The Story of Gold Miner, Part Two

In the Story of Gold Miner, Part One we covered what Gold Miner was and where it came from, but what became of this once runaway success? One of the creators of this internet sensation, Malcolm Michaels continues its story. “The biggest problem we had when Gold Miner hit was the hundreds of websites that would take the game and put it on their own site. We tried to site-lock but that didn’t stop people from decompiling the code and using on their own websites. I don’t like to think about how much time we spent trying to prevent theft; eventually we just embraced and made it available for everyone.”

With such popularity why didn’t you make a sequel? “We wanted to create a sequel, but instead we launched Gold Miner: Special Edition in the fall of 2004,” Malcolm replied.  Did the special edition do as well?  Malcolm nods before answering, “Eventually the Special Edition replaced the original Gold Miner download, selling around 500 units per day.” He continued, “other portals wanted the Special Edition, so we quickly found distribution on large portals like AOL, GameHouse. and Scandinavian Games.” What kind of revenue did Gold Miner: Special Edition download generate? “It was well over six-figures on a monthly basis at it’s peak,” concludes Malcolm.

In 2005 the Gold Miner franchise finally got a true sequel, Gold Miner: Vegas but whatever success this game may have found was overshadowed.  On July 18th 2005 Intermix Media was acquired by NewsCorp and as GameRival.com was part of Intermix they became properties under the Fox Interactive Media brand.  In 2006 Fox Interactive sold off all gaming assets to Demand Media and at this point Malcolm Michaels left to create Jenkat Media.  “I did try and buy the rights to Gold Miner when I started Jenkat but they weren’t for sale,” said Malcolm.  In the end, the Gold Miner intellectual property and brand was sold off to another buyer back in 2007, yet as of 2015 this Internet sensation seems to have been abandoned.

goldminer-splash

 

The Story of Gold Miner, Part One

In May 2003 a small game called Gold Miner was created that became an internet sensation, resulting in tens of millions of game plays each month for two years. To this day the Gold Miner franchise has accumulated over one billion plays, not including the hundreds of times the game mechanics and character style have been ripped off by developers across releases on the web,  iTunes, and Google Play stores.  Now, as the creators of Gold Miner return to the industry; Malcolm Michaels and Dan Glover, the creators reveal all.

“Gold Miner was an exclusive game for GameRival.com,” opens Malcolm.  “The site was only a year old but was thriving thanks to hits like Michael Jackson Baby Drop, War on Terror, Speed and HangStan.”  Malcolm continued, “I was the Game Director at GameRival.com; I was responsible for the website and its content.”  Clearly Malcolm has an attraction to the humorous.  In 2002 GameRival.com acquired 12 Flash game licences from Dan Glover, the programmer and artist who Malcolm would go on to work with to create Gold Miner.

“I lived in California and grew up thinking about the Californian Gold Rush,” said Dan.  “Who would honestly come to California with nothing but a shovel and strike it rich?  The Gold Miner” laughed Dan.  “Our three main influences were arcade games, Froggy, Nintendo Arm Wrestling and Bust a Move,” he continued.  Malcolm quickly adds, “In the original, the user needed to press the left and right arrow buttons to pull the catch up, but when we play tested – we knew it was too much work.  So we got rid and – as they say – the rest was history.”

Neither believed Gold Miner would become such an internet sensation, when asked Dan replied, “It was just a very small game with very simple graphics.  I am still surprised that it is the first thing that comes up in Google images when you search for gold miner. If you want to see pictures of what the real gold miners looked like you are out of luck.”  With Google clearly remembering the runaway success of Gold Miner eleven years on, we wonder whatever happened to this hit.

Next month: Part Two in the Story of Gold Miner

The Original Gold Miner Created by Glover/Michaels