This week I released another game on Pico-8. It’s called BuzzKill and is essentially Space Invaders with killer bees. I know, sounds kind of silly but hey…so is space invaders.
It’s my third game released on Pico-8 and certainly the one I like the most and am most proud of. It’s fun, it’s challenging and it looks like I wanted it to. I’m more than happy to point at it and go, “look what I made.”
I used Twitter to share progress of BuzzKill and I certainly saw returns on that effort. BuzzKill has gotten a good reception after only a couple days and hopefully it will continue to get some response but before BuzzKill was even done, I got a surprise reaction to a previous game of mine.
I wrote about Mass360 before talking about how the Pico-8 Game Jam got me to learn and have fun doing it, but the game itself I was just sorta ho-hum about. I mean, it was a rushed game and kind of happened organically rather than with any sort of ultimate plan or goal…but I was reminded recently that those games are worth talking about it even if you, the maker, doesn’t think so.
Mass360 went out into the world and I left it at that. I was happy it was finished and got played by some people. But then I found the game had gotten some attention, specifically from the Pico Chat podcast and even the Next Thing Co. blog (the folks that make the PocketCHIP).
I was honestly shocked. Out of all the games that were submitted to that game jam, mine was mentioned as a top stand out. That’s pretty awesome…awesome enough to make me go back and update Mass360 to be a little more polished.
The lesson I got of that was really a reminder of something I know and say all the time but seemingly rarely do myself – and that’s to just put it out there!
I don’t know why I find it so difficult to just get something “done” and put it out into the world. I want to constantly tweak it until it’s perfect, which is impossible. And, of course, if I do “just release it,” then I’m not that jazzed about it and think it’s crap, thinking that everyone else will think the same. Clearly that isn’t the case.
Another story with the same lesson is my second Pico-8 game, Bunyan’s Rage. It was a side-scrolling shooter that I made to learn some new techniques and get better at drawing sprites. It’s an okay game. I got bored with it after a while so I finished it in a rush and it shows but that didn’t stop a bunch of co-workers from trying it, liking it and turning it into an at-work tournament. Again…who would’ve guessed? Not me, that’s for sure.
You just never know what will catch on, so just throw it out there and find out. The thing you love the most might not get attention, and the stuff you think is crap might catch on…as they say in pro wrestling, it doesn’t matter what they like or hate, so long as they’re talking about it.
And especially when it comes to Pico-8, it’s so easy to make something and get it in front of people, you’re guaranteed to get a response – good, bad or otherwise – and you can act on it immediately. It’s now pretty addicting, gotta say.