I’ve always wanted to make a game one day. Have I ever mentioned that? I’m sure I have. If not, I just did. Even though development tools are more accessible than ever, I’ve always been scared away by the various horror stories regarding the emotional and financial toll it can take on you. The idea of spending a year of my life on a project that ultimately goes nowhere doesn’t sound like something I really want to do, eithet.
Well, do again. It’s been a very meta week for me.
I learned about Game Dev Tycoon the same way most did, being told of its clever anti-piracy feature that causes illegitimate versions the game to reach a fail state via the player’s game being pirated too much. Ironically, this probably lead to them selling a lot more, and I’d like to think less due to fear of a non-functioning copy and more because cleverness like that deserves reward. The part that seems to be less focused on is the sincerity that you’re immediately met with upon starting the game. More than once I was thanked by the game for buying it and supporting the creators. I even got an achievement for it. Something about that spoke to me, sharing that appreciation for anyone that bothers to consume the thing I choose to create.
And create I did, starting my indie dev career in my basement, hoping to hit it big with the PC shooter “Space Dude”. It was a modest hit, allowing me enough to fund the text-based RPG “Sword Dude”. Soon enough, Great Game Games (my company) was a household name… in like… a dozen households. But they appreciated my gusto and almost supernatural ability to predict gaming trends, hedging my bets on the in-universe NES equivalent and shunning the Master System. My console debuts, racer “Speed Dude” and basketball sim “Swish Dude” were, dare I say, underrated by critics that perhaps didn’t understand my vision. It was fine, I had no shortage of ideas, taking the occasional contract job before I prepared to unleash edutainment “Spelling Dude” on the world.
As it turns out, people weren’t exactly pushing each other over in the store to buy that one.
It was around this time that the handheld not-Game Boy was announced. Though I hadn’t yet researched puzzle games and thus could not Tetris my way to success, I decided that it was time to get more mileage out of my well-established IPs, making my handheld debut with “Sword Dude 2: Return of Sword Dude”.
It made five million dollars in sales.
Finally, I was able to leave my basement, hire some help, but that’s when things started to get overwhelming, when the weight of success became something I was unsure I’d be able to handle. I began questioning the future of Great Game Games and whether or not I’d ever have a hit like that again. Should I become the thing I hate the absolute most, saturating the market with endless Sword Dude sequels in a quest to recapture that magic, or should I take a risk on a new idea? Doris was great with level design but didn’t offer any advice one way or another.
I eventually realized that marketing was a necessary evil and that I’d need the help of a publisher if I ever wanted to expand further. Sadly, the only available job was from EA, who wanted a game about Government for some reason.
So look for “Senate Dude” this summer. It’s an idle game. Well, in the sense that you don’t actually do anything.