Why I Updated an Old Game

This is about the reasons behind my decision to rebuild a four year old game, when I knew it won't make me a lot of new profit.


It was a cold and blustery day that autumn of 2012 (I’m guessing that's true, because I live in PA). I had just graduated college, and was having a lot of success with a few small hidden object games. I had made those games by hacking photos apart and pasting them back together in GIMP. Lets just say that I was a bit naive and beginning to think that money just grew on Android trees.


I decided I was going to make a AAA worthy game for mobile, a bridge builder called The Trail West. I even wrote a blog while doing it:


The Trail West is our first mad scrabble for the gold. What is the gold? It’s a gold award review on PlayAndroid, millions of downloads, and getting so filthy rich we can start our fireplaces with 100 dollar bills!


Wow, I realize that was only about 4 years ago, but it still makes me a bit nauseous reading what I was like!


Long story short, I built that game. It had a lot of bugs. It was downloaded a bit over 200,000 times on Android. I ended up making so little from it that I gave up developing my own games for almost 3 years.


Current Day

    In May 2015, I was laid off from my job at a local factory. I started back with game development, this time I am working as a programming contractor for almost anyone who will hire me.

    On the side, I rebuilt that game using Unity. I got rid of all of the bugs I could find, and in general made it a bit more fun to play. I cut a major amount of the ads in the game, now only with an ad showing at the end of every other level. I relaunched the game on Android and Windows, knowing that I will most likely make almost no money from it. It took me about 2 weeks. From a business standpoint, I wasted around $2,400 in opportunity costs. At the time of this post, I have earned about $11.88 from it. It was a stupid move in that respect.


Why I Did It

    Basically, I was ashamed of the game. Sure, it didn’t make me enough money to stick with development, but 200,000 people played it. I left them high and dry with dozens of little bugs. Nowadays I like to think of my game development as art. I realize now that if you take the approach of just wanting to make billions of dollars, you will fail. Take care of your customers, create the best experience for them that you can, and you will succeed.

    How could I possibly live (and work) by that new mantra, and not fix up the broken old elephant in my history? In the end, making enough money to take care of my family, and building things I am proud of is all that matters to me. Rebuilding that old game, even though I won’t make money from it and nobody will probably play it now, takes care of that second point for me. Hopefully my future projects will take care of the first.

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