How to Squander Your 15 Minutes By Repeatedly Shooting Yourself In Both Feet: An Instruction Manual

by Darius Kazemi on December 15, 2009

in indie,marketing,networking,networking tips,Spelunky

Gamasutra recently published a good interview with Derek Yu, the creator of Spelunky. But wait! This is not another blog post where I’m talking about how Spelunky is the best game ever. I wanted to draw your attention instead to the comment thread for the post. (Update Aug 19, 2011: looks like Adam Coate’s profile has been removed from Gamasutra, which nukes all his comments. 1) here is an archive of the original thread so you can read the whole thing. 2) Gamasutra, you should change your policy so that comments are preserved on threads when accounts are removed/deleted. 3) I have replaced every link in this article with a link to the archive, so individual comment references should hold.)

There was a fair amount of discussion about the thread on Twitter recently. It is a prime example of how to be an ungracious person and a how to badmouth people and be that guy. He’s an indie developer with serious entitlement issues. You should definitely read the whole thread, as it is equal parts entertaining and irritating, but I’ve included the gist of it here with some commentary of my own.

This guy Adam Coate posted the following comment:

[Being a suffering artist is the s]tory of my life right there. And once the game’s done, even more suffering comes from the lack of exposure certain gaming-related websites are willing to give us unknowns, yet are perfectly willing to run full-blown features on Boulder Dash clones, just because they’ve already been featured on TIGSource. Feel free to take a bit of a risk by giving some press to a game that actually deserves it, Gamasutra (oh, I don’t know, Flytrap, maybe?).

So he criticized the proprietors of the website he’s posting on (which is okay if a little dickish) and insulted the developer being interviewed in the article he’s commenting on (totally not okay). Kris Graft, who works for Gamasutra, responded by asking:

Maybe people would consider talking to you about your game if you had a better attitude? Or emailed editors of certain gaming-related websites for consideration, maybe? Don’t make yourself suffer more than you have to.

Adam went on to complain that he tried emailing the editors and didn’t get a response. Fair enough. There some more back-and-forth, mostly people trying to tell him that Spelunky actually isn’t a piece of crap, and then Michael Rose of chimes in:

[J]ust thought I should throw a few words in here. I’m one of the editors at, and I received your email about Flytrap about a month ago. The email contained a few paragraphs about the game, and 3 screenshots.

After reading what you sent me, I then went to check out the game more. Your email didn’t supply a website, so I went hunting for one, and came up with nothing. You hadn’t even supplied a link to the Xbox Live Marketplace page for your game, which was a little odd given this is what you were trying to sell to me. After Googling it and finding the page, I was presented with a ‘Content not found’ page on the site. Not a great start.

I then decided to hunt on Youtube for a video of your game, and yet again came up with nothing. Honestly, you are here complaining that no-one is giving coverage to your game, and yet the real problem is that you need to have a quick and very easy lesson in marketing. How is anyone meant to get excited about your game when all you give them is 3 measly screenshots which all look the same?

Unfortunately your view of gaming sites which cover indie titles has been skewed due to your feeling of rejection. This is completely understandable, but coming on here and spouting off about how your game hasn’t received the ‘deserved recognition’ it needs is pretty childish. Maybe you should instead be trying to work out WHY your game hasn’t taken off how you would have liked. As I said before, marketing your game properly would be a very good start.

Seems like case closed, right? Wrong. Adam posts a gracious thank-you to Michael, and Michael points out Rodain Joubert’s excellent indie game marketing guide.

“Miyamoto never had to work for press like this.”

Meanwhile, he’s been having a side argument with Brandon Sheffield, editor of Game Developer Magazine and writer for Gamasutra. Basically, Brandon chastised Adam for his poor attitude. Adam’s response was “Well, it got your attention didn’t it?” Brandon responded saying that yes, it got his attention but now he has a negative view of Adam and his game. Adam’s response is simultaneously heartbreaking and legendarily self-delusional:

I apologize for my negative first impression, but after having spent a year of my life struggling to survive while I create a game that even my girlfriend didn’t believe in (which changed once she saw how blind playtesters reacted to it), it’s a little disheartening to just be completely ignored by the world. Miyamoto never had to work for press like this.

Really? He didn’t? As later commenters point out, Miyamoto worked on many many titles before he received any kind of personal recognition from the wider gaming audience. Furthermore, Miyamoto worked and has always worked for a large game company with an entire marketing division. So while he personally didn’t do much marketing for Super Mario Bros., he had probably dozens of people doing it instead.

Later on in the thread, Adam takes back his remarks about Spelunky and admits that the Miyamoto comment was hilariously uninformed.

Best of all, as a result of the thread, Michael Rose was prompted to write up The Idiot’s Guide to Marketing Your Indie Game. It’s full of very specific advice on how to contact game journalists about your game and what sort of email you should be writing them. It reminds me a lot of writing a resume for a game development job: you need to stand out but also tailor it to your specific audience.

There’s a whole bunch more to the comments section. At one point Adam decides to break out some armchair evolutionary psychology, explaining that women love to shop and eat and consume while men like to destroy and it’s just a fact people come on don’t you get it. But that’s really more of a hilarious digression.

And finally, the title of this blog post comes from one of Brandon Boyer‘s two beautifully acerbic comments (1) (2) on the thread.


Matthew December 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I hope someone puts “Miyamoto never had to work for press like this” on a t-shirt. I’d wear one to a press interview.

Petri Purho December 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm

This please. Some has to do it. Seriously. It would be awesome.

Christy December 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I hope that thread is forever immortalized in classrooms as an example of how not to promote anything ever.

I also kinda want a tshirt that says “Miyamoto never had to work for press like this”. Or maybe a sticker that says “I like shopping and eating!” There’s a lot of catch-phrase potential throughout the entire thread.

Luis Augusto Guimaraes December 15, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Ow, I wasted a lot of my time following this whole discussion too >_<

Deirdra December 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I just had to pull out the evo psych bingo card for that. Sadly, I didn’t get a bingo, but I wager I could have if he’d started with the ad hominems a little later…

Sam December 15, 2009 at 8:36 pm
Sam December 15, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Well, that was brought up in the thread, of course. That will teach me to RTFA.

Athena January 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm

“I’m Adam Coate, developer of Flytrap; I’m commenting because I noticed you gave my game a negative review. ”

Haha jesus. I am so tempted to give his game a bad review and see if he comes to my blog to defend himself.

Edmund Dubois December 15, 2009 at 9:20 pm

If I ever get that disproportionately huge an ego I’d have to have someone shoot me.

Also seconding the concept of a “Miyamoto Never had to Work for Press like This” shirt. Or perhaps a motivational poster of some kind.

James Mouat December 16, 2009 at 12:12 am

Alternate article title “How to commit career suicide in 3 easy steps”

1) Develop a mediocre game.
2) Develop a MASSIVE ego.
3) Open your mouth.

Gabe McGrath December 16, 2009 at 2:56 am
lightspeedchick December 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

@Matthew: sign me up for one of those… though I’m not sure the good folks at Ubi would let me wear it :)

ErdTirdMans December 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

The orange shirt man has taken an epicly hilarious internet argument and merged it with useful resources to create a blog post worth passing around. Who’s making the t-shirts now?

Jason McIntosh December 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Clearly we need to bring this saga full-circle by turning this post into a long and completely off-topic comment thread about Derek Yu and Spelunky. I’ll start:

“Why do the yetis keep killing me? This game is unfair to new players – it would rather keep rewarding the same old players over and over! Darius never had to work for high scores like this!!”

Megan December 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Gabe’s motivational poster FTW. (also, your comment with the numbered list. #5 made me laugh out loud for quite some time.)

Now we need an appropriate LOLCat to really bring it all together! :D

Gabe McGrath December 16, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Glad my top 5 kept you entertained Megan.
There’s *nothing* like a “Scoobydo-style baddie unmasking” to liven things up.

John December 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

Listen man, I played Fly Trap and it is in fact an incredible game. He just needed to get the word out about it. The game is probably one of the most innovative games I’ve played in a long time.

Damo December 18, 2009 at 2:43 am

So pretty much “John” above is Adam. People may enjoy the game but the only one to think it’s the most innovative game either has been in a closet since the 80s or is Adam Coate.

Adam Coate December 18, 2009 at 4:46 am

John, thanks for the positive comments about Flytrap.

The trailer for Flytrap will be up in the next two days; I’ll post the youtube link here once it’s uploaded. I’m glad to keep you all entertained; you may not think it possible, but the game itself will do an even better job of this.

Adam Coate December 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Yeah I figured someone would say that, but no, it wasn’t me. It’s too bad the generic “John” didn’t just use his full name, but whatever.

Gabe McGrath December 19, 2009 at 1:03 am


I’m as guilty as anyone at having some fun/being entertained by all this.

But if you happen to release a windows version (I don’t have an Xbox) & send me a working demo, I’d happily give it a fair review.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: