Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Nitrome Games: Action Puzzle with a Novel Mechanic
“Most of our games would fall in the category of action puzzle games,” says Annal. “We do, with each of our
games, though, try to find a hook that will make the game stand out from what's out there. Usually that takes
the form of some original idea or mechanic. We try to let the idea dictate the rest of the game, so the visuals
get designed to fit the mechanic. [This is] possibly partly why a lot of our games are quite abstract in theme,
because there is no other logical way to make it fit the mechanic. We also do a lot of sci fi-themed games for
the same reason.”
Nitrome Games's Key Design Feature: Unified,
Identifiable Style
“We were very conscious early on that we would build an audience if we continued to put out quality games, but
only if they realized that several games they liked were made by the same people,” continues Annal. “To make
that happen we had to make sure that all the games were of a high quality, but it was also important to build in
some consistent hooks that would get the player's attention. The most obvious thing we did was get behind a
consistent pixel style throughout all our games, but we did some more individual things, too. One of the most
striking things is probably the intro we give to each of our games where we show the Nitrome logo. (More on
that in Chapter 8.)
The Cost of Launching Nitrome, the Business
“I was very lucky in that the equipment and skills that we needed to be able to start were already there, and be-
cause all the work was done from home at first, there really were no startup costs. I knew I had enough money
to support myself for six months saved up, so that was really the only safety net in place. But if it didn't work
out there was always the option of doing work for hire or going back into the workforce and getting a job at an
agency or games studio somewhere, so the risk was minimal,” says Annal.
“The first game I produced made enough money to cover making it, so a second was made and made a
slightly larger profit. By the third game, I struck a multigame deal with Miniclip to sponsor upcoming games,
which made it more profitable and provided security to grow.”
Nitrome's Turning Point: Big Partnership
“We had a pretty consistent deal in place with Miniclip, which would fund a new game to get produced roughly
every four to six weeks,” explains Annal. “One day we got a call out of the blue from MTV, and they basically
said they wanted the same thing as we were doing for Miniclip for their arcade section on the MTV site. We
didn't have the manpower at that point to do their deal as well, and we were happy with our Miniclip setup, but
it was an offer too good to pass up.
“So we took the opportunity to take on two staff members to do the extra games. This led to us having games
on our site a lot more often, and as some of the games weren't available on a single other site, there was finally
a unique reason to visit our site, and we saw our traffic shoot up. Soon we were making as much money from
the ads on our site as we were from the licensing/sponsorship money that we got from MTV and Miniclip and
that gave us our independence, so I would say that was the turning point.”
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