Lost in Gamification

「 ロスト・イン・ゲーミフィケーション」

Worldwide Release Wrapup

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(photo by Marlon Wiebe)

Presenting and releasing Influent at GDC was quite an experience. I’ve never been so overwhelmed in my entire life. Somehow, the whole thing went off without a hitch and it turned out to be a huge success! The master builds were successfully distributed to the folks at Steam, Humble, and Playism, which resulted in a beautiful release trifecta.

Fortunately, my good friend and now official Web Guru, Anthony “Sp0oky” Prusakowski was there to help me out at the booth. Definitely could not have pulled it off without him! Anthony was responsible for Influent’s official website and is now a big part of Influent’s online presence. When he’s not traversing ravines on ESO or battling with his cat, you might spot him deep in the Steam Forums or bouncing around on Twitch. His help during GDC was nothing short of heroic!

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(photo by Marlon Wiebe)

Thousands of passerbys stopped to try Influent on the GDC Play floor, all of them offering nothing but praise and encouragement for a successful release. It was great to see so many positive reactions to the game and I could start to feel it growing. This was especially true when a few Kickstarter backers showed up and I got to meet some of the faces that believed in Influent from the start. : )

More than anything else, GDC gave me a different perspective on the show as a whole. This time I had a very real job to do. I needed to generate interest in my game. I needed to get the media’s attention. I needed to get the word out! Influent is here and you should care!!!

It’s not easy to be a salesman. I’ve had to do it before when I worked retail. But this time, I had a product that I’d poured my heart into for the past 3 years. I knew everything about it and this was my shot to show people why it rocks. I quickly got into a groove and by the 2nd day, Influent’s big release day, I had worked my pitch down into a nice 30 second bundle.

I also excelled at reconnaissance, scouting nearby corridors for precious golden media badges and inviting them to try out the game. It’s a challenge because most journalists are extremely busy at events like GDC, so it’s hard to approach them without getting in their way. But I did my best to give them an exit and while some of them took it and bailed, most of them at least heard what I had to say and took a sticker home with them. A select few, however, actually sat down and played the game!

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(photo by Marlon Wiebe)

It’s a nerve-racking experience, watching a games journalist play your game. Imagining what they might write about it is pretty damn scary. I would wince each time they fumbled with the controls or the concepts weren’t entirely clear to them. But I wanted them to play it and I want them to review it. I want to hear their honest opinion about Influent and whatever it is, it’s exactly what I need to hear.

But before the reviews come out (if they ever do), let me be the first to tell you that Influent could be so much more. You could say that it falls short of people’s expectations for the game, and I imagine a lot of reviewers will think so. But I feel Influent is still awesome as is and succeeds at being both fun and productive where most edutainment titles don’t. I am fully aware that there is an amazing amount of potential for Influent. This is not the end of the road, not by a long shot.

I want Influent to grow into something epic. Something that will change the way we look at learning as a whole. Maybe even someday, I’ll be up on stage at the IGF accepting award after award and running out of speeches, just like Lucas Pope. Well deserved, good sir. “Papers, Please” is well beyond measure.

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Until next year…

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