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07/30/2001 - WhiteRunkle Works Web Wonders

WhiteRunkle Associates (WRA) interactive division has quietly become one of Spokane’s largest Web developers. Founded in 1980, WRA has grown into Spokane’s largest advertising agency, but is known locally for their creative advertising campaigns, rather than their software savvy. WRA has clients around the world, including Spokane Transit Authority, Silverwood Theme Park, Spokane Chiefs, and Northern Quest Casino.

Several years ago, the need and desirability of creating art digitally and communicating with clients electronically precipitated the interactive division. Web development followed naturally, and today, based on Journal of Business criteria of employee count and sites developed, WRA interactive is one of Spokane’s largest web development groups.

Nintendo, a WRA major web client, both challenges the interactive division and provides them a lot of fun. Although the entire agency contributes, it is WRA interactive that creates the web site for each new Nintendo product and game as it is released. In order to get it right, they have to spend a certain amount of time “evaluating the product.” This means getting to play each and every game and using every new GAME BOY model before it hits the open market.

Because of the Nintendo target audience, the designers can use the very latest in web tools. There must be Flash, sound, and animation, and although the typical Nintendo user may be a bit more patient, the web pages must download in a reasonable time. All this challenges WRA Interactive, and mastering the difficulties is half the fun.

Another major WRA client is AT&T Wireless. In view of this, it is no surprise that the entire four-story WRA office building operates a wireless intranet. They send all manner of files, text and graphics, around the building without plugging into a data port. They have a state of the art system, using an 802.11b hub, with an Ethernet card in each computer. It is fast (eleven megabits per second), efficient, and secure.

Even though WRA interactive is a significant division at WRA, the company does not consider themselves to be a “high tech” business. They do use a lot of technology within the business. Many of their artists create on the computer using pressure sensitive pads for drawing and other available tools for creating art and graphics. All presentations are made electronically. They have a server farm within WRA-with a network administrator to take care of it. WRA also has web servers co-located in the USBank building. They have a branch office in Seattle and clients all over the United States that they communicate with via teleconference and the Internet, often-sending very large graphics files.

To see some of WRA interactive’s work, visit some of these web sites.

Some Mini Sites that showcase new games for Nintendo:
Perfect Dark Gameboy:
RidgeRacer 64:
Shockwave Games just for fun:
Shockwave Excitebike Game:
Shockwave Paint A Gameboy Game:

Billie Moreland
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