Earlier this year, I lost my job. I pursued my dream to enter the AAA game industry, and maybe, like Icarus, Iâ€™d flown a bit too close to the sun. Flying to Salt Lake, to Australia, and back again was a life-changing experience withÂ a painful ending.Â Despite the rough landing, I was grateful for the experience, including seeing inside four major studios. I was also grateful to learnÂ that even the biggest games in the world are made by ordinary people, like me. So, with Jenilee’s helpÂ (love you!) , I dusted myself off and set out on a new dream – to build my own game.
I workedÂ every spare minute, of every single day to bring my dream to life. AfterÂ 13 weeks, 2600 lines of stories, and 11,000 lines of code, I’d invented my first Chicken Soup Game â€“ a combination of addicting fun and heart-warming stories from our Make-A-Wish life. Two weeks later, Tap Happy was released toÂ the world!
Except, of course, the world was not waitingÂ around for Tap Happy. With 100s of new products every day, Tap Happy gotÂ lost like a grain of sand on the beach. I needed exposure and reviews, and yet, I hesitated to ask family and friends. As excited as I was, I was also a littleÂ afraid. Inside my gameÂ were some of theÂ most intimate stories about myÂ marriage, being a father, and my failures. The stories made it unique, and yet, also made me vulnerable. I feared they might thinkÂ myÂ game was dumb, that my stories made me weak, or worse,Â thatÂ no one would care.
Today, I got myÂ first review:
Useless? Useless! I cannot imagine a worse review and yet, I am also relieved. I’d traveled around the world to chase my dream job, only to end up back where I started. Now, to chase my dream of building my own game, I’d exposed my vulnerabilities to the world, only to be told my creativity was â€¦ â€˜uselessâ€™. Pretty much as bad as it couldÂ possibly get. And that means, there’s nothing else to fear.
Twice this year my biggest fears have come true. Twice this year I have survived. What’s more, I have now worked for a AAA studio on a product connected to Will Wright and I have now designed, built, and released my ownÂ game, all by myself! Like Icarus, I got singed chasing my dreams. Unlike him, I didn’t fall to my death. I overcame my fears, unlocked two lifetime achievements, andÂ experiencedÂ 15 weeks of joyful work with the love of my life. Which is, after all, the essence of Tap Happy.