I spend way, way too much time reading advice on how to make and sell videogames. To be honest, I don’t really do it to learn how to make and sell a videogame, it just sort of fills in time and I’m often fascinated with how people conclude that their way is the right way, the one true way. Fair is fair, it often is for them but y’know, stuff is so very rarely the kind of stuff where I nod along and think “this is pretty good widely applicable advice”.
It’s a few years old now but I’ve grown to treasure Tom Francis’ “How to describe your videogame to an asshole” as one of those rare pieces that should, and I can’t emphasise that should enough, be on the essential reading list for anyone wanting to put their game out into the public eye. It is one of the few “this is pretty good widely applicable advice” pieces out there and I think you should read it now if you haven’t before. I also think, as with all advice, you should feel free to disregard it if it doesn’t entirely suit your work.
But you’ll be in better stead for reading it, promise.
You see, the thing is, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read a description of a game and gone “what?”, like I genuinely have no idea what it is, what I’m supposed to do or why. It’s rare the videogame that can’t explain this easily in a sentence yet it’s also way too rare the person who explains it in a sentence.
If yours is the kind of game that really genuinely can’t explain in a sentence what type of game it is in clear language then OK, we’re good but before you conclude that, I’m going to stop and say “reallllly?” at you. With a surprised face and everything. If it’s something new or leftfield or best through obscurity, fair enough. We’re good.
If your description consists of a load of nonsense acronyms and jargon that I need to grasp to understand it, I’m going to fold my arms and give you my best disapproving facial expression too. I’m talking about you, person who would tell me that your game is a creepypasta RPG with lite ARPG FPS match three MMO sequences in a persistent roguelike procedural world. With an owl. Make it understandable too, right?
The more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more I’m coming round to Tom’s piece being one of the most important things ever put to page on how to sell a videogame to humans. So yeah. Give it a read. And listen to Tom, he’s smart.