14 user reviews on Google Play, with an average of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. Users have praised the game as easy, addictive and fun for people of all ages.
Harnish said that the game is just another tool that has generated publicity for Buttermilk and the farm.
“We could never have imagined what a great tool this little goat has turned out to be,” she said on Friday. “She has her own Facebook page that has more than 10,500 likes and the YouTube hits for the video are still trickling in. It has been wonderful.”
“Buttermilk The Bouncing Baby Goat” can be downloaded by clicking on the link to the Funky Visions website.
Buttermilk’s Facebook page can be found by searching the site for Buttermilk Sky, Internet Phenom.