"Some people have told me that it has encouraged them to keep doing what they're doing, which I think is always a positive thing," says Steve "moshboy" Cook. "We lose so many developers because all that they get in return for their hard work is little feedback or complete silence."
Cook is referring to his unique curation project which he dubbed the 1000 Game Makers Thread — a collection of tweets containing gifs and links to unique, personal, and interesting games from around the world that Cook wanted to see supported. The project began on May 14, 2016, when Cook tweeted out a link to the Itchio game q_dork. It concluded this past weekend, when Cook tweeted out his thousandth link, this one to the work of indie game maker Sylviefluff.
We heard from over 40 creators — a small amount of people whose work Cook singled out. But in collecting responses, we got a clear sense of the widespread positive effect that the 1000 Game Makers Thread have had on the people whose games he curated, and how one person's efforts made many, many artists and creators feel a little bit more appreciated, and a lot less alone.
Hacksaw Unit (Ugly Turtle)
It was a pleasant surprise! I didn't really see any changes in traffic, but it made me happy that someone enjoyed my work enough to feature it in a list. It reminds me that the hours I spend making games are worth something to someone. It keeps me from quitting!
Dennis Ramirez (The Z-Files)
I've heard lots of people say they "love" video games, but I've found that few people love them as much as Steve. It's easy to be awestruck by the latest AAA titles; it's much harder to sit down and give a small freeware game that same type of attention. It's too bad, too, because there are so many cool and unexplored ideas in unpolished, incomplete, or ugly games. Trash games are important! Weird games that don't quite fit anywhere are weird precisely because they try to do something new, or push the boundaries of the medium in unexpected ways. I see these little games as interesting experiments. They might not always be successful, but you learn something interesting about game dev and design from each one.
There's a lot of love and energy that goes into making games, and It's no different for Free Indie Trash games except that these small games never really get any love back. Steve's curation of these games though the Pirate Bay bundle and the 1,000 game makers thread really helps to bring attention to games that would otherwise be lost or ignored.
Mike Lasch (Cave Game)
The impact any press has on me, including the Moshboy list, is less monetary and more emotional. I make hardly make enough money per year on average to pay to remain a developer for iOS, so I really haven't been in it for the money (most of my stuff is free anyway). When my creations are featured anywhere ,it's really just a wonderful validation and almost a relief that what I'm making does have an effect on people, and people are enjoying my work. I do see an uptick in views, and maybe one or two donations via itch.io, but mostly I'm just in it for the joy of creating and sharing!
Kyle McKernan (Ghostkeeper)
I can't be certain that Moshboy's inclusion of my work brought more attention to it, but it had a definite mental effect to be a part of the 1000 game makers list. It was very encouraging, and helped me build confidence that my work was valued, at a time when I wondered if it was worth it and when I felt like what I was doing was mostly overlooked. I think it's important to have voices recognizing, boosting, and curating art that might not get a lot of attention on its own.
AergiaGame (Hyper Haiku)
When there can be hundreds or even thousands of games released for a game jam, it is invaluable for both players and developers to have curators such as moshboy sift through them to find the rough diamonds. Having a game mentioned on a list like his may not result in a lot of downloads, but it means a lot to know that someone who cares about silly, experimental, and personal games saw something of value in your work despite the bugs and rough edges.
Just off the top of my head, I didn't notice any difference being in the thread. It's not that I think the thread didn't have an effect, it was just that there was a lot going on at the time. So for a bit of context, I've been making games since 2013 (I was in high school at the time), and released a few games to very little fanfare. Then I quit for a few years, and came back late 2015. Again, made a few games that didn't really gain any popularity...and then one that did. One of my games, Starlight, placed highly in a game jam (LowRezJam 2016), and got some popularity amongst the game jam Youtube crowd and some review sites, and suddenly I was seen as a game developer online. My work since then hasn't had the same popularity, but there's been a notable increase in interest from then on out. In the end, I don't think that being in the thread caused anything, but rather was one of the effects of that game jam. I might've had an uptick in popularity because of it, but so much happened because of that one game I cannot tell the effects of one thing over another.
Sergio Cornaga (Tree Vandalism)
The game of mine featured was Tree Vandalism, which honestly, I had to look up the title for! It's a game I made in an hour for @foodshipnine (#20 on the list) to test out their unreleased mod of flickgame (originally by @increpare, #420 on the list). It was fascinating to see such an obscure, almost inconsequential game of mine chosen - a game I'd done basically no promotion for. I was also impressed that moshboy managed to capture a playthrough of the entire game in GIF format. I have no idea if my work received any additional views following inclusion in the thread, as I don't have (or tend to ignore) any site analytics. I definitely didn't see any increase in sales, which is unsurprising since all my games are free or PWYW. My total profits from game development over the past 15 years remain at around 70 cents.
James Earl Cox III (Zestboi Ice Racing)
When I was tagged in Moshboy's "1,000 game makers thread, 1 tweet at a time" it brightened my day. There are countless developers making unique experiences and not often do they feel discovered, much less reach an audience. Moshboy is gem.
Joe Cox (Cheeseburger (in Paradise)
There's a strange gratification in being recognized as one of a thousand artists working in the same space. I feel that Moshboy's list solidified a sense of community for indie game makers.
John D Moore (Turtle Lord)
Being included in moshboy's thread was really encouraging for me, and helped me to feel like I'm part of something larger. That's kind of the power of curation, I think - that it incorporates you and your work into a broader conversation. Working mostly solo as a fairly obscure hobbyist, I've released a lot of games that I actually don't know if anyone else has ever played. It can feel like you're working in a vacuum. Being included in moshboy's thread (and--I should note--the Pirate Bay Bundle of one hundred games he assembled in 2014) felt validating and exciting, reduced my sense of isolation in the global game making community, and also helped turn me on to some other people doing really interesting things. I really appreciate that moshboy's work doesn't just highlight cool games by unknown game developers, but that he highlights the developers themselves. A lot of people have their games scattered across the Internet, and it's easy to encounter just one cool game and never discover its context or find the person or people behind it.
Jaroslav Meloun (Cock Rider)
Being featured in the thread brought me a terrific feeling of satisfaction for being noticed and recognized. It was a sign that there's an audience even for small and weird games and they can actually affect and inspire people.
Noah Ratcliff (Barely Afloat)
At the time he added me to the thread, I didn't see too much change in sales/traffic. Now that the thread is coming to an end, and there's all these articles being written about it, I'm definitely noticing a lot more traffic to my itch page. Emotionally, it was really awesome to be added to the thread. I found it about half a year after it started, and had kind of a passive goal to make it to the list before it ended. There are lots of game makers whose work I really enjoy in the thread, and it's really nice and validating to be listed along side them.
Ciro Duran (Voting Day)
My games are free and mostly browser based. They also tend to be very local, so my audience is understandably reduced to Venezuela and some other Latin American countries, even as I usually ship them in English and Spanish. The mention in this thread did not bring me many eyeballs or commentaries, but I appreciate curation that does not limit to countries that already have a established gamedev industry, I'd love to know more about gamedev in countries not known for their gamedev industry.
Sean Han Tani (Grocery Bag)
It was a kind gesture to be included amongst many other developers with experimental games who are working towards advancing the medium. I think it's a very motivating thing for a developer to be included in. However, I think Twitter is not the best platform for this - there's no easy way to browse the whole list other than slowly loading through Twitter. I think a separate tumblr/archive in addition to Twitter would help.
Sonny Bone (Bunko)
Having my gamejam games selected for any kind of curation is great because it helps me choose which projects might be worth pursuing commercially. Even if I know the game is broken or unpolished and lacking any real depth, there's at least something in there worth appreciating. Being acknowledged and appreciated is always a positive feeling and helps keep the dream alive.
Anthony Tesija (Lost in Thought) - I follow moshboy because he picks out some of the coolest hidden games on the internet and shares them with the world. One of my goals as a gamedev was to be in his list, so when he picked Lost in Thought, I was excited and honored!
Dylan Gallardo (DrawL)
Seeing the post was kind of bittersweet for me. The game gif used to showcase the spot was a collaborative effort by myself and @jedlondo, so straightaway, it felt a bit odd with only my name hovering over it. Plus, that game in particular was probably one of our most conflicted collaborations. I suppose moshboy has a knack for picking out those dirty little secret games - the stuff even I had kind of tried to tuck away and forgotten about. Not that I take any issue with how it was presented. Moshboy is an unconventional curator, so it's fitting that I was shown in a light I wasn't expecting. I knew about the thread beforehand, and it was cool being selected for it. I'm not sure if it had much of an impact exposure-wise though. Certainly didn't affect sales because all of my work is available for free haha. But it was good for some self-reflection and being selected in the first place helped validate what I do as a developer.
Eric Neuhaus (A-Grazing Treasure Hunter)
There are a ton of talented indie devs out there, so it was really an honor to see my name pop up in a list anywhere, much less on a list full of a bunch of people that I admire a great deal. I can't think of many (if any) shout outs I've gotten like that. I also thought the gif moshboy used was pretty funny. It's from what I felt (at the time) was one of my worst creations and I was kind of embarrassed he used it over the others, but when I think about it now it's probably the most "moshboy" game that I made (so there was likely some genuine thought behind the choice haha).
Matt Surka (BUY2BILLIONFOLLOWE)
I was really happy to be added to moshboy's thread, mostly because it introduced me to his outlook on games. I've always tried to look *through* the glitches and the grime to find what makes a tiny game cool, but moshboy takes it even further. He sees glitches and grime as cool in themselves. I love that. As a dev, I've found moshboy's tweets to be a much-needed salve. It's easier to carry on making weird, flawed, no-budget games when there's someone out there making the case for weird, flawed, no-budget games. I doubt my work will ever get much attention, but that's OK. It's nice to know there are other people out there like me.
Kai Clavier (SPACEBOARD)
I remember seeing the thread go around about a year ago! It's a very positive idea and I was appreciative to be included on it. I'll never figure out why they used a gif of my worst-looking game to showcase my work, but I suppose others may see things in your own work that you may not? The game chosen was from the first game jam I participated in, so it was interesting to see that one game in particular singled out. The thread itself still has a bit to go to finish 1000, and I'm excited to see it complete!
The gif moshboy posted was from one of the first games I made where I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing and was able to express myself. It felt good to get a little unexpected recognition for a personal project I was proud of. It made me feel somehow official (even though this is all a practice, not a product). And they definitely inspired me to keep making things. A list of 1000 developers seems like a lot, but I'm honored to be on it. Crazy how a little gesture can have such a profound impact on someone, huh?
Wade McGillis (!WHOA pizza!)
There was no effect sales wise. Emotion-wise, I thought it was neat that I was in a list with better developers than I like @whitingjp, @mooonmagic, @hentaiphd, and @q_dork.
I made quite a few small experimental games, and I never intended to sell them, I just wanted people to play them, but it was always difficult to find attention even among the indie players. The indie scene is really big these days, and if you, as a developer, don't get enough attention, you don't get enough feedback to improve your games, you lose hope, you lose the will to make games - you start to think that it is all futile. This is devastating.
The attention from the curators lets you know that people play your games, that people know about you, and this alone supports you, makes you want to keep going. The 1000 Gamemakers thread is great not only because it brings attention to your games, but it also shows you your rivals (not in antagonistic way) - you see what other people make and think "Yes, this is all great stuff, I must keep up with them all!". And this makes you want to improve. I firmly believe that with enough practice and self-improvement, even a small developer can make something quite great. So I'd like to thank the indie curators like Oujevipo (@Oujevipo), Chris Priestman (@CPriestman), Luca Colosso (@Wisheez, he's not in the indie scene now, but he was leading a great blog focused on horror games) Moshboy, Sebastian Standke (@s_standke) (and I am sure that there are a lot more curators which I don't know yet) for their help to me and other small developers - in some ways the small indie scene still keeps running because of them.
Rene Rother (Space Wreck)
The game he has featured in his tweet was actually the first game I have ever finished, and was made during Ludum Dare 28. That was in December 2013. It didn't get that many downloads and also honestly isn't very good. There's something special about him picking that game. It shows that, to some people, the stuff I did and still do has some value. And isn't just wasting space on some server. Because that's what it often times feels like. That nobody cares. Especially if something isn't new anymore.
Malec2b (Dadaists Gone Wild)
It feels good for my old stuff to be noticed and remembered. Way before the list, back around 2009, when I was just starting out in the indie game scene, Moshboy was one of the first people to take note of me as a game creator. He had made a post saying he was looking forward to my next game, Dadaists Gone Wild, as he had played my previous game, Onwards Jetpack!. It might seem like a small thing, but the difference between someone playing one of your games, and someone noticing multiple games and acknowledging them as being by the same person, is a pretty meaningful one.
As far as sales, I doubt being included in the list helped much, if at all, with that. Of the people who saw the tweet, likely a smallish percentage checked out the game itself (although that was certainly the most people had checked out the game in years). Of those people, a percentage checked out my other stuff. And if the small percentage of those people who actually then bought one of my games is more than zero, I have no way of knowing. But the more important thing about the list, in my mind, is that it draws attention to a mode of game development which was what initially brought me into the indie game scene, but which hasn't gotten as much attention recently.
It's easy, sometimes, to feel like the years between 2006-2011 never happened. Indie games blew up in the early 2010s, but when a developer had a breakout hit, it didn't really bring attention to their older, smaller games. If most people don't know about cactus, Messhof or Jwaap's old freeware games, what chance do mine have? So the list was nice in that it reminded people, briefly, about a weird, small game I made in 2009 (The title of which was inspired by pictures a friend of mine and I saw of a bunch of Indie devs at GDC wearing diapers and lifting each other in their arms). It was nice because it reminded me of a bunch of the other developers who were making cool stuff at that time. And it was nice because it reminded me that people are still making games like that, and reminded me to be on my toes more and play more freeware games.
John Langewisch (Lady Lyla)
Pretty much all my stuff is free at the moment. Downloads saw a small spike. But the game he featured was my favorite game I've made so far, even though it's small. It means a lot every time I see anyone resonate with it at all. Especially since this game was my first foray into anything that focused on player emotion. It was cool to see the effect it had on people. I've always appreciated moshboy's stance on finding the small weird games, and was honored that he chose me to be a part of that.
Dan Lance (Mystery House)
It is fantastic! It's great to see someone out there playing games like mine and thinking they're great enough to recommend. At the same time, seeing everything on the list has pushed me to work harder to create better and more interesting games. I'm so happy to have been a part of this amazing project and, while I hate to see it come to an end, I can't wait to see what he and everyone involved does next. Overall, it's been exciting to watch everything happen and made me realize the audience for tiny interesting games I was beginning to think no longer existed still does and is quite large.
Zenuell (The Woods Are Safe)
Being on Mosh's list I feel didn't do much for me sales-wise - me and my work saw marginally more attention than I'm use to seeing. However, I still recall the day I saw the tweet mention, with the attached gif of my game, The Woods Are Safe, at #507, half way through that list. I'd seen Mosh's list before and heard their enthusiasm for underappreciated creative works all over, but I was overwhelmed to be honest. I've been struggling with my work for a long time, and I really don't consider my games to be anything special, but I saw the tweet early in the morning sometime in October and it hit me hard; someone who championed something I really didn't think would ever be worth it, work that I only looked back on disappointed for what it could have been, but being on the list meant something I didn't expect.
It meant my work could be whatever it wanted to be, someone appreciated it for the things it tried to say with what it had, and I realized the game had became a frozen moment in time, showing who I was and where I was when I made it, I remembered struggles I had while creating it, the house I lived in, fears and hopes of the time, and when the game was done I had discarded them all, tried to move on and do something 'better' next time. But it showed up again that morning, on Mosh's list, and my work and memories came back and it wasn't someone trying to convince me it was good, or tell me the reasons it stands out, but instead it was quietly placed among other creators and titles that Mosh felt deserved the attention and admiration for any number of reasons. I felt like I mattered, which is so rare, just seeing it show up on the list was enough to remind me to keep going, that my work will always mean something to someone.
At a time when I never thought my work was worth anything, at a time when most of my endeavors were quiet things that just came and went. I'm so honored to have shown up on that list, I might not have gotten a lot of attention, and it may not have generated a lot of traffic, but what Mosh said just by putting it up there will always mean more to me than any amount of praise or attention, it means I matter as a creator, as a human, my work means something even if I don't see it at first, myself.
Ciara Burkett (orun)
I started following moshboy either before the thread or when it was first getting started. I didn't expect to be featured at all. As far as I know it didn't get me more Twitter followers or more donations, but it was very moving. Knowing there are people out there willing to give an obscure indie developer's glitched-out games a chance is a wonderful, motivating feeling!
Breogan Hackett (Live Run Die Shop)
To me, being in the thread was almost a reaffirmation of my thoughts on my own work. Yes, my games are small and weird, but I'm not alone in it. It really meant a lot to see my name alongside so many of the other talented people in the thread.
Mozz (Space Madness)
I didn't see much of a sales bump (the games on my profile were all free), but it was a huge honor to be included on the list - that someone had actually played my game. It was one of the first times that I really felt connected to the greater indie game 'scene'.
Jazz Mickle (Inez: Some Kinetic Samurai)
I don't currently sell any games, and the link through is just to my website, so I can't say I've received any sales through being featured. I'm a huge fan of moshboy's curation work, and it was a really nice thing to see getting featured on the list (especially so early on, too). At this point, having been a few years since I worked on any games, it was a cool reminder of the work I had previously done. I really respect the Herculean effort moshboy has done in not only this impressive list, but also in previous work like the Pirate Kart and various others.
Moshboy is a friend of mine from when we were both members of TIGsource, and I love his work collecting and promoting the weirdest and most esoteric work in games. It was a tremendous honor for him to include me in his list, because I don't consider myself nearly as good as the majority of the people he listed. It didn't affect me professionally, probably because I don't sell games and the games I have released are toys more than fun experiences, but it truly was an honor to be counted among so many talented, wonderful people.
Nox (Dayglow Empire)
Moshboy is probably the most dedicated aficionado of indie games, particularly quirky free ones, that I've ever seen, so we were honored to be included in the list. A thousand seems like a lot, but it's really just a small sampling of what's out there. I noticed that he actually recorded his own gif of our game for the post, which shows his respect for the things he's choosing to share. You mentioned how it affected us sales-wise and I just want to riff on that for a minute. Even front-page mentions from press don't often have a significant impact, on sales, so you can imagine what impact this could have had, but I doubt that sales were a major aspect of his intent. He's an archeologist.
John Wallie (Pac-Hunters)
It's silly to expect any popularity benefits from being in a list with hundreds of other people. However, it does make me happy to know that Moshboy respects me and my work and wanted to share it with other people, too.
Jack King-Spooner (Mitt and the Doll)
You see how much time and love is put into making and creativity, often without any reward other than the enjoyment that comes from the process. This thread really celebrates that. It's amazing to think that there are thousands of devs working on this scale; broken, ill-favored, ugly, difficult or irreverent games. I liked that he featured the most violent and unlovable of my games (Mitt and the Doll), the runt of the pack of runts.