How the market lives through thumbs

Every product that comes to market lives and dies by the simplest of measurement, the thumbs of TL: DR.

Only 30% of you got to this paragraph but if we added a giant great big thumb up and a counter saying 1,152 next to it that percentage of “giving a sh*t” hikes to 50%. Over time that’s a significant jump.

Ironically, I’ve likely lost you again already because “stuff” flashed, beeped or popped up and it’s no doubt really (un)important to you and must take focus.

Notifications, alerts and other incoming traffic is a consumers life blood. Just like a thumbs up or down is the life blood of a product. Everything is a beat, a flow, and if you’re not rapid, you cannot keep up with the pace consumers have set. Simple.

This is where today’s marketing and products live. In a marketplace so saturated with desperate attempts at buying your attention via white hot bullsh*t that if we don’t make your life better, simpler, or entertain within 0.4 hours it’s over.

This is why Early Access on Steam is so popular. The illusion of progression and pace. A product (allegedly) on the move. It’s the same with all MVP’s as they are abbreviated. A minimum viable product that just does enough to get beyond that 0.4-hour hurdle before looping back to repeat exactly what it just did.

I can hear the cries of the crowd, “Nooooo, we don’t buy into BS” but that in itself is BS. You, like I, are manipulated so heavily by marketing and products that we act in a way that deserves sectioning.

The madness isn’t forced, it flows with consumer demands. It’s our own choosing, we want more options, quicker, cheaper and most of all simpler. We don’t want to read, review, examine or research. We just want a big thumbs up and a “buy now” button.

However, sometimes a thumbs up don’t mean good and a thumbs down don’t mean bad. It’s just opinion and like *ss holes everyone has one.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Should have made a walking simulator

Different tastes and opinions make for a more interesting life. For the most part, it’s easy to see why certain tastes and thoughts bubble up into trends but there is something which continues to boggle my noggin. Walking simulators.

It was as if the market all cried out at once and decided they loved the walking about in Skyrim, just not the NPC’s, combat, crafting, looting etc. You know, the game portion of walking around looking at the pretty scenery.

I sort of get it, walking around a lush forest environment with very well scripted VO is like TV that you can direct. I’m just not sure if it’s actually a game. “Go from A to B” and “trigger scripted event” before “moving C to D” and “triggering another scripted event”. Rinse and repeat until you wear down the rails and end credits roll.

The level of interaction is easily compared to reading a book. Holding the book is the equivalent of holding W to walk forwards. Turning a page is like left clicking on those trigger points. Yet we don’t call a book a game because you have to interact with it.

This comparison might be over the top but there is a definite minimalist approach to walking simulators. Often feeling like the developer made the world and then went “ah screw it, let’s just add some VO and release!”

Whether it’s lazy gamers unwilling to actually invest in anything more than the combo of pressing W and left click, or idle developers taking advantage of selling the illusion of games when it’s, in fact, a narrative driven experience. AKA a story, a movie, an episode.

One thing is certain, less has truly replaced more. From the time it takes to complete a game, to the mechanics and interactions entailed. The simplification to appease non-gaming media journalists and frenzied quick play crowds at conferences is beneficial to expand the market audience and to make interactive mediums more accessible.

An interactive story is fantastic, but let’s call them that and not simulators, my brain can’t cope with the contradiction.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

When I was a lad, kids use to play out and old people stayed married. What has happened to this world? Technology.

The blinking light of a notification waiting for view has all the character and personality of the modern masses. An empty glare momentarily on and then just as quickly idle of expression. It just waits for fumbling interaction resulting in irritation or gratification.

The irony here is you’re not sure if I’m talking about a person or a phone…

The mobile phone has somehow managed to turn a once vibrant world of disconnected opinion and clicks of personalities that thrived amongst like-minded individuals and warred with those not fitting their ideals into a slanging match via wifi, that also has wars.

So as that notification light blinks on and off and users do the usual grunt, shuffle and thumb slide before consuming vapid sweet nothings once reserved for landlines and in-person high-fives. The rest of the world devolves attention spans, IQ and diversity. We really have achieved maximum idiocracy.

The next step after zombies is the pain for entertainment purposes. Then again, we already have MTV and the Kardashians.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Steam, huh, yeah, What is it good for…

Absolutely nothing. Say it again, y’all.

I know that is harsh, but it’s crystal clear the uniqueness of Steam is largely smoke and mirrors.

The illusion of millions of gamers having huge libraries of games might make you believe the consumer market is strong but outside of mega sales, bundle activations and key giveaways, Steam is a graveyard of hopes drowning in a flood of desperation and panic.

Ignore what Steam says and know that you are more likely to inspire its audience with games like Genital Jousting than Death by Game Show. Shock value + simplicity = success. Don’t try to add layers of complexity or progression, don’t try to add depth or hours upon hours of content. Don’t even come to market with a finished product.

This isn’t a slight on Genital Jousting, it’s a mini-postmortem on Death by Game Show and Steam. Death by Game Show was all about what Steam said it was in September 2014 and what gamers demanded back then.

In 16 months Steam changed dramatically. We’ve all seen the flood of content it released. An insane 60% of Steam’s content has been released since July 2014. With the growing library of content, the audience no longer needed games which had hours of game time as there were hundreds of thousands of new titles at low to no cost to cover any and all voids. Gamers were spoilt for choice and like mobile gaming, spending time in any game unless immediately gratifying was pointless. So each new wave of games became more and more gimmicky to stand out and quick to please.

The same methods and ideas delivered on mobile have become commonplace in Steam games. In September 2014, the Steam community would have been in an uproar with mobile games on Steam. Now, it’s normal.

By the time Death by Game Show came out the idea of having to learn controls rather than it adhering to familiarity was a bridge too far for most reviewers. The number of times we heard “no jump?” even though the lead character is a 300lbs tub of goo is bamboozling. Running, moving the cursor and clicking was too much work and let’s not get started on attention. Too many clicks to win = overwhelming gameplay.  Although majors get away with it as gamers are more willing to invest in the more popular or mainstream titles.

So at some point between starting development and launching Death by Game Show the market swung. Steam is now a hybrid of mobile ideals and PC visuals. Indie has been fragmented between the two extremes, probably forever lost to simplification and obviousness.  Unless itch.io can once again put indie in the light.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Kickstart Death by Game Show Part Ugh

It’s been sobering and alarming how the Steam marketplace has changed since we plotted the creation and release of Death by Game Show.

The statistic revealing 70% of Steam’s current content has released since 2015 is something any and all PC developers should be noting down at this very moment.

For all developers who have released in 2015 and 2016 to find Steam a barren land, this glut of releases is possibly part of the reasoning. Especially if you didn’t reserve 50-80% of your games budget for bribes, marketing, and sexual favors.

With this brand new knowledge we’re thinking of running a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to wine and dine the gaming media, to bribe them into laughter while streaming and to subconsciously influence via blatant product placement.

It’s that or use Kickstarter to try and move Death by Game Show to console…

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Please support creativity and difference this Black Friday

As a gamer first, and a developer second, I am tired and frustrated by the overwhelming support cookie cutter games continue to get.

On a weekly basis creative games fade into oblivion because they get no coverage. The risk takers are dying off, creative roles are being lost to data scientists because of familiarity and obviousness guide design, more than ideas.

With this in mind, when looking at the amazing deals on Steam this Black Friday please consider games that are different. Death by Game Show being just one of many that were made specifically to be different to the norm.

Consider the importance of what your purchases signify to publishers and developers. Vote with your wallets and don’t just follow the status quo or influencers. Your actions do change the industry, consider the influx of simulators, survival horrors etc.

It is time gaming once again became about creativity and innovation. Thank you for reading.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Games aren’t games anymore, they are visual representations of scientific laboratories chemically tricking your brain into addiction, false social value, and self-worth. And yes, we are game developers admitting that.

Everything you see is timed and limited to a set of principles of how best to create dopamine and then cut you off before the senses nullify. It’s constant with mobile games and now, overthrowing indie and AAA with analytics showcasing the best way to extract every dime from your wallet.

Games have become manipulation, and we’re now in a rat race for who can manipulate consumers the best because a good game can’t compete with a chemically induced nirvana built for the lowest common denominator.

It sounds like a Publishers and Developers wet dream, simple games that earn money, but it is a scenario grown out of necessity rather than choice.

Users have more variety and have an infinite ability to be fickle with new experiences and ideas. Some users if they get stuck, they leave. If they die, they give up. If they have to learn-to-play rather than instantly win, they blame the game. Everything leads to a user refunding or never loading the game again – both outcomes are bad considering 80% of a budget these days is being spent on User Acquisition, paid ads or other paid coverage.

The truth is, Publishers and Developers make familiar, safe games because they want the masses to buy (or play).

So to all those gamers who are screaming out for something different, something challenging and unique – if you don’t support such titles with your wallet Publishers will never care about you and therefore games will continue being made for the lowest common denominator in the masses. And we know that is a pretty low bar.

Support the creative. Support the different. Support honesty and perhaps the games industry will once again be driven by creativity rather than quantitative values and dopamine tricks.

The Upcoming ‘Punch Kick Uhh Son Uhh Son’ Combo

Death by Game Show is heading into the final 100 meters. A sprint where we desperately try to showcase the game to as many people who give-a-sh*t before the January 22nd launch.

So how much clout does an unknown developer with an unknown IP without a publisher have? Apparently a little! However we can’t buy coverage on a BIG outlet… But we could buy reviews… Oh the irony of this industry.  

So this blog post is for websites looking for a game that’s a little off-the-wall, strange and WTF. Yet be warned Death by Game Show is a new mash-up of concepts. It’s not a game you can WIN by headbutting the keyboard. And it’s definitely not a game where you’ve seen everything within 5 minutes. So if you have Attention Deficit Disorder jog on!

With Death by Game Show you need skill, patience, reaction and awareness. A wrong move is often your last move and if you’re a big wimp don’t bother playing as no doubt something said, read or heard will upset your delicate senses.  

There, there, nevermind, did the bad man say a rude word…  

Death by Game Show, a game for gamers with cojones.  And Anna Faris – We just love her!!

Oointah Rant: The ‘God Helped Us’ Blog – GREENLIT

valveSo… something very strange happened in our quest for Steam Greenlight. We were sitting at around 75% of the way to the top 100, with a steady flow of new visitors, and BLAM! Valve, in their infinite kindness, Greenlit us.  

We got lit up! One for the Suits fans there.

So what the hell can I ask God for now? Have I become the elusive of all creatures, a happy Englishman? I do have this weird smirk / indigestion expression across my face. Is this what happiness looks like?  It’s disgusting.  

So what will this fledgling ‘Please God Help Us Blog’ become? A development blog? A channel for ranting?  Or should I write poetry about the beauty of Valve? The later perhaps…

Ah Valve, how I press thy lips against your rectal furnace with glee,
Let me reveal my scrote hammer and strike a pose of pure masculinity.
You’ve made me free from forum twerking, which makes me very happy.
So… Please Valve can we have some promotion?

Wow, I suck at poetry. Perhaps I should focus on development and rants!  Oooh, and perhaps a nicely timed post-mortem to coincide with the game’s launch. I love it when a (marketing) plan comes together…

Bon appetite and stop thinking about my scrote hammer. It’s just wrong.  

Duane Beckett is the lead designer of iLikeMoney for Oointah

Oointah Rant: The ‘Please God, Help Us’ Blog – Uniquely Oointah

By Duane Beckett

i-am-rootOn Monday iLikeMoney got an article on GamingOnLinux.com, which is fantastic. We have had some new feedback and found a little momentum with Greenlight traffic! All very good news – even if a couple of comments were critical. Yes, even criticism is good.

We know iLikeMoney isn’t for everyone. Our art style bellies the challenge, the cartoon violence is opposite to the Idiocracy-inspired crudeness, and our gameplay is WTF compared to the established. Yet, we’ve focused on making something uniquely Oointah.

On the surface we may look like a brash, colorful romp into nothingness and that’s fair – but if you look at our Let’s Play videos you’ll see a strategy to victory exists. There is a purpose to each item in our sandbox-like-challenges, and your decisions (and reactions) truly matter. Combine this with resource management, item looting, and an arcade style scoring system, and we do have the ingredients needed to bake a cake… I mean a game. Hmmmm, cake.  

I just wanted to thank those who have commented, voted and checked out the game. We’re very appreciative. Have a great day and take care!  

Duane Beckett is the lead designer of iLikeMoney for Oointah

Oh, and you want to cast a Vote for iLikeMoney on Greenlight, then here’s one of those fancy URL’s (or whatever the kids call them these days) – http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=512165319