20,000 views on Itch.io I Can't Even

Over the past three years I’ve published 7 games to Itch.io under the name Wickedly, and yesterday I and everyone who worked on those projects passed 20,000 views lifetime, and HECK that’s a big number, so I wanted to celebrate and also look into what I’ve learned so far.

There’s been a big surge lately thanks to the success of JetHack, which as of writing has almost 2,500 views and 1,250 downloads — not bad considering it was a Global Game Jam entry, cobbled together over a bleary-eyed weekend. What’s most crazy to me is that our cyberpunk jet-packing hack-a-thon has a conversion rate of 50% — every other person who looks at the game downloads it — which is better than I’ve ever had for any of my projects.

JetHack

The whole idea of setting up an Itch.io page to publish games while still in school came about entirely because me and my friend Connor simply couldn’t wait for the designated classes to start making games, so we started out making our own with any time we could spare. The first result of that was SKÓGUTH which… hasn’t “aged” well but heck if it isn’t effective. (I was just learning how to do sound design, so RIP headphone users I guess, sorry not sorry.)

Skoguth

We wanted to learn and succeed and fail publicly, and we wanted something to show — a trail that we could point to and see how far we’d come. Every game I’ve put out has been a monumental learning experience for me, and while I wish there was even more work there, I can say that what is there I’m pretty proud of — even though like most creators I can’t help but see the flaws first. Any success I have in the future is in large part owed because I spent the time learning to work with others on all these uniquely wonderful projects.

FrienderBender

We’ve gotten some good feedback, some helpful critique, and some really weird reactions to the work, but really it’s amazing that we got any feedback at all. Last year there were 68,000 projects published on Itch.io, which makes the glut of games on Steam released per year look rather paltry; getting any slice of a cake that gigantic cake is a win in my book. (There’s a whole other essay that I could write about how Itch.io has single-handedly enabled so many thousands of creators its mind-boggling. If I meet anyone who works there I’m going to hug them.)

Here’s some data and observations about all this:

I definitely want to shout out and give thanks to everyone who has worked on any of the games I’ve published, because none of these projects would exist without them, and I deeply respect them as makers and collaborators and as friends and damn they’re just really good at what they do: Connor Botts, Delton Hulbert, Nathan Wentworth, Emily Muller, Christopher Cornford, Kenneth Howell, Sheamus Crowley, Dakota Lyons, Lucas Remington, Marissa Tautiva, Sabrina Velez, Adam Chop, Joey Canney, and obviously my cats Lily and Arlo.

There should be more coming (ideally I’m finishing up a personal project in just a few weeks and sticking that up there), but for now it’s deeply satisfying to look at the interactive experiences me and my friends have gotten to make and say “Wow, we made all that, and I’m just getting started.”