Pixel Prioritised: McPixel Steam Greenlight Interview

By Adam Smith on September 27th, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

McPixel has exploded onto Steam and is the first game to reach Valve’s storefront through the Greenlight process. There’s a feature about the indies and Steam coming later, courtesy of Nathan who has been visiting Fantastic Arcade where he was witness to a Valve panel all about Greenlight. I didn’t go to Fantastic Arcade but I did wake up at 7.30 this morning, endure the difficult commute from my bed to my computer and put on my Serious Journalist Hat. Primed and ready, I sent a list of very important and serious questions to Sos Sosowski about being the Armstrong of indies: the first man on Greenlight.

RPS: Is being the first game processed through Steam Greenlight the most important event of your life?

Sosowski: Haha, well, perhaps not as much being the first, as getting on Steam at all! It is a great achievement for every indie developer! After several failed attempts of submitting to Steam by pitching the game directly to Valve, I saw the Greenlight announcement, and thought ‘This! This is just perfect!’. At some point I realised that McPixel would have never made it through Valve’s QA process, or any QA process at all. Just think about it. You launch the game, and there’s a Brain Damage warning, then there’s a guy pissing on dynamite and he blows up, then a giant rock falls onto him crushing him, then he assaults an old man reading a book and kicks a baby in the butt. And that’s before the game even starts! And then.. well, then it really starts!

RPS: Hmmmm…most QA departments I know hate babies’ butts and literate old men. They would approve. Do you have any understanding as to the arcane machinations that led to McPixel being first?

Sosowski: Well, it is the only 100% finished and already published game from the 10 that got greenlit from what I can tell. I guess that’s what led to it!

RPS: If Steam were a comment thread under a blogpost, would you actually write ‘first’ there? If not, what would you write?

Sosowski: That totally crossed my mind. But when McPixel was launched on Steam I got into “WOoooooooowoOOOOOoOooOOOoOooo12!!1!!!111!!1!!!!! IT’S ON!” mode and totally forgot about that.

RPS: Does this mean McPixel is officially the most loved indie game in the world, ever? The people have spoken, or at least they have clicked on a button.

Sosowski: Haha, I don’t think that’s the case. It’s more of recognised than loved. The game kind of shoves the McPixel logo over 1000 times in your face during a usual playthrough, so it won’t let you forget about itself easily :) .

RPS: I think ‘what was the first game on Steam Greenlight’ will be a pub quiz question in years to come. How does it feel that McPixel is going to be the answer to a question in an imaginary pub quiz that as of now only exists in my mind? Pretty good, I bet.

Sosowski: Man, it’s going to be a million dollar question in “Who wants to be a Millionaire’. That is because no one will remember the answer :)

RPS: How did you celebrate? A particular drink, dance or dinner? By exploding?

Sosowski: I celebrated by replying to 346367345676 emails I got as soon as it was out. But seriously, I did not have any time to even think about how to celebrate! But I plan to do so during the weekend. There’s a local gaming expo called Poznan Game Arena. I didn’t have a budget for a stand there, but I will just put on my McPixel outfit again, take a ghettoblaster with McPixel theme recorded on the tape and roam the expo making sure everyone knows McPixel is out on Steam!

RPS: Was there any communication with Valve during the process, or did you find out when everybody else did?

Sosowski: I actually kept shamelessly nagging Valve about McPixel even during the Greenlight voting. I tried different approaches of pitching McPixel to them before and during Greenlight. One time I wrote a ‘terribly business email’ describing advantages of putting McPixel on Steam and I was awfully serious throughout it and in the end I included this “chart that sums all the advantages”

RPS: It’s a compelling argument.

Sosowski: Other than that, I got to know around the time everyone else did.

RPS: Thanks for your time!

McPixel is available on Steam for £3.99. You can also buy direct.

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28 Comments »

  1. thristhart says:

    For me, the really amazing thing is that a game that started out as a Ludum Dare entry is now the first ever game on Steam via Greenlight. And Sos has been amazing about it throughout.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think it’s great when any of those short-term gamejam games get developed further after the event. It just takes that “scribble anything” craziness and injects it into the more stable game community.

      Even 7DFPS gave us innovation in one of the blandest of genres.

  2. povu says:

    Oh my god, McPixel! A bomb!

  3. qrter says:

    Isn’t FTL the first game to hit the storefront through Greenlight?

  4. sirdavies says:

    Sos=awesome

  5. Matzerath says:

    It warms the cockles of my heart to see McPixel on Steam. It’s like McPixel figured out the most difficult puzzle all by himself. Cockles.

  6. Atic Atac says:

    BOOM

  7. Savagetech says:

    Hey AAA publishers, the developer who promoted his game on The Pirate Bay was the first to get his game distributed for real money. What were your arguments about piracy ruining sales again?

    • VileJester says:

      Yep, I was about to mention that too.

    • Buckermann says:

      But it’s completely different for the big publishers!
      Why? Because I said so!!!

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I downloaded his game for free off his official PirateBay torrent. I’m definitely not going to pay any money for it now that I got it for free (and he even approved of me getting it for free).

      I have however paid good money for the other 200+ games I have on Steam quite happily and will continue to do so.

      • ldgonza says:

        Your point being, payment is only a barrier between you and something, so you would only consider spending any money if you needed to lift that barrier, so whenever you can get some content for free, you will ant that’s the end of it. At the very least, this discourages the very behavior that benefited you with a free game.

        DRM advocates would have us believe everyone behaves exactly like you do. Thanks to McPixel for being an excellent, undeniable example that this is just NOT true.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Nope you couldn’t be more wrong. But carry on with the good old internet straw man arguments.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          I think in this case it isn’t that payment is a barrier that he bypassed or something. It was a legit free game, not a pirated retail game. Just because someone downloaded McPixel from Piratebay doesn’t mean they would download “cracked” or “pirated” games there. McPixel’s piratebay torrent was an official release.

          So I agree… why would I pay for something that is legitimately free?

  8. zeroskill says:

    I’m a little bit confused here. I thought Greenlight was supposed to be horrible failure. Or so certain internet would-be celebrities told me. Curious indeed.

    Also, there have been assumptions that niche games wouldn’t stand a chance on Greenlight, what happend to that.

    And now, come October 15, the next batch of games that will make it on Steam will be announced. What is this sorcery, this surely must be devil’s work.

    • Suits says:

      Greenlight is just very unclear about what qualifies as an entry on the Steam Store, while the whole idea was to make this more accessible than the coventional way.

      • zeroskill says:

        What exactly about “have a fanbase of some description” or ” be popular to some extend/use your creativity to get noticed” is unclear to you?

        Just look at what Sos did, he got in contact with TPB and they featured him on the front page, while Sos also let people play his game for free. This is very clever and Valve was noticing that. You don’t just get a checklist to get on to their platform. This isn’t primary school.

  9. tomeoftom says:

    Oh man the chart is the best.

  10. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    Sorry, but I’ll wait for this to come to Android.
    No disrespect to PC intended, there’s just nothing to play on sodding Android, and this looks reasonably amusing.

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