The results are in… I’m going to Seattle for PAX Prime! The PAX10 site has now been officially updated, and I’m one of the winners in this years showcase. Of the other selections, I’m personally really happy that Fez, Jamestown, Snapshot and Splatters (formerly Confetti Carnival) are there. Those are all really great games, made by great people, and anyone who is also going to the show should definitely check them out!
It’s fitting that the PAX10 is the 10th competition I’ve been successful in. I have now entered 10 competitions around the world and have been a finalist or winner in every single one of them. More than anything, this is an amazing accomplishment for me personally.
Back in 2009, I was just some dude who made a game, looking at other successful independent developers and wondering how they were any different to me. Some were older, some had long industry backgrounds, some had more resources than me, but I couldn’t really work out how any of that stuff actually mattered, based on what they had created. All I could realistically see was people who had worked really hard at creating something amazing, who didn’t stop putting themselves out there and trying to aim higher. If I was realistic with myself, and created something that used the experience and resources that I had, I felt like I should have been able to accomplish similar things.
In 2008, I saw The Unfinished Swan for the first time, as a finalist in Sense of Wonder Night, an event held at the Tokyo Game Show to showcase new and interesting games (sidenote: submissions close tomorrow! Go enter!). It was similar to other concepts I was exploring at the time (I was also doing 3D silhouette work, though for vastly different reasons). So in 2009 when the submissions were opened again, I wrote a note on a little piece of paper that said “SENSE OF WONDER NIGHT” and stuck it to my monitor, so that I was looking at it every single day for 3 months.
I worked non-stop during those 3 months, because I had never traveled before and always wanted to go to Japan. I really felt like I had a chance, and worked to the point of making myself physically sick, but ended up being contacted as a finalist. This notification came 5 days before the submissions for Make Something Unreal closed – another competition that I had seen several years earlier when Round 2 was being run. So I entered that as well, expecting nothing. I ended up being one of the Grand Prize Winners. I also entered another competition in Australia, and ended up winning Best Game.
From there, I set out on a mission to enter every single competition that I could, because the price of entry seemed so low compared to the potential value that you would get if you were selected for any of them. My logic was that even if you were selected for just one competition, it instantly made the submissions to any of them worthwhile. As a result of that logic, I would have spent around $600 on entries to competitions so far, and would have received somewhere in the order of $30,000 – $50,000 worth of value out of being selected as finalist / winner in them, all of which was poured straight back into making the game better for the next submission.
I was entering all of these competitions because I treat everything like a game, and I want to win. Sales is the final competition, and everything else is testing the waters for that, telling me where I had to adjust and correct things. For people who play my game upon its eventual release, this all means that they’ll be getting something of very high quality, with the stamp of approval from a wide audience of judges, players, designers and friends.
With regards to yesterdays rename announcement, being selected for the PAX10 also solidified my confidence in renaming the game. Renaming is a pretty huge thing to do, it was very stressful trying to find the “right” name, and you could never be too sure about whether you were making the right choice. But ultimately, I believe that it was the right thing to do, and I’m determined to make it work. This just helps enormously!
And yes… you will find me in my pink suit once again. See you there!