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2:00 AM on 01.22.2014

Indie Dev Adventures: Marketing

Having your own indie game company is amazing right?  Well, yes and no.  Mostly yes, though.  With a shoestring budget (if any at all), you don't have the funds to spend on a marketer/social media person, so you have to pick up the slack where you can.  Which brings me to sucks (but extremely necessary).

I'm Mike Moreno and one of the cofounders of Bearded Man Studios.  We started up with some self funding, motivation, and a dream.  The team at the time started working on our first game, Word Lab, a 3D puzzle word game which we released to Android/iOS and recently Windows Phone 8.  We had a marketing guy on the team at that time and we really didn't have any marketing in place other than a write up in a Philippine blog at release.  Needless to say, WL didn't get much attention and friends and family were the biggest advertisers for us.  While I can't say I wasn't bummed it didn't do better, if we had a marketing strategy in place and got the word out, more people would have played.  And honestly, it just felt awesome to see/hear people enjoying it.  I even got to get the sound design from a fellow Dtoider Naia-the-gamer.


Now, our second game, Warp 5 Overdrive, an infinite space retro shooter is pretty close to being done and I have taken over most of the marketing/social media stuff on top of programming/iOS testing.  I am working on a teaser trailer, made some pretty fun flyers to send out as a press kit, even built a screen printing press to make shirts to get our name/logo out there.  Holy crap y'all, marketing is a full time job.  I semi-enjoy it but at the same time it's pulling me away from programming or testing or coming up with ways to make the game more fun.  One of the more awesome ideas for marketing (and a personal dream) was building the W5O arcade machine that I used at my school's portfolio show to show off my games.


Hopefully the effort and time spent on marketing for Warp 5 Overdrive will be worth it and be more of a success than Word Lab.  It also has some cool jams by this guy.   read

8:43 PM on 03.27.2013

Breaking my GDC cherry

So my first time at GDC has been exciting, anxiety causing, and emotionally overwhelming (I can be a bit dramatic at times...we'll get back to that). I've already met some amazing people (and reintroduced to Dale North and Jayson Napolitano) and hope to continue to meet even more. There have already been times that I have lost my way around the show floor trying to find another Dtoider (Naia-the-gamer). She graciously accompanied me around so I wasn't alone.

The emotionally overwhelming part of being here is that the slap-in-the-face moment came and I realized that I'm a PART of this industry. I've always felt that when I made the choice to go to school for game programming that my main goal was to bring enjoyment to others via games that I created/helped create. I can remember being younger and playing my games, since there were not so good kids to hang around with, and my NES was basically my best friend. My best friend also helped bring me together with my family, and that was especially awesome because it gave me time with them that we probably wouldn't have had. One of the last memories of my grandpa before his health began to fail, was he and I playing Wii Sports Bowling. That was the first time I was able to play a game with him because playing with a controller was too complicated. So yeah, that's the emotional part.

Being a Dtoid community member has brought some special people into my life and given me inspiration to go after my dream. Thanks, Destructoid, and all of you guys and gals that make up the community. Y'all are awesome, and I hope soon you'll be able to get some enjoyment from our games.

And if y'all wanna check us out, we are   read

1:29 AM on 06.23.2010

E3 2010 in pics

Here are a few pictures I was able to snap at E3.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Breakdance Fighting

From the outside

From the inside

Killzone Helghast

Obligatory Nintendo 3DS pic

Welcome to New Vegas indeed

I cannot wait to play the full game

Sonic giving his fighting stance

Splatterhouse in all it's gory

Super cute mini Square Enix figures

Method Man and Red Man causin' havok at the Konami area. (at least I think that's who it was!)

Link slideshow inside of the Zelda Skyward Sword area

Julio rockin some augmented reality 3DS action

Ben showing off his moves (and awesome shirt) to Konami's DanceMasters

These people are experiencing Sony 3D action

This was super cool, a giant robot that opened up. You could go in from behind (hehe) and when the chest opened up you look like you were sitting in it.

Those are just a few pictures of a bunch I took. Feel free to browse the rest of the bunch:   read

1:29 PM on 06.18.2010

Gentlemanly Flying Monkey

But what the hell does that mean? Well, it's actually what I summoned in Super Scribblenauts to make a witch get out of a line in front of a video game store (btw that didn't work)! The rules were that you couldn't cut the line or harm an innocent. Besides that damn witch, the other people in line were a: delivery man, rocker, soldier, bodybuilder, and barbarian. I was able to breeze by all but the barbarian and witch. The barbarian didn't take the sword (regular and flaming), shield, nor the ferret. He did take the polka dotted horse though!

The control with the stylus was a bit better than the first game, although I did keep accidentally cutting line when I was trying to remove items that weren't making the characters get out of line. The ability to switch to the D-pad for movement made me super happy, because using the stylus to move used to frustrate me!

I asked the demo rep what the new features were in the game, and she told me that the character count was increased, more nouns and adjectives were added, and you can add the word "pregnant" to say the word, "zombie", and at some point the zombie would give birth. So I gave it a try and put the words "pregnant zombie" in the notebook, and not too long after the zombie was chasing me, did it stop, drop a little zombie out, and both chased me. It was awesome.

I figured out how to get everyone out of the way except the witch. I tried a wand, magic wand, warlock, good witch, black cat, and none of that worked (that I could tell). I got frustrated because I kept accidentally cutting the line, so I decided to check out some other games before E3 closed. The rep told me that the wand should have worked, and that there may have been a bug. Hopefully that bug gets worked out!

I enjoyed playing the first Scribblenauts and while it had some issues from making it a great game, the developers seemed to have honed in and worked on fixing them. Now with all the new possibilities added to Super Scribblenauts, there could be a veritable cornucopia of ways to best the puzzles that are thrown at you.   read

8:33 PM on 06.17.2010

Lego Harry Pottin'

I was lucky enough to spend about a half hour with LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 earlier today at E3 and I had a blast (er an Expelliarmus!). I've been a fan of both the movies and books, so I was super excited With the help of a booth babe, I played through the end of the 1st year and through a bit of the beginning of year 2. The booth babe also informed me that we were playing a retail copy, and if we wanted could play all the way through the game! Sadly, I had to make time for Super Scribblenauts and had to leave, even though I could have played the entire game. Here are my impressions.

First of all, the graphics are colorful, crisp, and everything you would expect from LEGO title. I played through the PS3 version and the game ran beautifully. The visual staples of the Harry Potter world were intact: the characters, special items, and places. Harry's scar, Dudley's pudgey belly, The Weasley's red hair, Professor Quirrell, Hagrid and his beard, and a almost cute Voldemort were all present in their LEGO glory. I saw the living chess game, the flying key room, the Dursley's house, Hogwards, and Knockturn Alley. One of the funniest parts of what I played was when Harry floo powdered into Knockturn Alley and was being curious (oh you'll see what I mean).

Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are the playable characters and you could have a friend playing along side you while the computer controlled the 3rd character. You can switch your spells from Wingardium Leviosa to levitate things and people, to a vine killing spell (I don't recall what the name of this one is). Aside from those, Harry could don his trusty cloak of invisibility (I never had to use it), and Ron can call his rat Scabbers (which I also didn't use). In keeping with the story, Harry is the only one that could fly a broom (well).

When I picked up the controller, we were in the room with the attacking vines. Next we had to figure out how to grab that pesky flying key. After that we somehow cleared the living chess room, where Ron of course ends up staying behind. Finally, Hermoine and Harry take on a possessed Professor Quirrell in a room full of flames and fiery pits. Since I hadn't played too much of the game before, it took some time to figure out how to defeat Quirrell. Voldemort makes a guest appearance and the game concludes after some more story, leading to the second year.

Just like the movies, you start out at the Dursley's in the introductory movie, and afterwards you pop into the outside of the Weasley's. This is the area to get you accustomed to the spells and whatnot, flipping carrots that turn into rockets and spinning gnomes into basketball hoops (seriously). After playing around inside of the house, you floo powder to Knockturn Alley and have a little fun figuring out puzzles with Hagrid. The puzzles that were in the second game's beginning took some thinking and paying attention to detail in order to conquer them. After you work your way through the alley, you cutscene to Hogwarts, and that is where my time with this game ended.

As a fan, I would totally tell y'all to get this game. It was a fun take on the Harry Potter franchise, and I enjoyed travelling back into that world. The multiplayer aspect was fun, and if the other person leaves, you can drop them out and let the computer take over. I also liked the expressions of the characters and how the games have a sense of humor about them, usually without saying any words. All in all, I can't wait for this game, and lucky for me (and you!) it releases June 29th!


4:40 PM on 08.27.2008

Zelda of Christmas Past

The Legend of Zelda has a special meaning to me. It's not because of the gameplay elements, amazing characters, or ability to attack chickens (although that one is sweet!). Travel back with me will you?

Back in '88, December 18th to be exact, I was a young tike of 9 years of age, and REALLY DESPERATELY wanted the golden game that contained such awesomeness, at any price...

My aunt and grandpa went to the Galleria (in Houston, this was the biggest mall) and I decided to tag along. They went shopping and I gravitated straight to the K-B toy store. I told my family that I would just wait there for them, and wandered around the immensely stocked eisles, and then out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. The box was golden, there was a shield and a sword on it, and I needed to have it.

I thought and thought of a way for me to get it. I had no money, but grandpa did...He wouldn't buy it....Maybe aunt Josie....she probably wouldn't either. AH-HA! I will tell grandpa that aunt Josie would pay him back for it because she is going to get that for me for xmas (even though she had no idea that she was). I grabbed him, convinced him, and procured a new adventure in my hands. By the time grandpa found out, it was too late, and I was at his house with the box opened, reading the manual, and studying the map of Hyrule.

Then the phone rang.

My mom was on the other line, she sounded wierd. When she finally was able to make semi complete sentences, she told me that there was an accident, and Bobby (fiance to her sis/my aunt) had fallen from a ladder at his warehouse job and he didn't make it...

Being an only child, video games were like my best friend. It wasn't often that I had someone to play sports with or anything that. Bobby was 18, and he would take me to my t-ball games, and play Nintendo with me, and things like that.

...I hung up after she was done, and was still kinda excited about Zelda, but didn't really understand what was going on.

As reality set in, I found myself thinking that the accident was my fault. Lying and plotting out ways to get what I want backfired and this accident was because of that. I felt guilty, sad, and angry, and since we couldn't return the opened game, vowed to play and beat any Zelda game that came out and dedicate that to Bobby.

That is why the Zelda series is special to me.   read

8:34 PM on 05.05.2008

NARP'n Hollywood Style Pt.2 (Pics)

Here are some additional pics from the EPIC NARP:

Luna joined in the festivities

Shameless self plug

Hamza thinks that Polo Guy is a Lik-m-stick

The Weakest Link

Juan's packing (in more than one way!)

My face is redder than yours!

Damn Hollywood muggers

Dtoid gurlz gone wild

Too Hot for TV Chad/Hamza

All the photos from the NARP:

I can't wait for the next one!   read

2:30 PM on 05.05.2008

NARP'n Hollywood Style Pt.1 (Pics)

Since this was my first NARP experience, I packed up my satchel and traveled the vast distance of 4 blocks to the domain of the Duke of Dolphins, Chad. There I took many photos, and these are some of them.

Also, I had a freakin sweet time!

The Spread

The Theme

Luna knows that debauchery will soon follow

Drinking and games

Chad practices the "Big Cheese" stance while showing off his dolphin shirt

Rock Band'in

Hamza takes it like a man from Amanda

Pologuy shows his guns while holding a gun

Check Chad's face

The happy couple

No Perler Dolphins were harmed during this shoot

More to come!   read

1:19 PM on 04.26.2008

Veterans Denied Wiis From Nintendo

While searching for articles related to a speech on video game benefits, I came across an article on LexisNexis database. This article was in The Washington Times, Feb. 11th 2008. The title was the attention getter for me: Veteran's Homes Seek Wii's. The article was a letter sent to the Sgt. Shaft section asking for assistance in acquiring two Wii's per American veteran's homes from Kenneth A. Fulmer, president of the Armed Forces Veterans Homes Foundation.

Since the AFVHF provides about 55% of the Department of Veteran's Affairs long-term care need, Fulmer wanted to start an initiative to "bring an advance in technology to our homes for the benefit of veterans therapy and rehabilitation." He goes on to write, "There are important benefits being derived by patients in long-term care from Nintendo's new video-game console, Wii. Paul and I think highly of Wii, so we asked our home administrators nationwide what they thought. Our administrators confirmed that Nintendo Wii indeed contributes significantly to veterans' quality of care and the quality of life." Fulmer and Paul Morin (superintendent of the veterans home in Holyoke, Mass.) wrote a proposal to Nintendo of North America asking for donations, but Nintendo "flat out refused to help."

Because I am a veteran from the Army, this upset me a bit. Not only because Nintendo's lack of help, but also the unrealistic budgets that the VA's provide for these types of veteran's homes.

I looked up Sgt. Shaft on Google to find out if there was any change in situation and was directed to BAVF (Blinded Americans Veterans Foundation). Nintendo responded to the previous letter from Fulmer, and it follows:
Dear Mr. Fulmer:
I am writing to you on behalf of Nintendo of America in response to the recent letter you wrote to Sgt. Shaft. We are very sorry to hear about the difficulty you have been having in securing Wii systems for your program and regret that in your first attempt to reach Nintendo you were denied your request. We would like to formally look into your request to not only find out why you were originally denied and to determine if we can indeed help you in your search.

We fully support our troops and veterans and do what we can to help with their needs. We also know about the hard work of doctors, therapists and senior home leaders that incorporate Wii into their programs and want to continue to support them in their efforts.

Please contact me to discuss your request in more detail. Thank you for your interest in Nintendo and your invaluable support of our country's veterans. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Conor Campbell
Nintendo of America

Hopefully, by one means or another, these veterans homes will acquire Wii's. I know that if I eventually end up in one of these homes, I would be able to get my rehab gaming on.   read

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