See You At Boston FIG?

Thanks for your patience, trustworthy blog reader, as I took a leave of absence these past few weeks. I’ll tell you all about it once I climb out from under a pile of NDAs, which expire in the year 2030. There’s some exciting stuff to announce in September so I’m sure I won’t miss a week again for a while – until I take up drinking again, that is.

First up, there’s a show this weekend! The Boston Festival of Indie Games is this Saturday (9/14) at the Harvard Athletic Complex. (If you know the area, it’s on Harvard Street in Allston). Let me know if you’re coming to the event or if you live in the area. I’ll be driving up on Friday night to show off Where Shadows Slumber, which was admitted as a nominee for Compelling Gameplay Mechanics in the Digital Showcase.

The show goes from 9 am to 6 pm, with an award show to follow. I’m not sure if the award show is open to the public, but you can get tickets to the actual festival here: Buy Now

More info about Boston FIG

The categories this year are as follows:

Digital Categories: Best in Show, Compelling Game Mechanics, Innovation in Art and Narrative, Multiplayer and Connected Gameplay, Experimental Game Design, Student Games, and Audience Choice Award

Tabletop Categories: Best in Show, Most Dynamic, Most Innovative, Best Game for Social Change, Best Family Game, Best Game in Progress, and Audience Choice Award

I’ve always heard good things, but I’ve never done this show or even attended. I like the one-day format, and it’s also a good chance to see some family that lives outside the city. Hope to see some Where Shadows Slumber fans there!

Wish Us Luck (x 2)

There’s an award show at Boston FIG, so cross your fingers and hope that Where Shadows Slumber takes home the big prize! I believe we’re only eligible to win in the category we’ve been nominated for, which is Compelling Game Mechanics. Of course, anyone can win the Audience Choice Award, which is won by rigging the vote during the day of the event. It’s going to be all hands on deck with that one, so if you come to the show be sure to bring singles. (“See a judge, bribe a judge!” ~Frank DiCola, 2019)

I’m also working on the Independent Games Festival submission for 2019, which is due by my birthday (September 30th). That’s going to be a tougher climb for sure, but it can’t hurt to take a chance on it! I think nominees get to go to GDC 2020 for free?

One more thing…

If you’re on Twitter, tweet “Happy Anniversary” to @blargzor sometime this week [ ^_^]! Jack, programmer and designer of Where Shadows Slumber, got married to his college sweetheart 1 year ago. (Their anniversary was actually yesterday, but this here is a Tuesday blog, damn it.) The couple has requested nice tweets or leaving them alone instead of the traditional “brick through a window with a note attached to it” that is customary for 1 year anniversaries. Respect their wishes!

also

Stay tuned next week for something insane.

[ ( o ) _( o )]

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Patch 1.0.10 Available on Android, Coming to iOS

If you remember last month’s blog post about an upcoming patch to Where Shadows Slumber, and you’ve been eagerly awaiting it since then, I have good news for you. The wait is finally over! Kind of… for some of you!

Android users with access to the Google Play store can access this patch right now. Please leave a comment if you run into any problems with the puzzle redesigns, or saving / progress issues. I’ll respond as soon as I can!

The patch is coming to iOS later this week once it makes it’s way through Apple’s approval process.

While we have no plans to add more puzzles to the game (a frequent request from fans of the game) we’ll obviously continue to support the game via bugfixes and quality of life improvements as we see fit. Thanks for all the helpful feedback over the past few months on that end!

Stay tuned to this page for more announcements regarding Where Shadows Slumber. While we don’t have anything concrete to announce just yet, a cool experiment is in progress…

What’s Where Shadows Slumber?

I always assume that I’m writing these posts for an audience that reads them regularly, but if you just found out about our game because of this post… welcome! Where Shadows Slumber is a mobile puzzle adventure game for iOS and Android. As the name implies, the driving force of the game’s puzzles center on the shadows your character casts from his bright handheld lantern.

Incidentally, this GIF is slightly out of date now that Patch 1.0.10 is out…

As these shadows move across the landscape of the environment, they can cause objects to appear and disappear from reality. These changes can happen to entire sections of the puzzle or tiny pieces of a single pathway. Shadows from two different objects may have two different effects on the level. Your character’s position matters since Obe is holding the light – he’s more than just a passenger meant to be carted from point A to point B. Where Shadows Slumber encourages outside-the-box thinking, exploration, and puzzle solving!

Try the new-and-improved version of the game at the links below:

App Store (iOS)bit.ly/WSS-iOS

Google Play (Android)bit.ly/WSS-Android

If you love it, please leave a 5 star review/rating for us. If you don’t love it… send me an email [0_0 ]

Enjoy the game!

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

TooManyProblems at TooManyGames

Back in April, I had the pleasure of showing off our game Where Shadows Slumber at AwesomeCon in Washington D.C. (Click here for the recap.) While I was there, someone mentioned a convention called TooManyGames and asked me if I was going. I had never heard of it before, and the deadline to apply as an indie had passed just a few days earlier. Despite that, I applied anyway because it sounded fun, and it was an even closer drive from Hoboken than Washington D.C. since TooManyGames is in Oaks, Pennsylvania.

I ran into a ton of problems during the weekend, but TooManyGames itself is a blast! This blog post is a recap of the convention, but the short version is this: if you’ve never been before, you should really check it out!


The Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Revenge

I thought I’d save money on my AirBnB costs and drive to TooManyGames on Friday morning (Day 1 of the show) instead of the night before. In theory, this made total sense. Hoboken is two hours from Oaks, the drive isn’t bad at all, and the show didn’t begin until 2 pm. My spartan setup for Where Shadows Slumber takes all of 15 minutes to prepare. I don’t need an entire night to set up beforehand like some people do!

This plan would have worked if not for one thin piece of metal that came loose on a bridge somewhere along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This piece of metal, when it encounters tires moving at 70 mph, rips them to shreds. My car wasn’t the only one that got rekt, either. The moment I heard the loud BOOM and I felt my back-right tire disintegrate on the highway, I looked to my right and noticed that tons of cars had pulled over on the side of the road.

“Uhhh I think it looks fine, why? Is it not supposed to look like that?”

They were all changing their back-right tires. The cops were there, a bunch of mechanics and tow trucks were there, and I had to pull over. The mechanic who helped me out said that so far, 30 cars had gone over the same exact spot on the bridge and got flat tires! The government accidentally set up a drug-cartel style nail-trap across the road. (This is what your toll fee goes to, I suppose – democratic nail-traps) Suffice it to say, we had to throw a spare on there just to get to Oaks and I was 2 hours late for the first day. Not an auspicious start! Pennsylvania is totally paying to fix my tire now that I’m back in Hoboken.

Spare tires are much thinner than I thought they were!

In truth, I’m just glad I’m ok. I didn’t get hurt, I didn’t see anyone else crash, and being a little late is not the worst thing in the world. (But I’m definitely going to remember this the next time I get into an argument with someone about taxes and roads.) Shout-out to Ford Roadside Assistance for offering me free access to a mechanic who came to me on the side of the Turnpike and swapped the spare out! The government mechanic was charging $60.00 and told me to just wait for Ford to come [<_< ]…

The theme of TooManyProblems continued, when on Sunday morning I awoke to see this wonderful push notification:

So Google does this a lot – they randomly check the apps on their store for this one specific thing, and then take your app down without checking with you first. [ /o_o]/

They get annoyed we don’t have a privacy policy on Where Shadows Slumber, but the reason we don’t have one is because we don’t take your data! And we got punished for it, leading to $0.00 in sales on Sunday. The workaround is to just put some kind of URL in the spot where they ask for a privacy policy. The longer solution to make sure this never happens again? Not sure…

We went live again yesterday morning, so hopefully those who liked the game over the weekend were able to find it!

Enough Whining

Sorry, I had to get those stories off my chest. The truth is, I had a great time in Oaks! This show was awesome and I’m definitely going back to TooManyGames next year. How about a look on the bright side? Here’s 8 good things that happened, in absolutely no coherent order:

1.) I conducted 200 personal demos with attendees (yes, I keep track of this stat at conventions!)

2.) About 20 people bought the game right there at the booth, and some left reviews over the weekend. I think this is due to my new policy on pins – no freebies! Cards are always free, but the pins are exclusively for those who have purchased Where Shadows Slumber. (More details on that below…)

3.) Speaking of cards, I got to debut the new slate of Where Shadows Slumber business cards. There are 8 cards, since we have 8 different Worlds in the game. Everyone loved them, and they drew lots of people to the table.

4.) Someone asked for my autograph on one of the cards… LOL

5.) I ran into some of my old friends from the Stevens Game Development Club as well as some indies I met a few months ago at AwesomeCon, and tabletop developers I’ve known since the Mr. Game! era.

6.) The AirBnB I stayed at in Phoenixville had a cat.

7.) I got the chance to hang out with Nando and Emily, old friends from Stevens, in Philadelphia on my way back home Sunday night. (Nando is the host of the extremely popular channel NandoVMovies on YouTube. Like and Subscribe!)

8.) Finally, before I left Pennsylvania on Sunday night, I had the distinct honor of walking into a Wawa for the first time in my life. The scales fell from my eyes, I was comforted, I felt accepted, and I experienced true luxury. All other pretenders to the throne (7-Eleven, and other atrocities) revealed themselves to be false gods and I know the truth now.

Two Lessons Learned

During TooManyGames, I spent most of my time trying to learn what drives people to purchase things. For the longest time, Jack and I were been in “marketing mode” – which is to say, we wanted to tell people about our game. But since launch, we’ve transitioned for the first time into “sales mode”, and I’m still not used to that. It’s strange knowing that every new person is a potential $3.00, or a potential 5-star rating. In some ways it was easier before. We could always say “the game is a work in progress!” and be happy with people that thought it was cool and promised to check it out later.

After this weekend I have a new convention strategy, based on these two principles. I strongly encourage you to adopt these ideas as well if you are in “sales mode” like us!

Later Isn’t An Option. Buy It Now!

It’s tempting to use these shows as a chance to hand out as much swag as possible, show the name of your game to as many people as possible, and demo the game as many times as possible. But I’m focusing a lot more on sales and other quantifiable stats, because the truth is that the people at these shows are being bombarded with about a hundred other games at the same time.

If they don’t buy your game in front of your eyes, they probably won’t buy it later when they get home unless they are highly motivated already or were prevented from purchasing it during the show. So I’ve been thinking of ways to ratchet up the pressure and persuade people to pull the trigger while they’re at my booth. I recommend doing some kind of promotion / deal that only lasts while you’re at the con. (Reducing the price doesn’t count, by the way! That will not encourage an impulse purchase.) This is connected to the next piece of advice…

Make It Physical

When selling digital products, you are at a disadvantage. A tangible item like a cup of coffee will always seem more real / justifiable as a purchase than a non-tangible item like music or video games. (This is why free versions of those go further – such as Pandora, Candy Crush, and piracy) If you’re at a convention, you have the ability to do something that Internet ads can’t do – you can make the purchase physical. That’s why I only gave buttons out to people who purchased the game on the store. I needed to make the purchase physical for them to persuade them to buy the game in front of me. I also didn’t feel like selling pins because I’m not in the pin business, I’m in the gaming business! And I know for a fact that this lead to more sales. One guy literally said these words:

“So to get the pin I just buy this?” (And he held up his phone with Where Shadows Slumber’s app page loaded on it)

“That’s right!”, I said. He bought the game and I gave him the pin. It seems so backwards, right? But that’s just how humans are, and you shouldn’t fight our human nature. The next time I do a show like this, I’ll have more physical stuff to sell. Not exactly merchandise (logo tees, plushies, etc) but stuff like Google Play codes printed on cards. I saw one guy selling Steam Codes as physical cards that were about the size of Magic: The Gathering cards. That’s genius!


I hope this advice helps, no matter what you’re selling – I’ll certainly put it into practice when CT FIG rolls around in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Have a great week everyone!

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Where Shadows Slumber, Nominated for IMGA 2019!

The headline says it all, but you heard it here last: Where Shadows Slumber has been nominated for the coveted People’s Choice Award at the upcoming 15th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards!

We might also be nominated for other awards? It’s not clear, exactly. I want to say we’re eligible for stuff like “Best Design” or “Best Art” or “Best Audio,” but I don’t know that for sure. Also, with games like Fortnite on the list, we know our shot of winning is pretty steep. Our chances of taking home the big prize are about as good as your chances of being in a cutscene with Obe and not getting murdered.

Rekt!

Anyway, roll that press release!


Where Shadows Slumber Nominated in the 15th INTERNATIONAL MOBILE GAMING AWARDS (IMGA Global)

Fans Can Vote Online to Help Game Revenant win the People’s Choice Award https://www.imgawards.com/winners-nominees/15th-imga/

[Hoboken, NJ] — [2/26] – Game Revenant announced today that it has been nominated in the 15th International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA Global). The IMGA is the longest standing and highest regarded mobile games award program started in 2004.

Where Shadows Slumber is an indie mobile puzzle adventure game based on light and shadow. You guide Obe, an old man lost in the forest, on one last adventure at the end of his life. Use your wits, your lantern, and the shadows it casts to manipulate the world around you and find your way home.

“Nominees like Game Revenant highlight the new standard of creativity and the emerging quality of the productions found in mobile gaming”, said Maarten Noyons, founder of The IMGA.

“We’re honored to be nominated alongside this year’s best and brightest on the mobile platform. Thank you for believing in our little game, IMGA!”, said Frank DiCola, founder of Game Revenant.

As a nominee, Game Revenant is also eligible to win the People’s Choice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. From now until March 14th, 2019 Where Shadows Slumber fans and gamers can cast their votes at https://www.imgawards.com/winners-nominees/15th-imga/

Winners will be announced on March 19th, 2019 during the highly anticipated IMGA ceremony, which will take place in the Minna Gallery in San Francisco.

About Game Revenant:

Game Revenant was founded in Hoboken, NJ by Frank DiCola. Where Shadows Slumber was designed and developed by Jack Kelly, with art and animation by Frank DiCola. PHÖZ, the duo of Alba S. Torremocha and Noah Kellman, created the game’s beautiful audio. The official game website was created by Caroline Amaba.

About the International Mobile Gaming Awards:

The IMGA is the longest standing mobile games award program started in 2004. With its long history and unique judging process, it has brought some of the world’s most popular titles into the limelight the likes of Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. It is the only competition that unites the industry by celebrating excellence and innovation in games.

For full details visit: http://www.imgawards.com or call: +33 491 315 217. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Contact: Frank DiCola

Phone: (201) 526-4950

Email: contact@GameRevenant.com


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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

The Merch Store!

Exciting news, everyone: your dreams of becoming a walking human billboard for your favorite indie mobile game are coming to fruition soon. This week, the Game Revenant merchandise store on Spreadshirt is launching! As a devoted blog reader, you have the privilege of receiving this news ages before those rubes in the general public. (What rubes!)

Here’s the link to the marketplace.

It looks like we’ll get some money from items if we mark them up a little bit. I don’t think I want to do that right now, because having people wear our stuff is more important than making another $1.50 at this point in the game’s history. That could happen at some point though, so if you’re on the fence about buying something, best to do it before the end of the month!

Currently, there isn’t much there. Which leads me to my next question…

What Would You Actually Buy?

I’m still getting things set up over there, so give me a day or two to get the online store looking nice and pretty. Right now I want to hear from you: what kind of Where Shadows Slumber stuff would you like? Spreadshirt has a whole line of clothing, but also fun stuff like mugs and junk. And it even has a dog bandana! (see above) My dog would rip those off instantly whenever we put them on her, but maybe yours is better trained.

Look, I can just make literally everything available, because there’s no cost. But I’d rather focus on the things fans actually want. For example, Jack furiously demanded zipper hoodies and… voila! There they are.

So what sort of designs would you like to see? It’s easy to just slap our game’s logo on everything, but there’s also a lot of cool art in our game we could use. I’m taking requests, so leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter @GameRevenant with what you’d like to see!

Even better, vote in this open Poal: poal.me/nassfn

I highly encourage you to add answers, that’s why I did this. The starting ones I did are essentially just jokes.

That’s all for now, everyone. Until I get more stuff up there… buy a Where Shadows Slumber Logo hoodie!

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store!

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Upcoming Patch: Review Requests

In a patch that will go live later this week, we’re adding a small pop-up window to the game that asks the player if they would take a moment to review the game. I would have put this update through last week (Jack finished this feature a while ago), but my laptop was on the fritz and I just got it back this morning.

I realize it’s a bit odd to talk about a patch before it goes out, but I wanted to explain our thought process behind this addition. This patch will be a bit different than the others. We’ve just been fixing bugs for the past few weeks, but this is an addition that might rub people the wrong way. Read on if you’re an indie developer, because this totally affects your business…

 

No one likes “barriers to fun.”

Why We Didn’t Launch With This

Jack and I spent a long time working on Where Shadows Slumber. During that time, the user interface went through quite a few iterations. The “user experience” was even more important to us than the interface itself. We always asked ourselves what we wanted the player to feel when they first opened the app, or when they opened the app after closing it, or when they returned to the app after not playing Where Shadows Slumber for a few days.

One of our core principles was “don’t annoy the user,” and we took that very seriously. For you old-timers out there, did you ever notice how our free Demo jumps right into the first Level straight from the Splash Screen? Or did you notice how the final version of the game goes right into the Level 0-1 title card after the Splash Screen? We tried to take out as many “barriers to fun” as we could to make the experience as painless as possible. I think we did a great job! So far I’ve only seen one complaint that the game “has no Main Menu,” and that was on a 5-star review. So it wasn’t that big of an issue after all!

Anyway, when the topic of review requests came up, we weren’t enthusiastic about the idea. Sure, every mobile game does it – but we were worried it would annoy people so much, they would give the game a bad review, and say something like “too many pop-ups!!” People are weird. You never know what might set them off.

But it’s a classic Catch-22, because if we don’t ask for reviews, we might not get one at all. Less reviews & ratings mean that our game won’t become popular, which leads to less downloads, and the app goes into a death spiral. Furthermore, right now people who don’t enjoy Where Shadows Slumber have a lot of motivation to leave a bad review. But people who did enjoy the game have no motivation to leave a positive review. Think of it this way – when is the last time you left a great review for a restaurant you love? Have you ever done that? But I bet if you had a terrible experience at a restaurant, you couldn’t wait to go outside and write all about it on Yelp. It’s human nature to ignore the positives in life and let negative experiences motivate our actions.

Our old Demo got a ton of ratings (6,000+) compared to our final production release on Google Play. I realize that version was free, and it’s been out for two years, but I think a review request also had something to do with it. The problem is that the Demo’s review request was at the very end of the experience after the last Level. I don’t really want people to have to beat the entirety of Where Shadows Slumber before they get a message asking them to leave a review. Instead, we’re putting the request towards the middle of the game.

Overall, I’m pretty optimistic. If we get this feature in before the next time Where Shadows Slumber goes on sale, and then drive a lot of downloads / installs with that sale, we might get a nice review bomb to bring us higher up the charts.

In conclusion, we’re hoping this addition:

  • Won’t annoy people too much
  • Will lead to more ratings overall
  • Will increase the rate of positive reviews to negative reviews

Wish us luck! Better yet, wish us 5-stars…

 

Eat an entire megaphone, as shown above. (No chewing!)

Make Your Voice Heard!

Once this launches, you probably won’t even notice it. Jack set a timer that’s pretty lengthy, so it’s rare that you’ll be asked twice or three times to review the app. Besides, if you haven’t done that already, what are you waiting for?

But seriously, if you have any comments or concerns, leave a comment on this post or on Facebook! We want to know what you think. Especially if you have any marketing ideas for us, because we want to do everything we can to get Where Shadows Slumber out to the whole world.

See you next week! A financial update article is in the works, so you won’t want to miss out. Keep your eyes peeled on this blog…

 

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Where Shadows Slumber is now available for purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store.

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.

Trick or Treat, Scammers!

It’s that time of year again – the leaves are changing, the air is getting colder, and everyone is getting their costumes ready for Halloween!

But mischief is also in the air…

We’ve been enjoying watching Where Shadows Slumber take off on the App Store since we launched last month. However, not everyone is happy for our success. Some people have tried to scam us out of our hard-earned game by trying to get free promo codes even though they aren’t journalists, YouTubers, streamers, or influencers.

Apple doesn’t want us giving these codes out to regular customers! That’s why you only get 100 at a time. They even give you a massive contract that lays out what the codes are for, specifically so you don’t fall for people’s stories. And while I understand we’ll never be able to do anything about software piracy, there’s no reason I need to fall for cheap tricks…

So in the spirit of Halloween, here’s two ridiculous stories of would-be scammers attempting to pull one over on yours truly. Share this funny article with your friends, even if they’ve never heard of Where Shadows Slumber! I think anyone who works in customer service will find this hilarious.

operation_open_heart_281071147227529

Scammer #1 – The $8.00 Heart Operation

Our first scam attempt comes from Salama Youssef, who emailed us at contact@GameRevenant.com with this touching copy/pasted tale:

Oct 8, 2018, 6:15 PM

Hello,

I always have an appreciation for Where Shadows Slumber application….

You can offer me a promo code for (Where Shadows Slumber for iphone) application because currently i have lost all my money on the Health of my family (my father suffered a heart operation that cost more than 8.0639 US Dollar (USD) so I am forced to tell your team that my situation finaciere can not allow me and my family pay the rent)

Sorry for the trouble I have caused for you, but, sincerely, I will be very happy if you discharge me from this sum.

God Bless You

Even if we believe this sob story about an $8.00 heart operation, can someone explain to me why this man needs a free copy of Where Shadows Slumber? As far as I’m aware, we don’t offer any of Apple’s new live-saving wearable functionality. It’s a puzzle game! Come on, dude. Also, the Google Translated English is a nice touch.

I didn’t even reply to this email, and he never followed up. It’s probably just an auto-generated email. Good for a chuckle, but time to move on.

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Scammer #2 – My Daughter Ate My Homework

Our next scam took much longer, because this person kept pestering me. Say what you will about Mr. Youssef, but he knew when to find a new mark. But “Zahid Aslan / The Sunflower” just wouldn’t leave me alone, so I had some fun with him. Here’s the initial scam email:

Sat, Oct 6, 4:16 PM

Hi! I’ve purchased Where Shadows Slumber in iOS and was adoring it, but it seems like my daughter accidentally deleted it and when I was planning to reinstall, the appstore didn’t allow me to redownload the game for free for some reason. (No idea why, nothing I did to fix it worked, I even contacted Apple but they weren’t much help) so I was wondering if it’s okay if you can send a redeem code so I can reinstall the game? Thanks! Great game and worth $5!

Sent from my iPad

Not bad. I’ll be honest, this seemed real at first. A+ on this first email. He complimented the game, blamed two other people (his daughter, and Apple) and made it seem like contacting me was a last resort. He even put in the “sent from my iPad” bit at the end. Is this a pro Genji?

I had to dig a little deeper though, because I know how the App Store works. The error he’s talking about is impossible – you can’t “delete” something from your library of purchased iOS apps. So I replied immediately, and nicely asked him for some proof.

Wow I’m sorry to hear that! That’s very strange – it should be tied to your App Store account forever once you purchase it. We used all of our promo codes already, but I can try to see what the problem is.

Do you have the receipt in your email from when you bought it? Send me a screenshot of it and I’ll see how I can direct you. Unless you requested a refund, they should have it in your library permanently from now on.

Apple is pretty strict about refunds, so they’re keeping your money unfortunately [ x_x] but I’ll see what I can do!

-Frank

We hadn’t actually used all of our promo codes… that was just a little lie to get him talking. Then, he blew his cover with one of the worst things you can ever do: fake graphics. Read on…

Yeah it’s strange, I think this is the first time I’ve experienced it, Apple actually told me this

SunflowerScam

But Apple does provide more codes after each update I think, so I guess I will wait for that, since the refunding system for me is a mess and I don’t want to risk it.

Thanks anyway!
Sent from my iPad

Oh, Zahid. You flew too close to the sun, my friend. This is clearly a conversation he had with himself or a friend over Twitter DMs, with their names cropped out. Two dead giveaways here:

  • How could there be a “new bug” with iOS 11 a few weeks after iOS 12 launched?
  • Apple never tells customers to ask developers for promo codes.

Besides, he followed Game Revenant’s Twitter account with his own “Sunflower” Twitter account a few days earlier. When I noticed the similarities between the avatars, I did some snooping and found this:

Scam-Tweet

He must be some kind of weird man that emails developers for keys, and then hands them out on Twitter to boost his popularity. Not today, kid.

Here’s where I stopped responding. His game was up. I knew he was lying to me, and I didn’t have to call him on it. I planned to just ignore him.

But he wouldn’t stop.

If At First You Don’t Zahid…

As it turns out, we actually did update the game around October 7th for unrelated reasons. He apparently caught wind of this. Two days after the first email, he’s back in my Inbox:

Mon, Oct 8, 6:25 PM

Hi, I’ve seen you updated the game a day ago. Do you have a code now? Apple usually refreshes them after each update.

Sent from my iPad

I couldn’t believe he was still trying this! But I didn’t reply. Surely he’d go away, right?

Wrong!

Oct 9, 2018, 12:10 PM

Hello?

Not cool, man. You don’t get to flood my Inbox with annoying messages when you’re trying to scam me. And where’s the “Sent from my iPad” signature? Sloppy. That’s when I decided it was time for an early Halloween trick.

Apple promo codes are 12 digits long, and highly specific. All I had to do was create some random ones and make sure I didn’t accidentally give him real codes.

Sorry Zahid, I took off for Columbus Day! Here’s two codes, one for you and one for your daughter:
U1R7MR99G4Y0
G3TR3KT7N3RD
Have fun!!
-Frank

Apparently he didn’t notice that the second code is “GET REKT NERD” with numbers instead of vowels. These are totally fake! He tried them, and of course they didn’t work.

Oct 9, 2018, 5:12 PM

These are both invalid? Can you double check?

Sent from my iPad

Happy Halloween!

Oct 10, 2018, 5:37 PM

Hello? The codes you sent are not valid.

Sent from my iPad

LOL

Oct 11, 2018, 10:42 AM

Hi?

Man, he never gives up! He probably thought he had me, and got so close but lost out in the end due to chance. It was time for a Twitter conversation over DMs, apparently.

Once More, With Trolling

The Sunflower gives up on email, and decides to try Twitter. Mind you, this is the same Twitter account that has a picture from August where he’s handing out codes! It’s easier to just post the images of our conversation:

Sunflower-DM-0

Sunflower-DM-1.JPG

The last code I sent him? Read it again – it spells “NICE TRY BUDDY.”

Sunflower-DM-2.JPG

He says he’ll check, but we both know the truth – there is no receipt. There never was a receipt. There never was a daughter. There never was an iPad, either.

I haven’t heard from him since, but I hope he reads this blog post!

 

Why Did You Do This, Frank?

Listen, if you think I just did this because I’m a petty artist with too much time on my hands, you’re absolutely correct. Although in my defense, I normally don’t go out of my way to troll people – “The Sunflower” just kept pestering me and I wanted to get him to go away!

The reason I wrote this blog post is to warn indie developers, not just troll people. It’s very easy to fall for these scams when your game first launches – you’re excited that it’s on the store, but there are unexpected bugs all over the place, too. People are reaching out to you for help with issues, puzzles, or writing articles. There’s no time to really tell what’s what, and it’s easy to fall for a sob story about heart surgery or a dastardly daughter.

Customer service will be a new experience for you when you first put your game on the store, but the customer isn’t always right. Sometimes, there never was a customer.

Happy Halloween, scammers!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Where Shadows Slumber is now available on the App Store! bit.ly/WSS-iOS

Find out more about our game at WhereShadowsSlumber.com, ask us on Twitter (@GameRevenant), Facebookitch.io, or Twitch, and feel free to email us directly at contact@GameRevenant.com.

Frank DiCola is the founder of Game Revenant and the artist for Where Shadows Slumber.