Black-Owned Game ‘Growing Up Black Memes’ Lands Deal With Target
A new Black-owned gaming company has its latest game, Growing Up Black Memes, exclusively sold at all Target stores. The Black game of memes, created by Michael McGriff and Arielle Cooper, is quickly becoming a family favorite and perfect for adults and older teens to play this year.
Growing Up Black Memes allows players to “relive the wildest moments on social media and out-meme their friends” by matching random cultural sayings with hilarious, well-known meme photos. With two years of Black social interaction behind us, now is the perfect time to line up this slap-your-knee-funny game for Friday nights and upcoming get-togethers.
How Growing Up Black Memes Came to Be
McGriff has been doing real estate for 12 years and has always considered himself an entrepreneur. Co-founder Cooper is an insurance underwriter. The idea of creating unique games for the culture came from the pandemic. McGriff has always been creative; coming up with new ideas and playing around with Photoshop for this new project was a treat for him. “I got to really utilize all of my design skills and my mind to come up with a lot of different designs and concepts for it.”
Dreamed up during the pandemic, their ultimate goal was to create a game for a time when connections were at an all-time low but deeply desired. The initial process involved them coming up with all of the words for the game on a spreadsheet. The next part was a bit more challenging – getting permission for every single meme photo used. McGriff personally reached out to everyone he has a meme of. Then came creating the physical game itself.
“[There were] a lot of moving pieces, a lot of fees, a lot of expenses, but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. Especially when people get Out of Bounds or Growing Up Black Memes and you see their videos. When you get those good reviews, it’s all worth it.”
McGriff started off thinking he’d only be making a couple hundred games. However, his faith began building as he began diving deeper into its creation. “It went from an order of a couple hundred to putting in an initial order of 10,000 for a truckload of games” He shared that once all of those games arrived, he was staring at a garage full of pallets and thought, “OK, what now?” He started running ads on social media, which allowed him to begin building momentum. Then, Jaime Steger Wolanski of Upside Agency contacted McGriff, who assisted the founders in getting into Target.
The Black Parker Brothers? Possibly.
McGriff and Cooper’s company Simpli Gaming is just getting started, and they have goals beyond Growing Up Black Memes and their must-have Out of Bounds Game (affectionately known as “The Black Taboo”). McGriff shared that the plan is to eventually have an entire section in Target with multiple games for the Black community and other minorities. “When we see it and play it, it resonates and brings back memories of our childhood,” he shared.
“Within five years’ time, I could see our company Simpli Gaming having a stronghold in the gaming industry. Having a section in more than one store. The goal is to not only be in Target, but to be in Walmart, Kohl’s. Just really being able to find these games in multiple areas. To be very accessible, where we can be in every household.” They want their games to be the go-to games for the Black community.
Growing Up Black Memes can be found at all Target stores, online, and on Target’s app. Their Out of Bounds game can be found at outofboundsgame.net or Amazon. You can follow and learn more about the games on their Instagram page @outofboundsgame.