Tommy Refenes

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Tommy Refenes
Tommy Refenes at GDC 2012 (cropped).jpg
Refenes at the 2012 Game Developers Conference
Born (1981-06-14) June 14, 1981 (age 39)
Occupation Video game designer, programmer CEO of Team Meat
Known for Super Meat Boy

Tommy Refenes is an American video game designer and programmer, best known for his work on the game Super Meat Boy , a platformer he co-created with designer Edmund McMillen.


Early life

Refenes began programming at the age of eleven, and has been doing so professionally since the age of 18, [1] initially contracting for a website whose owner had threatened to sue him over a parody Flash game he had made. [2] He dropped out of North Carolina State University; he later told gaming blog Brutal Gamer "if you want to be a programmer, do not go to college." [3] He is also Type 1 Diabetic, as revealed in Indie Game The Movie.


Refenes started at Seventy - Two DPI in August 2001 where he managed their website and servers. In August 2003 he was hired by Learning Station, where he developed server software and applications in Flash, C++, PHP, and ASP. In July 2005 he decided to shift to the computer game field and went to work for the now defunct Streamline Studios, where he assisted in optimizing and porting the Unreal 2.x engine from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360, [4] as well as assisting on the WiiWare title HoopWorld . [5] In May 2006, Refenes and Aubrey Hesselgren, a game designer, founded the company Pillowfort. Their first effort was a game they dubbed Goo!. In 2008 Goo! won the grand prize for Best Threaded Game in the 2008 Intel Game Demo Contest, and took third place for Best Game on Intel Graphics. [6] The game was canceled and Refenes left the studio in January 2009.

In 2009 he co-founded the company Team Meat with game and graphics designer Edmund McMillen, with Refenes acting as programmer and co-CEO. [7] Super Meat Boy is the only game they have published together, and they are not expected to work on more projects together. Though Team Meat did release Super Meat Boy Forever , [8] McMillen has resigned from the team and did not make a contribution to the project. [9]

Apple App Store controversy

In March 2010 at the Game Developers Conference 2010, Refenes criticized Apple's App Store, calling it "awful" and "horrible" and likened its games to the crude Tiger Electronics games that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. [10] Seven days after this speech was given, Apple pulled the game Zits & Giggles from the market. [10] Refenes had developed the game and sold it through the App Store in order to satirize what he considered to be the nonsensical nature of the App Store. In response to its removal he and McMillen launched the Super Meat Boy Handheld on the App Store. The game adopted the art style and gameplay of the Tiger handheld series of games. As Refenes described it, "Super Meat Boy Handheld is all the branding of Super Meat Boy, without the actual gameplay or art from Super Meat Boy...and all for ONLY A DOLLAR." [11]


TitlePlatform(s)Release yearNotes
nail jesus to the cross!! Flash 2000 [12]
Bitch Hunt Flash 2000 [12]
Owl Country [13] Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows 2008Voice Work, voices the owl
Grey Matter Flash 2008 [12]
Beat! Music Memory Match iOS 2009 [14]
Free Money* Scratch n'Win [12] iOS 2009
Zits & Giggles iOS 2009 [10]
Goo [1] N/A2009Cancelled
HoopWorld [5] Wii 2010
Super Meat Boy Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox Live Arcade 2010
Mew-Genics [15] Steam, iOS, Android TBA
Super Meat Boy Forever [15] Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 2020

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  1. 1 2 timw (2008-04-21). "The Weblog - Interview: Tommy Refenes (Goo!)". Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "Anonymous asked: What was the first programming job/contract you had? I've read you started professionally at 18". Yzc2NjQ1MzQyNDU2MjMyMz. Retrieved 8 January 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. "Grillin' Super Meat Boy « Brutal Gamer". 2010-10-31. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. "Tommy Refenes". LinkedIn . Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. 1 2 "HoopWorld : BasketBrawl! - Credits". Streamline Studios . Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. "Spotlight on the 2008 Intel Game Demo Contest Winners - Intel Software Network". Intel Corporation . Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. "What is Team Meat?". Team Meat. 2010-11-30. Archived from the original on 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. Devore, Jordan (2017-08-30). "Super Meat Boy Forever is a 'true sequel' due out in 2018". Destructoid. Retrieved 11 January 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. Phillips, Tom (26 September 2017). "Super Meat Boy Forever and the return of Team Meat". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 January 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. 1 2 3 Tolito, Stephen (2010-03-19). "Apple Bans Game, Days After Developer Publicly Trashes App Store". Kotaku . Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. Rose, Mike (2010-04-04). "Developer plays a joke on Apple with Super Meat Boy Handheld | Super Meat Boy Handheld news". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2010-12-17.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. 1 2 3 4 "Tommy Refenes on Newgrounds".
  13. "TIGSource: Owl Country".
  14. "Gamespot - Beat! Music Memory Match".
  15. 1 2 "Development of 'Super Meat Boy' on iOS Officially Halted, 'Mew-Genics' Release Now Priority".