When your average person kills time on social media they heart pictures of dogs, gently stalk the pages of their crushes and argue with anime avatars. When author Nate "Frog Croakley (opens in new tab)" Crowley did it, he created a tweetstorm, a thousand fictional games and now, a book.
"I really just thought this was going to last for an afternoon, to be honest with you," says Crowley. He admits that he was probably doing it just to try and avoid a writing deadline.
Ok, why not. One like = one fictional video game.December 5, 2016
It all started with a simple tweet, last December, offering one made up game title for one like. That tweet went viral and spawned beautiful ideas like Bastard Sword, Jurassic Park Accountant and Grief Cops. People just kept sharing and liking the tweets, and Crowley ended up coming up with over a thousand ideas. The newly published 100 Best Video Games (That Never Existed) (opens in new tab) is available now and preserves a chunk of them for prosperity, adding more detail and concept art to some of the most promising ideas. Find out more about the premise for Komodo Flagons, or the grim post-capitalist landscape of Monopoly Aftermath.
"The moment of delighted horror for me was when people who I'd never met in my life started retweeting me with the words 'fave this so he has to do it forever,'" laughs Crowley. "Which had an element of foreboding to it."
After Buzzfeed (opens in new tab) covered the story, even making its own mock up packaging for some of the games, Crowley joked with his agent about turning the game ideas into a book. Eventually his agent came round to the idea, and the book was snapped up by game studio - and Sniper Elite (opens in new tab) creator - Rebellion, which happens to have a publishing imprint in Abaddon Books.
"We only signed the deal in March and we had to have the whole book finished by June," says Crowley. "It was really hardcore because each game has about 500 words of text with it. Then there are 20 full-length feature articles in the book as well." Crowley also had to brief all the artists for the illustrations to accompany his mad ideas. He calls the process "fantastically chaotic."
When he's not going viral, Crowley is the author of the Schneider Wrack series of dark science-fiction novels. The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack is the latest in the series, also published by Abaddon. This accidental project has a special place in his heart though. "This was probably the most enjoyable professional experience of my life," he says. That might have had something to do with the subject matter, like trying to explain his visions for a first person shooter called Hungry Hungry Hippos Crisis or the mysterious The Wolf School Prophecies.
His personal favorites in the book? Thomas The War Engine, "imagine Horizon Zero Dawn but with trains." Frankly, it sounds amazing. "I'm waiting for someone to do a gamejam of them," says Crowley of his ideas. "That would be a dream come true."
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