Creating games is fun. I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. It’s not something I ever imagined I would be doing, but I found myself rather absorbed in the whole process once everything got going and I can say quite assuredly that it’s the most fun job I’ve ever had. But with all the creative validation a job like this can give you, there is no escaping the stress that comes from trying to produce something with integrity. As I mentioned before, gaming is such a broadly painted environment to the point where there are literally games about everything and, in essence, for everyone, and so when we started this company we knew that not every game we made would appeal to every audience, but you still want every game you produce to have a level of integrity that makes you proud of it.
Achieving that takes time, patience and some sleepless nights.
When Stolen Treasures was initially conceived, it was a fun little game that had merit, but it was missing something. This was a few years ago, before doyouknowmygame.com was established, and so it sat around waiting for a melding of the minds, so-to-speak. With a fresh look at an interesting concept, Stolen Treasures undertook a reimagining and that missing something was found.
In its initial stages, Stolen Treasures focused on thieves stealing nameless/faceless art pieces. This was fun, but it lacked the enticement of authenticity. By shifting perspective and focusing now on retrieving legitimate stolen works of art, Stolen Treasures finally came into its own.
In the sometimes annoying words of my father; “It took it to another level.”
This new take on the game was a vast improvement, but it wasn’t as easy as saying it. Hours, days, weeks, months of research went into finding famous art pieces, artifacts, gold and the like that had actually been stolen, and not just that but had interesting and exciting stories to go along with those thefts.
But, like with anything, something is bound to get missed.
When Stolen Treasures had finally made it to the production stage, everything seemed like smooth sailing. We could all breathe a sigh of relief and move on to preparing other aspects of the company. One of those aspects was our website, which needed some TLC. It was decided that we wanted to make our Game Pages in particular full bodied and fun, and one thing we thought would be really neat would be to have condensed versions of the actual theft stories so everyone could read about what really happened to these ‘stolen treasures’. This is where those sleepless nights came in. Hours of reading news stories about heists and break-ins and robberies and stakeouts produced a lot of interesting information to share with our readers (and you can read it all here) but it also sent us into a panic when it was discovered that two of the treasures we had chosen for the game were not actually stolen. When you are claiming a level of authenticity on the game you are producing, you can’t afford something like this. It takes away from that integrity you strive to achieve.
What made this whole discovery even more stressful was the fact that a) the proofs had already been approved and the game was going to press and b) Dennis was on a cruise and nearly impossible to get a hold of. That left Gary and myself to make some quick decisions. Finding out that the game had not hit press yet was a relief, but we needed to make whatever changes were going to be made quickly, get new artwork produced by our graphic artist and get it over for proof approval ASAP otherwise we were going to lose valuable production time and push back our launch date. One of the treasures was an easy fix, but the other not so much.
King Tut’s Mask was not just on a card, but on the box design as well, and getting that redesigned was not going to be a quick process.
The executive decision had to be made to keep King Tut’s Mask in the game and try and salvage authenticity by…spinning a yarn? Not exactly. In our research it was discovered that the mask, while never actually stolen, was reported to have stolen when thieves broke into the Egyptian Museum of Cairo back in 2011. Those reports were debunked shortly thereafter, but it was enough for us. We can call this one an ‘almost stolen treasure’ and keep our schedule. Disaster averted by a false report.
And we can breathe easy once more…at least until the next hiccup!