Throw a Tomato at the President? A Ridiculous Statement Spawns an App

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A grassroots movement – that never got off the ground – was the inspiration for TomatOrama, a simple, entertaining game designed by the Wisconsin-based developer Wiggly Pickle Inc.

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A screen grab from TomatOrama White House edition.

"Pop culture, politics, the media and sports make great targets. The refs who botched the call in the Green Bay vs. Seattle game? Throw a tomato at 'em!"

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Andy Warhol had Edie Sedgwick. Bansky had Kate Moss. Lemony Snicket had Beatrice. Lisa Deppe has her husband, Tom.

Deppe is a partner in Wiggly Pickle, the Wisconsin-based app developer of TomatOrama, a mash-up of Paper Toss, tiddlywinks and The Onion.

“During the last presidential election, Tom thought the sky was falling,” Deppe says of her husband. “But one day he came home smiling, because he knew what he was going to do to get past it – start a grassroots movement.”

“I was thrilled; ready to help,” says Deppe. “Tom was thinking about how to move through his anger and channel it into something productive, a real avenue to show our kids that it’s important to take a stand. Waiting to hear his idea, I was like a kid about to be told how Santa makes it around the globe in a single night. Imagine a balloon filled with air, ready to rise up, and then I hear, ‘I want to throw a tomato at the president.’ Now imagine all of the air coming out of the balloon. Immediately.”

“That was his big idea. The grass roots movement that would heal him and our country. Ugh,” Deppe says.

But Tom shared his idea of unleashing a tomato-rama on the president and many people liked it. He even shared it with the Secret Service, which brought the movement to an abrupt end. Throwing anything at the president is a felony. Thus, a game was born.

“I didn’t sleep the night the idea came to me,” Deppe says. “I storyboarded the framework of the game. I wanted something fun, short and challenging. A game that wasn’t mean spirited, just a silly way to let out some frustration and be entertained at the same time. We spend far too much time complaining and talking about what’s bothering us or what’s wrong with our jobs, our life, our country. How about channeling it into something silly? Throw a tomato at a target. Get it out and move along with the rest of your day.”

“And, why just TomatOrama the president? Pop culture, politics, the media and sports offer new targets all the time. What about those refs in the botched touchdown that cost the Packers the Seattle game? Throw a tomato at ‘em! My partner Nicole Huppert and I can turn around the components of the game in about eight hours, so we can respond quickly to events that deserve tomatoes. We will use humor and satire to poke fun at both sides of an issue.”

TomatOrama lets players throw a tomato at a moving target. When you miss, you get the target’s snarky taunt. Levels increase in difficulty and a timer keeps track of play. When all 12 levels are completed, players can try to best their time and also earn the right to submit the name of someone or something they’d like to throw a tomato at. Suggestions will be considered for future games. Hints about future editions – and their targets – can be found at

“Tom is going to get his wish. He will be able to throw a tomato at the president and not go to jail or pay a fine, and our kids will see something cool and productive coming from this nut ball idea,” says Deppe.

TomatOrama White House edition is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play for 99¢.

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Lisa Deppe
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