Tag Archives: Avrin Ross

2019 Year in Review for my Software Development

29 Feb
2020

Happy New Year! Is it too late to say that? I feel like it’s only been a few days into 2020, but here we(leap day!), and tomorrow is the beginning of March! Ok, lets get to it. 2019 started off productive for me in regards to my mobile apps. I made several videos for some of my apps that didn’t have a video associated with them, and I also made videos showing off some of the newer updates for my apps that already had videos of their initial release state. Video is an important and useful resource for marketing. Just google “marketing with video” or something similar and you’ll see all kinds of articles on how powerful video marketing can be. In the past I would make videos for most of my apps and release them at or around the release date, but for some of the past few releases I kept putting off making videos. So in 2019 I decided to stop procrastinating with the video for those apps. Previously I used Reflector and Reflector 2 to obtain video screen capture of my apps and then edited it in iMovie to make a final video, but since the update on iOS that allows screen capturing its been even easier to make videos for my apps. Lack of time is usually the reason why I procrastinate with things but the new screen capture feature is a big time saver and a great motivator for me to make videos. So for the videos I made in 2019, I used a mix of Reflector 2 and screen capture.

Having videos for my my apps on YouTube is a great free way to share an overview of my apps with people all over the world, and help those discover my apps whom may be interested with what its providing. It’s a win win situation for me and potential users. Since some of my apps get updates that add new features and graphics, it’s also neat to be able to look back on how an app looked before an update as a way to witness the progress. In the future I’ll continue to make videos for my apps to coincide with their release date, and also randomly as a way to show new features or just to highlight an app for a promotion or just because. You can check out the YouTube channel for my apps at https://www.youtube.com/user/8BitAvrin

In 2019 I also continued working on the educational health app that I was working on & off with throughout 2018. At times I became a bit overwhelmed at all the information I was researching and including within the app, but I enjoyed learning new information and refreshing knowledge I had so I continued with it. I also thought that many people would benefit from this app, but then I started to realize that the app didn’t have a clear target audience. For all of my apps there’s at least one obvious target audience in a niche, and all of them also have other various audiences that are also targeted. For this health education app I couldn’t narrow down to that first main niche target audience and find the route I wanted to take it. While working on the information segment of it, which is the largest time component of creating it, I thought it would somewhat automatically go in a path of a specific niche audience. However, it never really did, the large factual and possible factual data of it somewhat overwhelmed me, and things outside of app development happened that put my in a major damper on my life. I won’t get into the details of all of that, but in the end I decided to stop development on it. I may return to it eventually, but as of right now I’m not sure.

In October I joined an Amazon Alexa Skill challenge to create a skill with an ISP(In-Skill Purchase) feature. I’ve created a few Alexa skills before but never any with an ISP element so I decided to take on the challenge of creating one. In October I was also sent an invitation by Amazon to join the Amazon Alexa Developer Community Contest. In this engagement I was tasked with giving feedback to other Alexa developers about a skill they’ve submitted and was advised that I would also receive an Amazon gift card for being an eligible participate. This was a separate submission from the ISP challenge, although I guess developers could have submitted their skill to that one as well if they met the requirements. I thought this was neat opportunity for developers to receive feedback from fellow developers to help improve their skill and for developers to discover and enable skills that they may or may not have naturally. Amazon picked the first two skills for me to give feedback on and if I had time I could also check out more as well. I ended up being a bit short on time that month so I decided to just check out the two skills that I was assigned. I’m glad I got to participate though and would again in the future.

I went to Disney World in October and it was awesome! I hadn’t been in over 10 years and it was great visiting it again and I look forward to returning. All of the Star Wars in Disney Hollywood Studios was my favorite and Toy Story Land was really neat too. I also really enjoyed Pandora in Animal Kingdom and other areas there, the ambiance of Magic Kindgom, and the food and drink at Epcot. My wife, our kids, and my wifes sister all had a great time overall as well. Very expensive, but very fun haha. We also went to Disney Springs which is a big indoor/outdoor mall. I’m not a big shopper but I really enjoyed that area and my family did as well.

Ok, now back to my software in 2019. For the Amazon ISP Alexa Skill challenge I created a skill called Stock Market Help, and I believe it’s useful for beginner, amateur and even professional investors as a way to learn terms or refresh knowledge. With this being my first skill with ISP I did run into some issues that held me up during the certification process, but I was eventually able to find solutions to the problems I ran into and get my skill through certification by the deadline. I didn’t end up winning the challenge, but Amazon did give me a consolation prize of a $50 Amazon gift card which was nice. Regardless, I’m glad that I entered the challenge and made this skill. Not only because I like the way the skill turned out and believe it will be helpful to use for myself and others, but also for the experience I gained while creating it.

My Alexa Skill with the most enables in 2019 was Jesus Said. I was slightly surprised by this one because it’s one of my simpler Alexa Skills in terms of its build, but sometimes when it comes to code, design, product, design and more……..simpler is better. The subject matter in this skill is very important, meaningful and motivational to a lot of people so I’m sure that’s part of the reason why it had the most enables of all my skills. In relation to total enables and downloads, most people don’t leave reviews for skills and apps, but this skill has received some good ratings which is nice to see.

 

My mobile app with the most downloads in 2019 was Quiz of Medicine. Released in 2014, but still going strong with its downloads. This was the first quiz app that I ever developed so it holds a special place with me for that fact and for other reasons as well. I learned a lot while making this app, not only about the subject matter, but also about development and design as well. This is one of the apps that helped me realize how much I adore minimalism and efficiency in design. It also helped continue my interest in making educational software. Since releasing this quiz app, I’ve created and released three other quiz apps and four quiz related Alexa skills. One of the main reasons why I like making educational quiz software is because its a neat way for people to obtain new knowledge and refresh the knowledge that they’ve already acquired. Quiz of Medicine doesn’t have many ratings, except on Google Play, but its usability, effectiveness, amount of information, and volume of downloads overall are awesome.

 

Below are my top five mobile apps with the most downloads in 2019 and the top five countries where most of my app downloads came from. Also since I have more than a couple of Alexa skills now, I’ll also list my top five Alexa skills with the most enables in 2019.


My Top 5 Apps Downloaded in 2019

  1. Quiz of Medicine
  2. Ultra Fortune Ball
  3. Quiz of the Christian Bible
  4. Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  5. Quiz of Finance and Investing

Top 5 Countries That Downloaded My Apps

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Mexico
  5. Australia

My Top 5 Alexa Skills Enabled in 2019

  1. Jesus Said
  2. Quotes of Game of Thrones
  3. Quiz of Medicine – Brands & Generics
  4. Quiz of Medicine – Indications
  5. Kids Coin Quiz

As of now I’m working on finishing updating all of my apps on Google Play to be compliant with the 64-bit requirement, which is somewhat time consuming. After finishing the updates I plan on working on my new mobile app company which will be separate from 8-Bit Avrin Apps. However, that does not mean I’m abandoning this though, definitely not. I’ll continue to promote my current software, offer user support, and update when needed. I still really like my apps and skills, and I’m proud of them, some more than others but there’s at least a few things about all of them that I really like a lot overall. Also, the number of app downloads and skill enables in 2019 was better than 2018 overall so that’s ace. Looking forward to promoting my apps more in 2020 and hopefully increasing downloads. Most of my software is targeted towards certain groups and audiences so hopefully the people that are interested will continue to find my apps and those that have them already will continue to enjoy them. Thank you to everyone who downloaded my apps or enabled my Alexa skills in 2020! And thank you to everyone who told others about my software as well! To everybody whom has used my software and enjoyed it, thank you and you’re awesome!

One more thing…..Even with the new app company in my mind, I’m also floating around a couple of ideas for a new app under Avrin Ross/8-Bit Avrin Apps to work on and finish in 2020. I’ll post more about that as more work on it gets done.

“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

I hope you all have an awesome 2020! Take care!

New Amazon Alexa Skills now available!

8 Nov
2018

This Jesus Said skill features a large assortment of verses from Jesus in the Bible. Features verses from the books of Matthew, John, Luke, Mark, Revelation & more. In certain editions of the Holy Bible these would be also known as the “red text” which is believed to be the words spoken by Jesus. The verses within this skill were pulled from the King James version of the Bible. Take care! Enjoy!

 

 

This Alexa edition version of the highly downloaded Quiz of Medicine & RX Quiz of Pharmacy apps focuses on indications for the top 100 drugs in the United States. Within this skill are questions that ask the user which medicine is used for a particular indication(s). After each question the skill presents you with four possible answers, with one of the answers being correct. Simply reply to the question at any time with the answer number that you think is correct. Quiz of Medicine Indications is a neat & quick educational drug indications trivia game that features questions for the top 100 drugs used in the United States. It’s for pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and anyone else who’s interested in furthering and/or refreshing their knowledge of which medicines are used for specific indications. Enjoy! Take care!

 

 

App Development & Design in 2016 Overview | 8-Bit Avrin Apps

27 Jan
2017

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2016 was the first year since releasing my first app in 2011 that I didn’t release a new app. Instead, most of my app development time was spent working on updates, some major and some minor. I began the year finishing the big update to Ultra Fortune Ball, which was the first app that I ever developed and released. The other major updates I worked on and released were for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard, Professor Piggy Bank, Quiz of Medicine, Motivational Quotes to Inspire, Chinatown Fortune Cookie, and my suite of Word Owls Word Search apps. I also released somewhat minor updates for several other apps which included; Saving Bunnies, 8-Bit Eagle Smash, Zompy Jumpy, Detective Deep, Strike the Goal, & Jumbo Egg Hunt.

I really like working on new apps, but I also really like improving my older apps especially when the updates are voluntary. A few of the minor updates I did were mainly because of the new Apple App Store Review Guidelines but all of the other ones were updates that I wanted to work on and made exclusive time for. I like having the ability and authority of providing users with free improvements that can enhance their experience. Some of my most downloaded apps received great updates in 2016 so it feels good knowing that thousands and thousands of people out there are using better versions of my apps. As a creator, improving something that you’ve created is also just an overall great feeling too.

When I began developing apps it was just a hobby. However, as I started to get better and release more apps my download numbers increased which resulted in more income. Now I’m not rich and money still isn’t the main reason why I develop apps, but it is nice getting additional income from a creative endeavor. So this year with Apple iAds dissolving I decided to take a more serious look at monetization with my free apps and try different ad networks. After researching, implementing, testing, and viewing results I decided to go with Google Admob as my main ad provider and then Chartboost and Revmob as secondary ad providers. I had an issue were Admob wasn’t working well enough on my Amazon apps so I decided to use Chartboost as my main ad network with Revmob as secondary for those. Anyways that’s enough talk about monetization.

Below I’ll list my top downloaded apps and top countries that downloaded my apps. After that I’ll write a summary of what I worked on each month and what I plan on working on in 2017 and upload some images of some consumer app reviews I received in 2016.

 

Top 5 Free Downloads

  1. Quiz of Medicine
  2. Ultra Fortune Ball
  3. Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  4. Zompy Jumpy
  5. Chinatown Fortune Cookie

 

Top 5 Paid Downloads

  1. Professor Piggy Bank
  2. RX Quiz of Pharmacy
  3. Ultra Retro Game Soundboard
  4. Word Owl’s Word Search – First Grade
  5. Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard

 

Top 5 Countries for Downloads

  1. United States
  2. Mexico
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Canada
  5. Australia

 

Broad summaries of what I worked on each month….

January: Worked on and finished the big update for Ultra Fortune Ball.

February: Worked on screenshots and promo graphics for Ultra Fortune Ball. Worked on and finished an update for Quiz of Medicine. Tested and implemented new ad networks….this also continued off & on throughout the year with some of my other free apps.

March: Ported a free version of Ultra Fortune Ball to the Amazon App Store. Did a lot of work on the major Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard update. Started working on an Easter edition of Word Owl’s Word Search….haven’t worked on it since though….no sure I’m going to continue due to lack of time and other projects.

April: Finished the update to Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard and put together new screenshots for it. Worked on an update for Chinatown Fortune Cookie.

May: Continued working on the Chinatown Fortune Cookie update. Started working on the big Professor Piggy Bank update. Created a new main promo image for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard.

June: Continued working on the updates for Professor Piggy Bank. Finished the update to Chinatown Fortune Cookie. Started working on an update for Motivational Quotes to Inspire.

July: Worked on and finished app updates for Motivational Quotes to Inspire & Saving Bunnies. Ported Savings Bunnies to the Google Play and Amazon app stores.

August: Worked on & finished updates for 8-Bit Eagle Smash, Professor Piggy Bank, Quiz of Medicine, Ultra Fortune Ball, & Zompy Jumpy. Started working on a new Finance app.

September: Worked on & finished updates for Word Owl’s Word Search Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grades, Christmas, & Halloween editions. Did a small increment of work on the Finance app.

October: Worked on gathering more data for the finance app. Updated some of my free apps on Amazon to change ad network providers. Continued working on the finance app.

November: Continued work on the finance app. Worked on and finished minor updates to Detective Deep & Strike the Goal on iOS because of Apple new review guidelines. Ported Word Owl’s Word Search 1st Grade & Christmas editions to Google Play.

December: Made a promo gameplay video for Word Owl’s Word Search Christmas Edition. Worked on and finished an update for Jumbo Egg Hunt on iOS due to the new Apple review guidelines. Continued researching and organizing data for my finance app.

In 2017 I plan on finishing and releasing two apps. One of them will be the finance app I’ve been working on and the I’m not exactly sure about the other one. There are a lot of app ideas in my head, but I’m not sure which one I’m going to pull out to start working on after the finance app. In 2017 I also plan on working on an awesome new start-up. It’s app related but it will be seperate from Avrin Ross/8-Bit Avrin Apps….more details on that later and eventually it will have its own site too for even more details. I’m very excited about this start-up and my goals for it. So far all my apps developed by Avrin Ross of 8-Bit Avrin Apps belong to a range of various genres, but my next company will be more focused and branded overall.

2016 was definitely the year of updates for me, and I’m glad I used the majority of my little app development time to work on them, but I’m also very much looking forward to working on new stuff. I plan on organizing my time better in 2017 so that I cut a bit down on my little leisure time and increase my app development time. Family is incredibly important to me so I’m still not going to take away much time from them for my apps no matter how hectic app dev lands may get.

Massive thank you to everyone who downloaded one of my apps! Every single one of them had a lot of work put into creating it. I hope you enjoyed them! If not, I’m sorry, but on the bright side you only wasted a little time and maybe like .99 cents if it wasn’t free, so not a big deal at all. Judging from the number of downloads in combination with only a few negative reviews though I’m guessing most users are satisfied overall so that’s awesome. Speaking of reviews, most people don’t leave reviews but below are some of the positive consumer reviews left in 2016 for some of my apps. Thank you to everyone who left a positive review and the people who helped spread the word about my apps too. Until next time ∞

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2016 reviews on Google Play

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2015 Overview – 2014 Overview – 2013 Overview – 2012 Overview

June Mobile App Development Report

7 Jul
2016

During the first part of June I worked on and finished answer graphics for the Professor Piggy Bank update which included possible answers and correct answer congratulation pop ups. Then I organized answers and incorrect answers in a spreadsheet for game implementation in Quiz mode. The next step for this update will be to record a lot of new dialogue for quiz mode. My wife did a great job delivering the dialogue originally so I’ll be getting her to lend me her lovely voice again. Now we just need to schedule a day when we’re both available, ready and have one of our parents keep the kids.

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Working on the Quiz mode spreadsheet for Professor Piggy Bank.

In June I also finished and released the 2.0 & 1.5.5 update for Chinatown Fortune Cookie. The update features a lot of new fortunes and enhancements to all graphics. The amount of fortunes in app is really enormous. This app as well as all of my other apps do not require an internet connection to use their main features so I try to make sure my apps are well equipped and packed with offline content without being too bloated of course.

Towards the end of June I started working on an update to Motivational Quotes to Inspire. So far the main work on it has been the addition of new quotes. Like Chinatown Fortune Cookie mentioned above, this app is also packed with data for the quotes and this update will add even more to an already astounding list. In July I plan on continuing work on this update by adding more quotes and adding a Spanish language feature which will display all the quotes & settings in Spanish. Then after finishing the motivational quotes app update I’ll hopefully get close to completing the piggy bank app update. Until next time ∞

March Mobile App Development Report

8 Apr
2016

App progress in March mostly consisted of work on a big update for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard. The main feature of this update is the addition of 32 countries in the Anthems section which means 32 more flags & national anthems. With the Euro 2016 & Copa America 2016 tournaments approaching I wanted to make sure this app had all those teams in it. So I compared the list of current countries in the app with the countries participating in those tournaments and added the ones missing to a new list to be added. With the added countries the total came to 50 something but instead of stopping there I eventually thought it would be neat to double the complete total to 64. It also looked better design wise to just have two full pages of 32 teams. So I ended up going in reverse a bit to get the total up to 64 because I had already started the process of gathering flags & anthems. To achieve this new total goal I started adding other countries like Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico & etc. Some of the countries didn’t have highly renowned soccer/football teams but I’m sure those countries still have tons of fans.

Throughout March I worked with new flags by making flag buttons and mostly full screen flags that looked good on tablet & phone screens. The full screen flags part took a bit extra attention since it involved some trial and error on height and width adjustments. I wanted to make sure the flags appeared as full as possible without cutting out too much on smaller screens. I adjusted flag sizes in Pixelmator and added a 3D button effect to the smaller ones in Inkscape for the Anthems selection page. I also worked on the Anthems page text and layout by adding the new countries while rearranging the previous countries since I wanted to make the finished interface in alphabetical order. Then after finishing the flags I went around and gathered national anthems for all of the countries. Throughout the process of working on flags and anthems I went back into the code within the app and added the new anthems and flags for the corresponding countries.

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Adding a 3D button effect to smaller flags in Inkscape.

Also one night a few days before Easter I started working on a Word Owl Easter edition game. I mainly just figured out the new main colors and edited all letter blocks with those new colors. I knew there would be no way to finish the app on time for Easter but I just felt like working on it for a bit. I didn’t decide to make an Easter version until kind of last minute in relation to the holiday approaching, but I’ll finish it sometime this year and wait to release next year about a month before Easter. 

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Working on new letter block colors in Pixelmator.

Well that’s it for now. Only a few more minutes in this day so I’m going to hurry and post this while it’s still the 8th because……..8-Bit Avrin! Until next time ∞

December Mobile App Progress Report

8 Jan
2015
  • Put together the Happy Holidays App Bundle for iPad that’s available on the Apple App Store. Like I’ve said before, I really like the ability to put together discounted bundles on the Apple App Store, and I’ll continue to embrace it when it makes sense. I wish the other app stores would give developers & publishers the ability to put together bundles as well.

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  • Finished Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard and released it on the Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble app stores. It’s a really neat novelty soundboard app that can be used for any kind of celebration when you feel like playing various sounds on your phone. This app has a lot of different high quality sounds which include; horns, bells, fireworks, crowds, party noises, dubstep sounds, and other great effects. I enjoyed designing this app and working on sounds in GarageBand for it. I like my soundboard apps to have a sleek minimalistic design that focuses mainly on the buttons so that’s what I went with for this one as well. I wanted to make a trailer for it, but I was incredibly busy in December outside of app development. I still might put one together sometime in the near future, but for now here’s a quick Vine video of it in action……..

  • Worked on the educational numbers game that I mentioned back in the November Mobile App Progress Report. If I weren’t so busy outside of app development right now this one would be closer to being finished, but I still have a good bit of work to do on it before it’s complete. This is the main app I’ll be working on in January when I have time. I ended up changing the art style, but I still maintained some of the minimal blocky look it had before. I’ll tweet out a screenshot of it sometime in the near future before release. Really excited to release this app, but I want to make sure it has more modes than I initially made for it so progress must continue on it.

  • Worked on the Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard 1.1 update for the Apple App Store. The update was submitted in December, but it didn’t go live until January. I forgot to fix a minor issue in it so I’ll be releasing another update for it soon. It still works great like normal, but there’s a minor graphical issue with one of the backgrounds. The newer update will also be on the other app stores that this app is available on, and it will include the improvements from the previous update.

That was it for December. I’m actually surprised I was able to get that much work done considering everything else that was going on with me in December. I’ll be writing a 2014 overview/wrap up post soon like I’ve done before for previous years. This one will probably be short because I’ve got a lot of actual app development work I need to do in January and not much time to do it. 2014 was the first year that I wrote a “progress report” for each month, and I plan on continuing to do that in 2015. I like writing these posts to go over with myself what I’ve worked, to organize future development thoughts in my mind, and I like to give anybody who’s interested a little insight on my app development. Back to work. Happy New Year! Until next time ∞

8-Bit Avrin Apps 2013 Overview

18 Jan
2014

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2013 was a year of great forward progress for my old and new apps. Some of my older apps received updates that improved their performance, and some of them received updates that added content and/or features. In 2013 I also went from being in three app stores to being in five by expanding into the Windows and Barnes & Noble app stores. My app development time in 2013 was all over the place. Porting apps to new app stores, updating apps with improvements, and developing new apps that were released in 2013. Definitely a busy and successful year.

2013 wasn’t by any means perfect though. I had a few set backs in development, and some of my apps didn’t perform as well as I thought they should. Marketing is still the hardest aspect to grasp in the mobile apps business for me. I still plan on concentrating mainly on the app itself though because if the app isn’t great it doesn’t matter much if the marketing is good. However, I did release some of my best apps ever in 2013, and some of them performed very well on some of the app stores. I’m very pleased with most of my new apps and the outcome of 2013 overall. I’m learning from mistakes I made as well as learning & thriving on the positive leaps and bounds I made. My development and design skills are continuing to improve greatly and they’ve shown through the apps I released in 2013 on the inside and outside.

Amazon and Apple continue to be the best outlets for my apps. However, things started off fairly bright on Windows and Barnes & Noble was definitely a nice addition for my apps. Below I’ll list the top 5 countries where I received the most downloads and my top 5 apps that were downloaded the most. As usual I won’t be posting any specific numbers because I don’t do that. I’m not rich though so don’t get that idea.

Top 5 Counties That Downloaded My Apps:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Germany

My Overall Top 5 Downloaded Apps:

  1. Jumbo Egg Hunt
  2. Jumbo Egg Hunt 2
  3. Professor Piggy Bank
  4. Raven’s Hidden Hollows
  5. Ultra Retro Game Soundboard

I’m planning & working on some great things for 2014 and beyond when time permits, and I can’t wait to share more info on them. I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has downloaded any of my apps, and another big THANK YOU to the people in my life that have been supportive. I develop apps for you random people out there and because I have a bunch of ideas that pop in my head that I need to eventually get out. Have fun!

2012 Overview: https://8bitavrin.com/2013/01/05/my-top-downloads-in-2012-etc/

New Release: Ultra Retro Game Soundboard

4 May
2013

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Relive the sound of games from the 80’s & 90’s with the Ultra Retro Game Soundboard. Part of the reason why some retro games are great is the audio. Each bleep and bloop helped immerse the player in the game and some of those sounds stick with players for years. This soundboard app will help remind retro gamers of how some retro games sounded. If you’re new to retro gaming, this app will help welcome you to it. 

Ultra Retro Game Soundboard has 10 sound effect categories. Each of those categories has 12 or 24 different sound effects and all of them can be played in 3 different pitches. In total, this app has over 500 sound effects! 

The sound effect categories are; Coin Pickup, Enemy, Explosion, Game Over, Hurt/Low Health, Item Pickup, Jump, Power-Up, Shoot/Fire, Start Game 

Prepare yourself for some awesome 8-Bit & 16-Bit bleeps,blips, bloops, and more with the Ultra Retro Game Soundboard! 

• Classic Retro Game Sound Effects 
• Ten Main Sound Categories 
• Each Category Has 12 or 24 Different Sounds 
• Three High Retro Quality Pitch Modes 
• Over 500 Total Sound Effects Included
• 8 Difference Backgrounds

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(*new screenshots from updated versions after the initial 1.0 release)

and also……..

May the fourth be with you