We’ve talked to Chris Germano before in respect to his marketing project currently title “Project Dogmeat“. However, Chris recently told us a pretty fascinating story about a game he developed a few years back called Mustdashe. It was so interesting that we asked him to expand on the story a bit, and share it with our audience.
The Story of Mustdashe
By Developer Chris Germano
In November 2014 I took part in 7DFPS, a game jam where teams and individuals around the world created fun and innovative first-person shooters in a week. As a designer who greatly values the importance of game jams, I did my best to participate despite several prior obligations. In two nights I designed and developed Mustdashe: a funny little game that wound up teaching me a lot about taking chances and seizing opportunities.
At its core, Mustdashe is a first-person arcade-like experience where the player has sixty seconds to punch mustaches on various objects and people for points. Yes, punch mustaches. Without introduction or explanation, the player has the ability to create and apply mustaches to any surface they hit, which rewards them with a number of points and an encouraging message based on the target. Punching the same target repeatedly rewards a decreasing number of points, so exploring the environment is key.
After two days of work, the game was completed and shared across a handful of social networks. Ultimately, nothing came of it…
..or so I thought.
It wasn’t until August 2016 that I even thought about the game again.
Much to my surprise, I received a message on the Itch.io Mustdashe page for contact information and permission to use in television programming. I was convinced this was either spam or a scam, but I wasn’t worried about anyone doing too much harm with the game. I responded, and was sent a contract to look over. I often deal with contracts and know what to look for when it comes to ownership and liability, and everything seemed to check out. I went with my gut and sent back a signed copy, only for nothing to happen for several months.
Three months later, I received an email from a programming director thanking me for my interest in participating in the show, and that they were likely moving forward with using my game. At this point I still wasn’t sure who I was talking to or who they represented. All I knew was that if it was a scam, it was surely an elaborate one. Soon after the first email, I learned that Mustdashe was being considered for a Disney XD television program and will appear in the first season of a new show in Summer 2017. Needless to say, I was stunned. How could my little game attract that kind of attention?
I quickly discovered that a lot had happened right under my nose.
Back in January 2015, famous YouTuber PewDiePie featured Mustdashe in a video and referenced it in the title. This, combined with several other YouTube videos, generated well over 5 million views. I checked my Itch.io dashboard and discovered that the page had been viewed over 100,000 times, with a stunning 50% conversion rate. How could that much exposure go completely unnoticed?
Mustdashe will be featured on Disney XD’s Parker Plays on August 26, 2017, and in celebration, I have been developing a sequel for release that morning (you heard it here first, folks)! Since Mustdashe has long left the social spotlight, I have been sharing its story in anticipation of the TV spot. There are so many amazing indie games released on a daily basis, how many have already missed their peak? How do you “save” a missed opportunity like this? It’s simple: create more opportunities.
Every time you create, every time you write, every time you share, you create opportunities for yourself to build something amazing. Like compound interest, you can start small and start young and invest in yourself and your work. If you truly love making games, never stop. Unless you really have to, don’t make games for anyone but yourself. Take chances with being ridiculous and experimental, and share your story. Even if you realize your success “too late”, it’s never too late to improve past work and help others going through the same thing. Nothing guarantees success, but you can always affect how much you gain from your experiences.
Have fun, take chances, and pay attention. There’s always more to discover.
Our sincere thanks to Chris for sharing this story and his insight. You can find Mustdashe here if you’re eager to give it a try.