‘Useless’? The First Review for My First Solo Game

Earlier this year, I lost my job. I pursued my dream to enter the AAA game industry, and maybe, like Icarus, I’d flown a bit too close to the sun. Flying to Salt Lake, to Australia, and back again was a life-changing experience with a painful ending. Despite the rough landing, I was grateful for the experience, including seeing inside four major studios. I was also grateful to learn that even the biggest games in the world are made by ordinary people, like me. So, with Jenilee’s help (love you!) , I dusted myself off and set out on a new dream – to build my own game.

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I worked every spare minute, of every single day to bring my dream to life. After 13 weeks, 2600 lines of stories, and 11,000 lines of code, I’d invented my first Chicken Soup Game – a combination of addicting fun and heart-warming stories from our Make-A-Wish life. Two weeks later, Tap Happy was released to the world!

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Except, of course, the world was not waiting around for Tap Happy. With 100s of new products every day, Tap Happy got 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 little afraid. Inside my game were some of the most intimate stories about my marriage, being a father, and my failures. The stories made it unique, and yet, also made me vulnerable. I feared they might think my game was dumb, that my stories made me weak, or worse, that no one would care.

Today, I got my first review:

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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 … ‘useless’. Pretty much as bad as it could 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 own 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, and experienced 15 weeks of joyful work with the love of my life. Which is, after all, the essence of Tap Happy.

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1 comments
Christy Winstead
Christy Winstead

Hello. This is Christy. The Christy with the 8 year old son (10 years old now) with two older "complicated" brothers. I wanted to respond to this post about "Tap Happy" After the first app we watched together, "Gratitude", we have kept up with your other apps. I just wanted to let you know we loved "Tap Happy"! Of course, I think the fun really was multiplied when we did it together! Two people around the iPad tapping on it like crazy. I'm sure if anyone saw us and didn't know what we were doing, they probably did think we were crazy! Anyway, we really enjoy it. Your apps help us more than you know. Thanks again!