Last Friday in Aarhus, Denmark, Nordic Game Bits participated in an Easter lunch party for game developers from the local area organized by Spilbar and Esben Kjær Ravn from Danish studio, Kong Orange.
The afternoon and evening consisted of both a rant speech by Nordic Game Bit’s very own Jesper Krogh Kristiansen, a Super Mario Bros. speedrun championship played on two Nintendo Entertainment Systems (nes), and a bunch of great food and beer to keep everyone happy.
At the event, we ran around with a microphone, asking the age-old question: What’s your most embarrassing game developer story or sin?
Quite a few of the participating game developers answered the question, and while some of the answers provided nothing more than a quick laugh, others had an actual story to tell and a lesson to be learned. The rest of this article will consist of transcribed quotes of both types.
It should be noted that some of the quotes have been edited by the author of this article in order to stay anonymous.
“I sadly had to admit during the Mario speedrun that I did not know where jump was on the controller. The rest looked at me with disappointment in their eyes and said “it is A, you idiot!”, and they were right…”
“So, we were participating in the Nordic Game Jam 2013, and we had gotten these Nexus tablets. From previous group work at school, I have been known to be a bit of a Google master, or a Google fanatic as they call me. So I thought, now that there is actually someone here from Google, I would really like to be able to take something home with me that once and for all says “I am the Google master”.
So I walked up to her and with an anxious voice said “Hey, you are the one from Google, right?”. She looked at me and confirms that I was correct. So I asked if they possibly had a t-shirt that said “Google” on it that I could take home with me? And then she just looks at me, hesitates for a second, smiles, and says “No, we don’t, but you have just gotten a tablet, haven’t you?”. The rest of my group laughed loudly, and they have made sure to mention the story for me every so often ever since.”
“The first game I made was crap, the second too, and so was the third. In fact, I believe nearly 95% of everything I touch becomes crap. Fact!”
“I was at a party at a unnamed large games conference. Maybe it was the largest games conference in the world. Maybe in San Francisco. But anyway, at day 1, I was introduced to the producer of a very large game company, maybe one of the largest in Sweden. We shake hands, say hello, and exchange names and business cards. 3 days later, at another party, I meet the same person and I can’t remember anything! I can’t recognize or remember him, but he clearly remembers my name. I keep insisting that I have never met him before and that he must be wrong. I realize the mistake the next morning in the bed. Auch! It hurts. Big mistake!”
“I hate sport games – they shouldn’t exist at all. All of those sports manager games… Ew!”
“Remember not to call a costume in your game a wife beater! We had made a costume for a game, which we decided to call a wife beater. That’s just what it is called – look it up. But there were apparently a couple of women in the US that did not agree with our decision. We quickly received 3 complaints from people who said that ‘My kid can’t play this, man.”, and “How d you expect me to explain to my kid what a wife beater is?”. So we have actually had to change the name from a wife beater to sleeveless shirt. Lesson learned.”
“I have never owned a console, and I know that I thought I was a game designer when I started out, but that’s a lie! I am probably… No, I am a bad game designer, but I would just like to say f**k every game designer who believes that the only important thing is the game itself. I puke whenever I hear about f*****k balancing. And they say “Oh, but I would like to get a few extra points for this and this in the game”. I don’t f*****g care. I wants feelings, that’s the only thing that f*****g counts!”
”As a young and enthusiastic game developer, I was going to pitch a game to Take-Two Interactive. GTA 3 had just launched or was about to be released at this point, and we were visiting their New York office with our games pitch in our hands. So we enter one of the director’s office and when we look around we see nothing but books and stacks of paper everywhere. Piles and piles of papers. The director sits in a chair in the middle, and we of course start out games pitch. My boss had really gotten me excited before the trip – now was the time to make the sale. So I stand up and start throwing around with screenshots and features and soundtracks and everything that is awesome about our game.
The director just sits there, listening, leaned back in his leather char. There’s quiet for a while, and then the director leans forward and says; you’ve got enthusiasm – that’s nice. But look around, he said. He turns around and points at the wall behind him, which is completely hidden behind walls of paper piles. These are all the people that have pitched for me in the past few months. So you might have nice sound effects and be very enthusiastic, but you have come with more than just a piece of paper and a nice sound effect, because when you walk out of here, your pitch will be put into one of these piles of paper. And take a look, what is it I notice?, he said. What stands out? But look, there’s a wooden box in the middle of all the papers, he said. Why do I pick that one?
That’s because it doesn’t look like all the other printed pieces of paper. So remember that the next time you pitch a game. I will take your pitch seriously, but the chance of me picking your game out of all of these other pieces of paper that look exactly like yours, is very small.”
”Marketing-wise and from a game development perspective, it is probably not very wise not to be present on social media at all…”
“We released a game before Christmas, and just before launch we managed to squeeze one extra update in in the very last second. The result was that we forgot to check something regarding the pay wall, which is the only place in the game that we can possible earn a revenue. So when people arrived at the pay wall, it wouldn’t accept their payment. Luckily, most people at the soft-launch had already played through the game before the update went through, but when the update arrived, we quickly started receiving weird emails from people who complained that it really sucked to have paid for a game and now not be able to play it anyway. Because the pay wall did actually accept the money, it just didn’t unlock the game. Luckily, we rather quickly realized that it was our own fault and fixed the issue. But I have released a game that people couldn’t pay for. That’s what I call a significant gaffe.