Fame -- makes a man take things over
Lets him loose and hard to swallow
Puts you there, where things are hollow
Fame, fame, fame, fame...
David Bowie / John Lennon (1975)
Humility is not a prerequisite for success in the game development
industry. In fact, while being humble may endear you to family members,
it will do very little to further your career. In this industry, the
illusion of greatness is nearly as important as true greatness.
Have you ever heard of a guy by the name of Michael Abrash? Have you
ever stopped to wonder why you have heard of Michael Abrash?
Is it because there are no other programmers in the world of Michael's
caliber? Or is it because Michael is a master of self-promotion?
Think about it. Maybe Michael has something more to teach us than
just how to be a great programmer. Maybe by observing Michael, we can
pick up a few tips on becoming famous as well.
Increasing Your Name Recognition
Put Your Name On It
Put your name on everything! Use big letters. Use
bright colors. Carry it to extremes. Make your name the first thing
If listing yourself as the author of a game isn't satisfying
enough for you, you can also incorporate your name as part of the
title. My casino game is not called
3D Casino Las Vegas
, it is called
Diana Gruber's 3D Casino Las Vegas.
Similarly, experts may advise against naming your company after
yourself, but Ted and I have never regretted calling our company
Ted Gruber Software, Inc.
I don't suppose Peter Norton regrets founding Peter Norton Computing,
Put Your Picture On It
People respond to human faces. If they see your picture in a
magazine, on a box, or on a web page, they will pause a moment longer
than they might have otherwise. They may even stop long enough to
see what you have to say. They will have an urge to get to know the
person associated with the face.
You can carry this to extremes as well. Once I wrote an article
for Visual Developer magazine. The article was about color
reduction. I color-reduced my own face. The result was 7 pictures of
Diana in one magazine. Not bad.
Another thing I did was trade web banners with the
Link Exchange. I put
my picture on the banner. Then I bought 120,000 more banners. Just
think, 120,000 people will see my name and my face on the Internet.
Even if they don't buy my software, they will remember me. If they
see one of my games in the future, they will assume because they
have heard of me before, my software must be good.
This means, get reviews. Submit your game, along with press
releases, to everybody and everything you can think of. The web is
a fabulous resource for this. Poke around on the web, and find anybody
who who appears to be the least bit interested, and tell them about your
game. If it looks like they can help you, send them a review copy.
Don't neglect traditional media either. Send press releases and
disks to magazine editors.
Awards are an excellent source of publicity. Nominate your software
for as many awards as possible. Some suggestions: The Ziff Davis Shareware
Awards, Computer Gaming World's Game of the Year Awards, The shareware
industry's SAIC awards, and awards presented at CGDC and E3.
Be a Writer
If you can't get people to write about you, then you can always
write something yourself. There must be some area of expertise where
you have some information you can share. Pitch your ideas to your
favorite editor. If you don't get a nibble, write for newsletters.
Even writing web page reviews helps. Whatever you write, be sure your
name is on it. Try to get paid for it, too.
Personally, I hate this. I find standing before an audience
terribly intimidating. But I do it, occasionally. I know it is good
To speak at a convention or trade show, you need to submit a
proposal to the proper committee at the proper time. Don't wait for
an invitation. Seek out opportunities, and promote yourself.
Be sure you have something interesting to say. Be well prepared.
Try not to be nervous. Good luck.
Make Web Pages
See this? This is a web page. Notice my name at the bottom of the
page. Do you think this web site is going to help me in my quest for
increased name recognition? Well, it isn't going to hurt me much, that's
The trick to making web pages is to come up with something people
are actually interested in. Another collection of links isn't going to
impress very many people. But the web is hungry for original content.
If you have something to say, then by all means create a web page to
And don't forget, every game you write needs a web page. Make it a
good web page, with colors and graphics and screen shots. Put a little
pizzazz into your web page. And be sure to put your name on it.
If you are having trouble getting to know people in the game
development community, then try joining one of the several organizations
that have been formed. My personal favorite is
IGDN, but there are others that may suit you. Don't be afraid to do
more than just join. Volunteer to help. Work on committees. Propose ideas.
Write for the newsletter. Run for office.
Keep your goals in mind
There are two kinds of name recognition which will benefit you,
name recognition within the industry, and name recognition among the
general public. Your goal is to achieve both. You want your customers
to recognize your name and buy your games. You want publishers, producers,
and peers to recognize your name and offer you opportunities. Plan your
self-promotion campaign with both audiences in mind.
Opportunities present themselves to game developers constantly.
Look for opportunities to further your career, and also increase your
name recognition. Don't be shy about taking advantage of opportunities
that are presented to you. If anybody accuses you of being a glory hog,
tell them Diana made you do it.
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Copyright © 1997, 2000 Ted Gruber Software, Inc. All Rights Reserved.