Marketing. It’s easily one of the hardest things about being an indie. Making a unique, original, fun game is one thing, but actually getting people to play it is another. Like many, we’ve started the process of establishing an online Team2Bit presence through all the standard channels (website, twitter, facebook, youtube). So you sit back and twiddle every day, but what next? I suppose that’s where you need to be a little creative. This past weekend at IndieCade we made our first pass at guerilla marketing, covertly stashing Fist Puncher trading cards strategically around conference sites (maybe “randomly” is more accurate). Maybe next we’ll make Fist Puncher cupcakes.
[Below: Kid Justice and Dr. Karate cards at IndieCade]
A few months ago I played Kung-Fu Fight on XBLIG for the first time and immediately thought, “I want to make a game like that!” I have no problem confessing to my source of inspiration – I loved the simplicity, loved the gameplay, loved the look, but most importantly I was really turned on by the idea of a continuous scrolling platformer. Now this idea isn’t new. A game like Moon Patrol is almost 30 years old and is one of the pioneers in the genre. SMB3 was famous for its continuous scrolling levels. So I began tinkering with graphics and ideas in both Flash and XNA trying to come up with the right look, theme, and gameplay. However, this past weekend’s IndieCade left me feeling a tad hesitant. After seeing talks by people like Gaijin Games and Adam Saltsman, I started worrying that perhaps there are already too many indie powerhouses in this genre (games like Canabalt and BIT.TRIP RUNNER). When is a genre played? When do you move on? I really don’t have an answer. I guess for me, I just want to make the kind of game that *I* want to make regardless of what else is out there. Anyway, T2B did some brainstorming and we have a list of ideas that could potentially put a new spin on the genre so we’ll see… Heck, if Pac-Man would have been the last of the maze games, then we’d never have seen K.C. Munchkin. Wait… that argument doesn’t sound right.
We’re back from IndieCade, and a bit of the Monday gloom is starting to sink in (like many indie devs we have day jobs). Nonetheless, I’m hoping I can feed off of the IndieCade inspiration for as long as possible. As first time attendees, the chance to just be around other people who have similar aspirations is pretty incredible. There was too much great content to mention it all, but I thought the Richard LeMarchand, Steve Swink, and Adam Saltsman talks were particularly notable. As for games, I didn’t get to play them all, but here are a few that left a lasting impression: Deepak Fights Robots, Fez, PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew, Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, The Witch (bummed that I didn’t get to meet the developer), BasketBelle (never managed to even play it but loved the visuals), The Bridge (incredible art), Skulls of the Shogun, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. Anyway, thanks to everyone who made IndieCade possible and we’ll see everyone again next year.