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March 8, 2011

6 Min Read

GDC 2011
Preshow   Monday I   Monday II  



Team Meat Presents: Feel Sorry for Awesome Us
1:45-2:45    Edmund McMillen, Tommy Refenes

Edmund and Tommy let audience overhear a conversation between them.

Disclaimer: I have submitted games to IGF each year since 2004.


Edmund not physically here - he's projected via Skype.
Tommy: We're doing non traditional because... because we can and it's what we do.
Note: Meatboy a traditional 2D platformer.

Edmund (to Tommy): I had no doubts this would work.
Tommy (to Edmund): Me neither.
These guys are very cool.

While Edmund speaks, Tommy interjects:
Tommy (to laptop): yeah
Tommy: yeh
Tommy (nodding to himself): yes
Tommy: hmmm...

Tommy: Yeah... we had ummm... when we first started Meatboy... i had it running on XBox before anything else... had it running on that before the Wii. Thinking about it - if we put it on everything, I'd be dead. I almost died doing this version.

Tommy: The game started in Feb. 2009... what year is it?
Edmund: ... didn't touch the game for 6 months.
E & T spend the next few minutes trying to clarify dates with themselves.
Since both are ignoring audience, I'm unsure who is cooler.
Edmund is certainly funnier and more charming,
but Tommy is really cocky and full of himself.

Tommy: I spent 2 months refining controls!
Tone indicates Tommy felt this was an impressively long time. Unsure why.

Edmund's giant head now facing right - he's looking at Tommy.
Tommy remains glued to laptop screen, ignoring both Edmund and audience.

Edmund: Someone at Microsoft fought hard for us...
Tommy (to laptop): yeah
Edmund: ... it was quite a fight.
Tommy: yeh
Edmund: We were fighting really fucking hard just to get what we had.
IGS checklist: fuck checkbox ticked.
Tommy (nodding to himself): yes

One of the things that really helped us... i already had it running.
I'm one of those people that keeps having arguments with people in my head.
Microsoft was concerned about 1 programmer bringing the game to 2 platforms.
Kept reminding everyone it only took him 4 days to port Meatboy to PS3.
Neglected to mention he started with a cross platform engine he spent years perfecting.

Regarding IGF


Edmund: One of the reasons I'm not there right now is... every year the IGF is sleepless nights for months. The whole IGF last year was really stressful for us, because people kept coming up to us and saying "I was a judge but didn't vote for you because you didn't need it."
Edmund overcame stress to perform a mute Kanye at the IGF awards.

Tommy: I'm a diabetic. Any kind of stress destroys me. We had a console deal but no money... we needed the vote. Note: E & T never stated that their 2D platformer should have beaten the wildy innovative winner. They only heavily implied it.

Edmund: We stressed out about not getting into the IGF... after getting into the IGF, it solved nothing. The IGF situation was very stressful... friends thought we shouldn't have entered. Note: Super Meat Boy was a finalist for the "IGF 2010 Seumas McNally Grand Prize" and "IGF 2010 Excellence in Audio". Finalists attract both media coverage and publisher interest. Every finalist receives 2 free GDC tickets ($4,000 value).

Tommy: People keep forgetting that I haven't won shit. Note: Tommy won the Intel 2008 Demo Contest for Goo!. $12,500 Prize + GDC 2009 Pass ($2000) + other stuff. Also placed 3rd in the graphics category ($3,000).

Edmund: Both the IGF and GDC fucked with our deadline.
E & T also lamented Microsoft's free E3 booth offer.

From the Rock Paper Shotgun Archives:
[Are you] pleased to be nominated?
Tommy: "I'm excited as hell to be nominated"
Edmund: "I'm honored to be nominated for the grand prize again, it's been 5 years since Gish and I honestly thought getting into this position again would be an impossible feat for me to achieve."

Making Games is Hard


Does Mr. T pity Edmund & Tommy?

The Microsoft Game Feast promotion deadline.
Tommy: I will die AFTER this date is done. It's okay if I die after.
Edmund: There was so much pressure, it's really hard to convey.
Tommy: If you don't get into this MS promotion, the next promotion is 6 months away.
Tommy: I had negative 853 dollars at this point.
Edmund: They were asking us to finish in 2 months what should take 4 months.
There are 350+ games available on XBLA. Only a select few get extra promotion from MS.

Edmund: This isn't an overexageration... for the last 2 months, Tommy and I never took a day off... and we had 5 hours of sleep a day."
Most game devs dream of crunching for only 2 months.
See: Every article ever written on game development.
Also See: Every dev sitting in the audience.

Edmund felt awful that a lot of the final work fell on Tommy's shoulders. Edmund would never voluntarily go through that again. If someone gave him the option of doing it again, and experiencing the same success (millions of dollars) he wouldn't do it.
These men are heroes...

Tommy had to fix bugs.
It was hard.
So hard his parents made him dinner every night.
So hard he listened to music.
... heroes.

Part 2



Edmund: Should i go into part 2 Tommy?
Tommy: Please go into part 2.
Summary: Woe is us.

Despite all that hard work, Microsoft did nothing to promote us.
Hard not to take it personally.
Would never be part of a promotion like this again.
Free E3 booth already forgotten. Googling "game feast microsoft" returns 47,800 results.

SMB sold 400,000 copies.

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