Next Saturday my gorgeous Violet, our baby girl, will turn 6. I won’t be there to see how early she jumps out of bed, or whether she loves the robot unicorn I picked out for her (spoiler alert – she’s going to love it, it’s a robot unicorn!). Her big sister is full of plans to make her birthday cake. My kids spend months selecting a birthday cake. I’ve made about fifty of them, I think. Some have turned out better than others (pirate ships are really hard), but all have become a story, part of our family lore. Violet always wants a turtle cake I’m good at making turtle cakes.
But I will be half a world away talking to hundreds of people about creating empathy with game narrative. It’s a great honour, and it never ceases to amaze me that people care what I think about this stuff. After the panel I’ll rush back to my booth, part of the Indie Megabooth, no less, and I’ll spend the rest of the day telling punters and journalists about Ninja Pizza Girl, and how I’m making it with my wonderful family. People will tell me about their experiences with bullying, about their wonderful daughters, sisters, cousins. They’ll laugh with delight as they play my game. My game! My heart will happy and full and my head will be spinning. I will lose my voice many times.
I know many parents miss their kids birthdays, for all sorts of good reasons. I know I have an excellent reason for missing Violet’s. My girls are already planning the business trips they’ll take when they’re grown ups. The life they envisage for themselves has no limits. The first time I went to a convention without Jason everyone I met was shocked. No one was mean about it, they were just … really surprised. But here’s the thing – Jason hates to travel alone, whereas I kinda like it. We both feel that it’s really important right now for there to be visible female game developers, so it makes sense for me to represent us, right? Also Jason did a lot of trips to the States when the girls were babies, and I swear to God every time he went they all got gastro and I spent the week cleaning up vomit so he totally owes me
Violet doesn’t even care that I’m missing her birthday, she just thinks it’s cool that she gets a second one when I get back
But if you see me at PAX East, and I’m a little bit weepy, don’t worry. I’m stoked to be there. I’m having a wonderful time and I’m honoured and so happy that my little game is making people feel things. It’s just that there’s a turtle cake on the other side of the world that I didn’t get to make.
We’re just about to put down our polishing cloth and head to Melbourne, for GCAP and PAXAus 2014. If you’re there, please come visit us! We’ve got a giant poster full of pixels, cool stickers, badges, and some nifty cards And don’t forget to check out Nicole’s panels. She’s organised her very own panel, Political Proactivism for Geeks featuring Melbourne’s very own Member of Parliament, the CEO of the Australian Library and Information Association, the organiser of Govhack Melbourne, and couple of Aussie game developers who have actually made games with a political message.
Nicole’s also taking part in Grow Up and Take Responsibility, which is at the same time as the Good Game panel, so there should be lots of seats and she’s super proud to be part of Women in video games, Improving things for everyone.
We’re hoping to have time this year for a wander around and maybe a board game or two. And of course we’re really looking forward to showing off Ninja Pizza Girl and meeting lots of really cool and interesting people! Kickstarter backers get free hugs, or if you’re not into that touchy feely stuff, friendly salutes.
Oh, and press people, we’re always up for a bit of collusion and corruption!
I hope all you Aussie Dads had a great day Much love from all of us here at Disparity <3
We did it!
We reached our goal with 38 hours to go, which sounds like a comfortable margin, but it felt right down to the wire!
Kickstarter has been a hell of a ride. I feel incredibly lucky. I thought we were prepared, going in, but with the benefit of retrospect we really weren’t and without the support of our friends, family, our backers, and some wonderful members of the games industry and games press who connected with our story and our message we would never have made it.
Our backers supported us in amazing ways, from carrying our stuff to tweeting about the game, to doing lets plays and posting links on their favourite forums. Travelling around the world and hugging each and every one of them probably isn’t practical, so we figure the best way we can thank all 1404 of them is to get to work and make Ninja Pizza Girl the best we possibly can.
The kickstarter predictors only reached a consensus about 20 hours before our campaign finished. By that time even I was fairly confident we were going to make it! Future kickstarters, you really should avoid them all together, but you probably won’t so you should know that Kickspy was by far the most accurate, and seems to account for the U shaped curve of bipolarization the best.
Oh, and one more thing I wish I’d known going in, only 16 percent of our backers found us on Kickstarter. We tried to err on the side of not being spammy, but you really do have to work hard and get your message out there and keep it circulating all month, it’s the only way people are going to find you.
That’s right, we’ve been Greenlit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (You can’t see me now but I’m doing my “We’ve been Greenlit” dance)
So that’s awesome Now we just have to get to our Kickstarter goal! Its three weeks in and we’re two thirds funded. U shaped curve be damned, I’m getting a little nervous!
The campaign has 8 days left and we’ve got a little over $10000 to raise. There’s a lot of work to be done, we’re posting and tweeting and emailing and generally spreading the word across the internet like tomato sauce across a thin-crust pizza base. Wish us luck!
Oh, and this week Sidekick is giving us a 95% chance of success, but Kicktraq is convinced we’ll fall just short of our goal o.O Remember, future kickstarters, Kickstarter Predictors are confusing, capricious, and generally NOT YOUR FRIEND!
In a terrible day for the Aussie Games industry, the recent federal budget has cut the Screen Australia games fund.
According to the information we have, Ninja Pizza Girl is going to be okay but the damage done to the local industry is immense.
The Aussie games industry was just recovering from the body blows dealt to it by the GFC. Riding a wave of innovation and creativity, things were finally looking up. The dismantling of the IGF and the way in which it was done hurts the local industry more than financially, it is a clear message from the government that the Australian games industry is beneath their notice.
More than ever, this is a time for local devs to band together and invest in each other. We are going to do our damndest to make Ninja Pizza Girl successful and to channel that success back into the local industry. Government support might be lost to us, but the passion and spirit of the Aussie games industry won’t die as easily.
Post Pax Press
Here’s the round-up of all the great press Ninja Pizza Girl and Disparity Games received after PAX Aus. Thanks to all the journalists involved. From the biggest publication to the smallest, you were all super-friendly and great to work with.
Penny Arcade Report: The Family that’s making a game and the 16-year-old artist who will never get “good enough”
Ben Kuchera talks to us about Ninja Pizza Girl and what it’s like to be a games developer at 16.
Rock Paper Shotgun: Early Delivery – A look at Ninja Pizza Girl
Cara Ellison plays Ninja Pizza Girl, much to the delight of her sixteen-year-old self.
IGX Pro: Indie Spotlight – Disparity Games
An in-depth look at who were are, what we do and how we do it. By the incredibly friendly Mister Vincent Parisi.
Another Castle: PAX Aus 2013 – Platforming for iOS with Ninja Pizza Girl and the Family
A live interview with Jason at PAXAus 2013 by Kaes Cillessen and his extremely professional crew from Another Castle
Save Game Online: PAX Indie Games Highlights
Ninja Pizza Girl appears in this round-up of awesome Indie titles from PAX Aus
Barrel Roll Gaming: PAX Aus Disparity Interview
A live audio interview at PAX Aus with Jason by the young but awesome Jake “Stevo” Stevens.
Gamefront: Ninja Pizza Girl Preview – Family Values
Stephen Heller “stealth” interviews us during PAX Aus and likes what he sees.