So a few weeks ago I released Different, a short game about self-consciousness and first impressions. It’s a personal piece anchored in my experiences and perceptions.

Different Title

Different Title

At it’s core it’s a game about growing up as a non-white person in a predominantly white environment and how one’s perception of race changes slowly. In my case it’s the story of how constant encounters with casual racism made me more and more aware of the fact that I do look decidedly different from the “regular German”.

The most German kiddie picture of me I could find

The most German kiddie picture of me I could find

As a kid I was hardly ever confronted with racism of any kind, but the few instances that I did made the experience stand out strongly. Later in life the occurences have become a lot more frequent, if subtle. Nowadays it’s very common for me to meet someone for the first time, and then, within the first minutes, get asked about my origins.

It is this constant barrage of seemingly innocent questions (“Where are you from?”) and off-putting compliments (“Your German is really good!”) that has solidified in me the awareness of looking different. In the mind of my younger self, there was nothing that clearly separated me from anyone else. We were all different from one another, all in our own way.

In recent years these questions have started to frustrate me more and more, up to the point that I knew I wanted to build the game. It took a while from idea to execution but I am very happy with it. It’s an abstract game, that tries to recreate that experience and that slowly dawning realization, that you are seen as different.

Different Screenshot

Different Screenshot

With my growing awareness also came a frustration at being reduced to this part of me. This found it’s outlet in my answers to these remarks becoming increasingly curt and gruff. Something I’m struggling to let go again. Maybe the game is part of the process.

Touch of Death Free released

So we’ve had Touch of Death out in the wild for a good bunch of months now. Unfortunately the game didn’t really have any success so far. About 150 downloads in total. Even our change in graphics late last year didn’t change the numbers much. This is below what we expected, as we think the game is fun and engaging and can stand on it’s own.

Touch of Death Promo

We feel that the reason for the lack of success is primarily found in the fact that we chose to make the game a premium app. With so many free games out there it is hard to convince people to pay up front, before even having tried out the game. This only seems to work when there’s a hype, or when the game is an already proven IP (such as The Walking Dead, X-COM or anything from Vlambeer ;) ).

So to figure out if Touch of Death works better when it’s free, we have now released Touch of Death Free. It’s available on all major app stores for free, with a banner in the main menu and interstitials after each fight. Give it a try!

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