I'm Zoe and I make games and a bunch of other stuff. Some of it's ok I guess. Check out my work or follow me on twitter if you like.
Has the harassment slowed down or gotten better with time and depression quest getting successfully greenlit?

I’ve been awake for about an hour and in checking my messages been called a feminazi, accused of somehow using depressed people to further some unnamed goals (because I clearly cannot be a depression sufferer myself), had a bunch of generic hateful messages calling me a liar about ever receiving hateful messages (lol), been given pretty violent porn with my face pasted onto the girl’s face, and someone linked me to a 4chan thread about how much of a monster I am that I’m not going to click on because I’ve already read it probably. Oh, and a groupon. That’s everything so far this morning. This is actually the question in my ask box sitting directly above yours while I answer this though:


This is a little higher than an average day but not by much. I just don’t talk about the specifics of it on any given day. Even during the worst of it I only posted 2 caps because I didn’t see the point then in signal boosting people’s filth. 2 screenshots was enough - but that doesn’t mean that’s all there was by far. Saving and holding onto all these would be a waste of time and tiring and I’d basically be a librarian that has a library full of books that just barf and piss and shit as soon as you open them and I don’t know why I’d bother.

I’ve been calling this day-to-day, uncreative, low-level type of shit that’s going on constantly “bullshit background radiation”. It’s always around and I’m so acclimated to it at this point that I barely even notice it.

Though someone did make this pretty enormous sweet quinnspiracy theory imgur thing about me and it’s just so out there I can only be amused: http://imgur.com/a/ApqGM 

I will think of some way to spin most of these into jokes later with friends. I fully believe humor is the best thing we have in terms of dealing with surreally shitty situations.

I do get a lot of supportive messages too though. I think that’s really important to add. It helps, and I love those people to death and just need to figure out how to find the time to send them really long thank you letters. Any one of the women I talked to this weekend at PAX that thanked me for not giving up and for talking about my experiences basically wipes away any of these jerks in my mind. Even if the bullshit they spew sucks in the short term, I mostly forget about it - but one person telling me I helped them… I remember that forever and keep it really close to my heart.

But yeah. This is still happening constantly but fuck the police. I know that it’s gonna kick up again when I put DQ on Steam finally, and when my panel with Patrick Klepek goes live too, but I think of it this way. Since there’s a lot of major problems in games and society in large right now that I’m doing my best to kick against, being effective in any capacity is going to really piss people off who are invested in things being the way they currently are. Hopefully this being pissed-off-ness leads to them maybe experiencing some kind of doubt or self reflection or otherwise challenging their own current notions of how things are and how things should be. Discomfort can be the start of something better. I hope they’re productively pissed off and can maybe get past whatever it is that’s making them lash out at others.

I’m just aiming for pissing off the right people.

"Are you afraid that loudly walking off GAME_JAM has messed up your career?"

Of course I worry about that a little, but I made peace with it before I loudly told everyone I was out.

I figure if I get sued, that’s the worst case scenario. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do if they legally come at me, cause it’s not like I really have anything to take in the first place. My bank account has less than a hundred bucks in it, good luck getting 400k or however much they decide I owe. I’m hoping they realize that in suing me for supposedly making them look bad, they’d make themselves look even worse, but who knows. We’ll see, I guess. What’s done is done and I’m not going to stress out about it when I can go and make this awesome FMV game I’m working on and Rebel Jam instead.

I know that I may have potentially made myself look like a loose cannon (god please let someone ask me for my badge and gun someday) to other people who could potentially want to work with me. Honestly? I feel like anyone who would take issue with my leaving under those constraints is probably not someone I’d wanna work with anyway. Either they lack the critical thinking to see what kind of situation I was in and realize it was shitty, or they don’t think that the situation was shitty enough to leave. If they think the situation wasn’t worth leaving over, that probably means that we’re not gonna mesh and they’re absolutely right to not hire me. If my desire to not participate in egregious drama, product placement, sexism, or misrepresentation of my craft to a mainstream audience is a problem for you, yeah. Maybe don’t work with me. Maybe don’t work with anyone, while you’re at it. 

Before I bailed, I had a long talk with Davey and Robin and the other devs I was close with. I accepted the potential consequences a while ago, and I won’t be complaining if they do happen. That’s kind of the risk you take when you do something kinda big and scary - although I’m worried about the fallout, I still had to do what I did. Any of the messages I’ve gotten about people feeling like they can and should stand up since we walked out have been worth potentially getting into what I knew I would potentially be getting into.

In short: fuck the police.

Ground Zero

This is a more fluffy, personal bloggy type thing I wrote this the day after we walked off set of GAME_JAM, two days before today when we posted our articles.

For more context, see Jared’s coverage, Adriel’s thoughts, Robin’s thoughts, and My thoughts.


I like to do this thing sometimes with other gamespeople when we’re doing something games adjacent and things get really surreal - I just say “because videogames”. Acknowledging that I’ve ended up in extreme situations due to what a lot of people consider a silly pastime for children fulfills my love and respect of exactly how absurd the universe is. Get fanmail that thanks me for someone turning their life around while I’m drinking sake in a hot tub in downtown San Francisco? Wow. Videogames, man. Receive a photoshopped image of a map of every place I’ve ever lived carved in blood in the back of my current partner with a link to an mp3 file attached? Holy shit. Videogames. Stuck in the middle of the desert on a train with no power at 4am, lit up by the glow of dozens of laptops and christmas lights? V-i-d-e-o-g-a-m-e-s.

This is one of those moments on crack.

In this moment, I am sitting in a messy apartment in LA. I’m physically, mentally, and creatively destroyed after one of the most batshit experiences of my life, which I am legally bound to not talk about. I’m watching the only journalist who was there, who saw everything, pace back and forth in his messy apartment, retelling the story on the phone. He wasn’t expecting me over - I had to escape a bad situation several days before I had anticipated to leave, and he’s an old friend so we’re weathering the gathering storm together. We refer to this place as our bunker from the wrath of a major company, and we stand on the precipice of something major.

I’ve been involved in a big enough games scandal before, the twitter-issue-of-the-day, the kind that blows up everyone in games’ feed for about 2 days and is quickly forgotten about thereafter. I didn’t see it coming then - I lost my cool and ranted about online harassment candidly and next thing you know it I’m seeing friends of friends talk about me on facebook and have since gained a permanent twitch response to people using my full name like I’m a google search word instead of a person.

It’s different this time. We know it’s coming, even if we’re not sure exactly what “it” is. There’s a deadline and between myself and him we can see most of the moving pieces. At least most of the ones we think are there, who ever really knows. It keeps escalating. We know this is going to be big. It’s already big.

It’s strange being in this space with him. I can’t say anything but I can watch him do his work and get insights from what’s happening on the other end of things. We get emails saying things like “MAJORBRAND is on the warpath.” and “Three more people got fired”. I’m right now covering him covering us. Partly just because I can’t speak for myself without summoning multimillion dollar lawsuits into my life and I need to say SOMETHING. But it just keeps seeming to get bigger and bigger like a tidal wave approaching shore, and I’m staring up at the massive tsunami with a resigned look on my face because it’s gone so far off the charts in terms of size and weirdness that I can’t even process it.

Because videogames.

“It feels like every time we go to sleep this week it’s like ‘ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF DRAGON BALL Z” he says, and I giggle through my failing voice because it’s oh god so true.

The next morning we wake up to his phone ringing from some very, very nervous higher-ups. He paces in the kitchen while I tell an old friend that there’s a nonzero chance that I get sued for close to one billion dollars soon. I also tell him that I’m so happy to be surrounded with people willing to risk so much in the pursuit of doing what we feel is the right thing. I’m so inspired by the other woman who is standing up and telling her story, by my normally pixie-like friend who has used the phrase “waves of blood” in an email earlier and aggressively pursuing speaking out when I contractually can’t, by my journalist friend not pulling a single punch when his fists are aimed at the people who pay for the apartment we’re hiding out in.

This feels like the calm before the story. I don’t know what the day after tomorrow is going to bring. I don’t know what the next few months of my life are going to look like, or any of us for that matter. I’m not sure anything like this, at this scale, has ever happened in games before. He’s resigned to losing his job, I’m worried I’ll end up getting sued back to the stone age by  what are likely some of the most powerful lawyers in the world when I already am destitute. But I don’t regret what I did. I don’t regret any of this. I’m normally so anxious, but I have this weird calm about the subject. I know that standing up for myself, my friends, and my medium was the right thing to do and I wouldn’t change any single bit of it. Maybe even if they do fire him and come after us it’ll get some good conversations going about how to keep this from happening in the future, or what doing the right thing in this medium is, or even just draw attention to the fact that indie exists and is wonderful who knows. And I’m ok with that. And so is he. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because we care about this medium we find ourselves in, and the people who work in it.

Because videogames.


Unreality: My Takeaways After Being On and Subsequently Walking Off a Reality Show About Game Jams.

I can’t talk about what actually happened to me over the last week, at least not in the ways that I feel like I need to. I’m contractually obligated, bound, blood-sworn, and gagged on the actual events during filming of what turned out to be a reality show. Thankfully not everyone is (REQUIRED reading: Jared’s coverage, Adriel’s take, and Robin’s take), but it’s hard to have gone through something so surreal and emotionally difficult and be forced to stay quiet. About as difficult as smiling dead-eyed at a camera with a soft drink in your hand (label facing outwards, of course) when everything in you is screaming “this is wrong, run away”. However, I can talk about some thoughts and feelings that are swirling around in my head after all this, and what I’ve taken away from the most abnormal of experiences.

On Reality:

The idea of the uncanny valley has become a sort of buzzword lately, not just because the effect itself is interesting but it actually speaks to a common enough human experience. I think this holds true for reality tv shows as well as realdolls. It’s like playing on expert mode when your stated purpose is to capture this thing of beauty that you care deeply about honestly, because fiction is more forgiving. When you’re creating a story out of nothingness, nobody knows if you didn’t get the vision exactly right because they don’t have the cheat sheet in your head of what it was supposed to look like, they only have their own experience with it. It doesn’t exist in the wild in the way that nonfiction does. I know this was one of my own anxieties in creating Depression Quest - trying to get it exactly right carried higher stakes because there are multitudes of people who experience this broad subject in very different ways, and not only do you have to try and distill enough of it down to find some kind of kernel of truth, you have to make it relatable and worthwhile for other people to bother engaging with in addition to trying to be respectful of others’ experiences on the subject.

The format of reality tv shows feels a lot like you’re a fish in the following analogy. Someone goes out to the ocean with the intent of catching a fish they really love and want to observe, and putting them into a fishbowl. This fishbowl not only is incredibly cramped compared to the ocean you’re used to, but it’s got plastic day-glo green seaweed in place of the dark green foliage, neon rainbow sand where you’re used to living coral reefs, and some tiny castle with a weird dude in it that you can’t even really make sense of but the person who caught you thinks it looks really cool and ties the whole thing together because they’re used to seeing tiny castles in fishtanks.

Then, this person who caught you never changes the water and taps on the glass every five minutes.

The fish starts to forget what the ocean was like. It acclimates to it’s new world and changes accordingly. It learns to eat multicolored food flakes regardless of how unnatural it is.

Then, the person observes the aquarium and takes the fish’s reaction to this extreme environment and publishes a paper on their first hand truthful experience with this species of fish and a lot of people probably think that fish is kind of an asshole when really they’re just stressed out from eating weird flakes and not being able to swim or see their friends and having some weirdo stare at them through the glass and demand that they re-do that real moment of emotion because it wasn’t quite believable enough when it was actually happening and-

This metaphor derailed quickly. My apologies.

Anyway, my point is this: the tragedy of it is that in the pursuit of portraying truth, you end up making a caricature that creeps you out and is not only obvious unbelievable, but repulsive. Repulsive in the same ways that the not-quite-right face of a porcelain doll is.

On Representation:

It’s a weird time for games, and it can be easy to lose sight of that when you’re working in the industry. When I step outside of those spheres and meet people from the other artistic communities I run in, they often have no idea indie gaming is even a thing. It’s becoming more common which is thrilling, and it’s wonderful to see some of the efforts that are being done to bring gaming from a more niche place and into the spotlight that it really honestly deserves. It’s a time where when you have a big platform to represent the medium or industry or community or whatever, you can actually impact what direction these things go in in the next few years.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve been home for a total of 10 hours this month. I’ve taken every speaking gig offered to me because I’ve read so much on how having someone who looks like you being visible in places you’d like to be in someday can do really powerful stuff for traditionally marginalized groups. A lot of these panels and places I’ve been going, if I had said no there wouldn’t be any women present at all, much less an openly queer one. I’m tired and sick and stressed but really happy that I can do this thing that I care about and maybe, hopefully, help someone else feel more welcome or able to do this thing that I care about so much.

This also means that I take representation of indie gaming very seriously, especially when it’s facing toward groups that have never been exposed to it before. First impressions are incredibly important - they can set the tone of how a person thinks about a subject, and how they think they should behave toward it. With things like indie games, this can include things like “who is welcome here”, “what are acceptable ways to talk to each other”, “is game development something I’d be capable of doing someday like these people are”, and so on. All of these are extremely important subjects to me, and constantly in the back of my head whenever I do anything in public related to indie games.

I personally would like to be a positive ambassador. The messages I want to leave are ones of invitation, acceptance (of yourself and each other), and encouragement. I want the people who come in after me to help mold the indie community towards more and more inclusivity and support, where differences are accepted and welcomed and viewed as a breath of fresh air to this medium that we all work ourselves so intensely in. I want the tone to continue to improve and be this beautiful thing that I know it can be.

This also means that I explicitly can’t be a part of anything that sends the opposite message, or one that I feel doesn’t represent the beautiful things that are already happening in this sphere. Misrepresenting this lovely thing that I’ve been lucky enough to fall into, struggle through, and find my place within would break my heart. There are enough parts of “gamer culture” that are the opposite of this, or would shout over these things I love, and I have no desire to contribute to that.

On Rebellion:

I’ve been working on being better at standing up for myself and others these last 2 years. My first impulse has always been to put other people ahead of myself in all things, and it used to stay silent and suck it up even when extreme things would happen to me. Even if I know they’re wrong deep down, I have this stupid instinct to believe other people know better than I do. Forcing myself to stand up has usually involved some degree of tricking myself into action by thinking of how others could be impacted. And yeah, I know how stupid that is, but we all have our personal shit to work through and this is just one of mine.

Only recently have I started to develop actual confidence. I’m starting to transition from demanding basic respect even when my insecurities tell me I don’t deserve it to actually starting to believe that I deserve to be treated fairly. It’s a new thing and that probably sounds weird to you, dear reader, but I’m writing this for myself as much as I am writing it in the hopes that maybe someone will get something out of it too if they’re similarly afflicted.

Regardless, standing up and saying you’re not going to treated poorly anymore is terrifying. There have been times in the past where I’ve tried, and no one has stood with me. I don’t blame them for the same reasons I try to forgive myself when I didn’t have the energy to do it myself. I never expect anyone to take up any fight just because I have.

But holy shit, when they do it’s amazing. When they do it concurrently alongside me of their own accord, it’s mindblowing. It fills me with so much hope that I see people I know and respect and admire who are willing to speak up for others. I am filled with such hope for this industry after talking to so many people who want to make things better. People who more importantly, when the cards are down, will try and do the right thing. This, more than most things, convinces me that fighting the good fight isn’t futile at all. This makes me feel like I’m not alone.

I’m honored to be alongside people like Robin Arnott, Adriel Wallick, Davey Wreden, and so many more. Honored and inspired beyond words.

On Recovery:

My approach to making art is one I’m still learning, and one of the hardest parts of it has been learning how to take care of myself and this creative place inside me that I pull my art out of, kicking and screaming. Game development in particular feels like racing my own creative burnout, and learning how to most effectively flip over that particular hourglass to delay it running out of sand for just a little while longer.

One of the things I’m still trying to figure out is how and when to walk away. Since staying awake for the full 60 hours of Train Jam to rebuild my game 3 times, I’m starting to think that maybe I need to get better about my workaholic tendencies. Many other developers have said a bunch of things about this, sometimes directly to me, sometimes yelled directly AT me (I can think of at least 3 people that probably read that last sentence and made an audible noise of frustration at the “maybe I should fix this” part), but it’s a really hard thing to internalize. I’m starting to wonder if it’s even something you CAN internalize without fucking up first. It’s hard to know the depth and shape of your limits without pushing them and exploring them.

I live life as an exploration. I wish I could see and do and experience everything. I throw myself into weird situations wholeheartedly and feet first, even when told they probably will suck, just because I want that first hand feeling. I want to lift the fog of war on my little minimap and know what it’s like, to actually touch it instead of just reading about it. I think that it makes me a better artist than I would be if I didn’t.

But! I’m starting to learn that sometimes I need to back off. Sometimes I need to NOT do one thing so that I can continue doing other things that matter more to me. For example, if trying to make a small game is feeling so wrong that even trying to come back to it is killing my desire to make anything at all, I need to run the other way. Since creating work I believe in is one of the most important things to me, it’s the one I need to guard most fiercely. Very little is worth jeopardizing it to me, even before my livelihood was directly hooked into it.

It can be a fragile balance, too. I’m one of those insufferable artsy stereotypes whose drive to create can feel capricious. I used to think this was a terrible thing to get over and invested a lot of time in trying to fight my own nature, but a while ago I changed directions entirely. I’ve learned to manage that impulse by doing a lot of things in different media and in tiny scope. It lets me switch gears and change perspectives at the pace I need without fighting myself every step of the way, and I honestly think at this point I’ve turned it into an advantage instead of something I’ve been ashamed of. Or at least I hope I have.

All navelgaze aside, I think I am at that point where I need to step away and protect my drive to create. It’s a lot like when you get into a fight with someone you really love and you both are just spinning your wheels unproductively instead of actually working toward a resolution, and hurt feelings are piling up on both sides. It’s best to step back before damage is done that can’t be healed, and I’m at that point with games. I think I am going to take the next month and make a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with games. I’ll still work on my two major projects because a girl’s gotta pay bills, but other than that I need to do a bit of exploration and healing.

I also want to explicitly consume a shitload of other media that is entirely unrelated to games too. In the past I’ve found that has a hugely positive impact on my work and often more importantly, my approach to creating it. I’ve also been traveling around and embedded in games-focused events for the greater part of a solid month now, and I need to make sure I’m not stagnating. I want to continue to devour the world with my brain instead of just eating my own dog food, and this is the best way I know how right now.

On Rebirth:

When everything goes horribly wrong, I feel like I end up with a unique opportunity to look inward (when I’ve gotten to a safe distance away and made sure I’m ok first, of course). If I can, I try to dismantle it and use every single part of the experience to either better myself or help someone else. Even if it’s just learning how you react when the cards are down and you’re in crisis, that’s an interesting and important thing to know about yourself. It’s just as useful to know exactly what you DON’T want as much as it is to know what you DO want.

There was this amazing thing that happened after the production was over. Without any organization or prompting, we acquired and shared some refreshments around, set up some multiplayer games, invited production staff to just come be people and play with us, and had a spontaneous pop up party more or less. It was the first time I had started to feel like myself at all since landing in LA. I started to remember what life felt like off-set again, and it reminded me of what I love about game jams and the indie community in general. It felt like such a complete contrast to the 24 hours that preceded it, and a thought clicked into my head.

My most tangible takeaway is probably this: I want to run a game jam. Not now, but after pax east and after I’ve recharged a bit. I’d like to find charismatic Let’s Play people, a couple of video cameras, a huge + cheap rentable house, and a group of indies. I’d love to have the LPers do what they’re so often so brilliant at and bridge the gap between the games and the audience, and do it super low-tech, low-budget, documentary style. Capture the inspiration, the hard work, the 3am delirium and the dumb jokes that come with it. Show people how we all band together and support each other through the deadline. That’s what I want to show the world about game jams. That’s the ambassador I’d rather be.

And that’d be the perfect analog for the way a lot of people end up in indie, right? You reject the big production with a lot of money that doesn’t fit you, that makes you feel like you don’t have a voice and aren’t creating what you’d like to, to flipping all the tables and walking away, banding together with other people who feel similarly, and doing your own thing the way YOU want to.

In this way, this game jam might have been the most “indie” thing I’ve seen.

My last 48 hours of working in games

  • had an impromptu design meeting with my partner while I was both drunk and really sleep deprived and basically said “no I hate this idea” a lot to something. I re-read it this morning and then this interaction happens and I know I’ve chosen the right person to work with/generally be around: 
  • I sent an email to a co-collaborator asking “Can we just not use memes in our slides I would like it if we didn’t have memes in our slides”
  • I got a meeting with a major publisher an hour after deciding I wanted one. Much fist pumping and feeling like a competent badass ensues. 
  • I was feeling too much like a badass so I looked at my code on a game from a month ago and the feeling quickly subsided.
  • I ate a grit. I deeply regret this decision. I also dropped my phone in an airport in Tennessee and a man in a cowboy hat picked it up and said “here y’go, lil lady” and I just about lost my shit. The fact that these things happened because of videogames is a source of endless hilarity to me.
  • I proposed running a curated art space and cool jam based off of bright LEDs and hacker shit and I think it might be happening and OH GOD I HOPE IT HAPPENS it would be so cool you guys  aaaaaaaa
  • I revived a dead project about dads fighting each other and hopefully it makes money because not starving would be rad. I had previously worked on this game and completely forgotten about it, and it’s weird that happened because it’s such a good idea and a lot of people are now excited about it.
  • I helped push toward getting another gamesperson’s medical bills taken care of after he got royally and unsurprisingly fucked by insurance. Everyone that was in the room with me at the time donated, and between that and how people helped me when i got robbed at gunpoint gives me so much faith and hope and pride in this community. I love how often and thoroughly we take care of our own sometimes.
  • I helped one game developer work on officiating another game developer’s wedding. I love all these people, and it’s insane to think that I didn’t know any of them existed 3 years ago. 
  • I have apparently become someone who communicates primarily through run on sentences.

I love my job you guys. I love who I do my job alongside. I am so fucking lucky.

Now back to writing my talk on how to bring more people into the fold :)

tidbytes was cool as hell and I'm glad you did it no matter how it turned out (it was cool)

the nice thing about iteration is that I’m basically stealing everything that was cool about tidbytes and tweaking it so that the work is better as a whole and I can spend the (still small) proper amount of time on ideas that they deserve.

also thank you :> it was really feeling like no one knew what it was or really saw it at all.

So all that really changes is that instead of mediocre games with rare gems coming out 2x a month, better stuff will come out slightly less frequently, It’s Not Okay Cupid will come out sooner, and everything will be in one place so people don’t go “oh hey where’s that ferengi chrome extension I can’t find it” or “where are these games you keep making” anymore. 

Tidbytes is dead, long live tidbytes

Good news first: www.beesgo.biz has relaunched! I’m now consolidating all of my creative output into a single place so no one has to be confused or go hunting for it. Apparently that was happening. Plus, I am embracing the fact that I am a creative weirdo who makes all kinds of things, and I figure that’s probably one of the reasons y’all follow me in the first place.


Tidbytes, now defunct was an experiment in appropriating the webcomic format for interactive games. I was releasing a new tiny game every 2 weeks, embedded in-browser, keeping to around 5 minutes of gameplay. There’s always been a lot of weird, absurd, or funny things I want to make that doesn’t necessarily fit what most people think of as a ‘game’. These ideas work better as short one-offs. I don’t think the world needs a 40 hour long version of Jeff Goldblum Staring Contest, but I could be wrong. Maybe that’s exactly what the world needs.

Anyway, I shut it down on March 1st of 2014 because it had clearly failed, but I’m still really happy I tried it. It was a hard decision to make, but one that really made sense when I thought about it. Since I like lists, here’s a list version of what worked and what didn’t.

What worked:
I got way better at rapid prototyping. This may not sound like something super useful, but I’m still new at this whole game design thing and it’s vastly increased the speed at which I can get something playable. I really like jamming, and it’s a great asset to be able to suck less at it.
I made two games I really liked. Clone and Busey are two little games I really like showing people. They’re both so weird and watching people react to them is really enjoyable.
I got better at scope. This is kind of true with every kind of game jam though, since working in the constraints always pushes you to be more conscious of how to actually finish something.
I finished a lot of things. Finishing things is it’s own skill in and of itself, and beyond that it just feels GOOD to be able to push something out into the world and see people interact with it. Having that feeling so often was pretty great.
Experimentation is rad. It was a different format than I’d seen before, and it was fun to play with that. Even little things like custom .css files for holiday themed games that I released around christmas was a fun little thing to mess with.

What didn’t:
Nothing had enough polish. Sure, they’d be “finished” but there were too many times that when I hit the big red “FUCK IT;SHIP IT” button I felt uneasy and full of regret. Beyond that, there’s only sound in ONE of the games and sound is such a huge part of making any good game.
I made a bunch of games I didn’t want to show anyone. Yeah, I know, finishing something in and of itself is pretty cool and there’s only so much one can expect from a game that’s so tiny, BUT I hit this point where I didn’t want people to see what I had done. There’s also that saying that you’re as good as the weakest piece in your portfolio, and in this case that was pretty weak.
I didn’t get to explore anything too deeply. Which is really unfortunate because there was a thing or two that I wanted to do that wouldn’t have been too much more effort, that would have made the game way better. But since there was that self-imposed 2 week deadline, a lot of stuff slid and the work was weaker for it.
My main project was suffering. Tidbytes was supposed to be a side project while I work on my big deal thing that will hopefully eventually make me (and more importantly, the rest of the people on my team) money. I kept having to stop work on it because the demands of the time limit were strict and more clearly defined than the longterm game.
No one knew what the hell it was. Despite talking about it and promoting it quite a bit, no one seemed to have any idea of what was actually going on, that it existed in the first place, or why it was cool.
Separating it from my main “identity” made it way less visible.</b> I feel like splitting all the things up into segregated categories of things ended up backfiring instead of being good for organization purposes. Turns out the entire audience of tidbytes was exactly my existing audience, and it really made no sense to make it a completely different site or identity.

The takeaway:
I think this really helped me redefine my priorities and figure out my “voice” quite a great deal. I’m now set on quality over quantity, but I am still a compulsive creator and have sort of outgrown the need for an arbitrary time limit to force me into sticking to making things. This way, I can release a thing I actually like around once a month, focus on making my main project that much better, and be proud of what I’m putting out into the world. I still love the format of short comedy games and I’m gonna keep making them till my eyes bleed, but I feel like I’ve gotten enough perspective to realize I could optimize myself and my work in a direction that will result in better games all around. Why stay on a ship if you know it’s sinking? All in all, I think it was a good exercise. Everything is a process of figuring out who we are, no? Games are iteration as much as game developers themselves are.