City Runner Advergame

City Runner is an advergaming project commissioned by Manchester City Football Club. The game is intended to provide content for City’s brand new “Junior Cityzens” subscription website for fans aged 6-16. City Runner is the first of a series of games designed as simple fun games that can be played on a computer or touchscreen. The game was developed in HTML5 using a highly collaborative and innovative production process, which has helped achieve a quality product with a high level of performance across every device.

City Runner Screen Shots


This project could not have been realized at all without the extensive collaboration. The entire thumbfood lean business model is based on collaboration with different freelancers and companies working on different aspects of the game simultaneously. Working together goes both ways and every member of the group has learned something about the other disciplines and how we can work together to be more efficient and more creative.

In fact one of the key objectives of this project was to act as a proof of concept for use of a collaborative business model in the gaming industry, whereby freelancers and specialist companies could be brought together in flexible teams as and when needed.  From the company point of view, it means that thumbfood can be very lean and responsive, reacting to weather the ups and downs of the business.

thumbfood also took the game to the “Northwest Playtesters” meet-up group,  held fortnightly at MadLab. By involving the local gaming community in the development stages, thumbfood was really able to tap into the mindset of their target audience and gain valuable feedback, which had a very positive influence on the game.

City Runner Advergame is a collaboration between:


Everyone involved with this project has learned from the others and become a better developer. Each subsequent game we have worked on has become more efficient to produce and allowed us to make further great work. The project embodies the Northern Soho philosophy that by working together we all become stronger. Collaboration is an exchange of ideas and experience – to quote Isaac Newton, by learning from others we are “standing on the shoulders of giants”.


The “City Runner” game is 100% made in the North, well 100% made in Manchester to be exact! The game was commissioned by a Manchester client (MCFC) with a global reach and has been played by people all over the world. This means that local talent has reached far beyond the geographical confines of the region to appear on a global stage. The team at thumbfood and our collaborators have creatively led the project from start to finish and produced a great game that the client and we are proud of. There is a buzz around the game emanating from MCFC as they communicate it to their global audience and we are already talking to other football clubs and clients about future projects.