Optisocubes – 30 days later and a Curious Event


Around thirty days ago, I uploaded optisocubes onto itch.io (@itchio), ‘an open marketplace for independent game creators’.

As per usual, I posted the link on facebook and twitter, and wrote a little about it on here. The first day, it was pretty clear that a handful of my close friends had taken a look at the game. However, on the second day I found, much to my surprise, that the game had be put on the itch.io latest featured games list, on their front page.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 17.04.33

My views for that day reached 189, far greater than my previous two itch.io accessible games FoxStar and Bright:Knight:Kite:Fight, to be honest I was pretty pleased and excited. My game got a small number of nice responses on twitter from people I had no connection to.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 11.04.41

Over the next couple of days, things generally calmed down, I was averaging around 40 views a day with a few peaks above 50 and some lows of around 20. All relatively good I thought. Comments came in about the game slowly (twitter search: optisocubes), three people sent me the amount of moves it took for them to complete it, so I at least know some people managed to finish it. I also sorted some minor issues with the games, animations and making sure it worked in most browsers.

One major improvement I made to the game was to make it playable on mobile devices using swipe controls, at the loss of being able to save your progress and come back to play it. This was the first time I had implemented touch controls on one of my games and it was really nice to be able to show people the game on my phone, even if it was only through the browser and not an app.

Being relatively pleased with how the game had been received I planned to write a post about it, which would have looked similar to what is above, however something strange started to happen.

Yesterday (2 July), just around lunch time I decided to check how many people had been viewing the game, and it was about 150, almost as high as the first day itch.io had it in their featured game list. Then I refreshed and it crept up by another 10. After I got back from lunch it kept getting higher. So much so, that I thought there was clearly something wrong with the data. There was no clear indication where these views were coming from. I could not find anything on twitter or through google which gave me any clue. By the end of the night my views chart looked like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 00.57.26

There were a total of 1267 views for that day, I still presumed there was some sort of fault. After a little bit of rummaging online I think I found what caused the peak. I managed to find a link to a daily news letter from EmeraldStreet (@EmeraldStreet), which you can read in full here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 00.25.28

They posted a little section about the game in their In Other News section:

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 00.20.36


Somewhere on our travels through the internet we came across a clever game designed by first year students of game art at the University of Auckland. To play Optisocubes, press the key named at the top of the screen to guide the cube onto the blue highlighted square. After you hit the fourth level things start getting trickier. Hint – try changing your perspective on things (think about it being upside-down).

From looking at their twitter and facebook accounts it is apparent that they have a large enough readership to account for that days exceptionally high number of views. They have also written some pretty nice words about the game, so at least someone at their office appears to have enjoyed it.

but hang on one minute…

“designed by first year students of game art at the University of Auckland”

(Please read the following in a calm tone, I’m not angry just confused) I assure you that this game was not design by first year students of game art at the University of Auckland. It was designed and made by me. It actually really sucks to have your hard work and effort credited to someone else, something I have not really experienced before. I do not think it would take much of a look on google to find out who the game creator was, it is not some hidden secret.

Additionally there does not seem (I may be wrong) to be a game arts course at the University of Auckland, there is a minor course titled Game and Play Design at Auckland University of Technology. This information just makes the whole thing all the stranger. I cannot fathom why the game has been credited to a fictional course. This accreditation must have originated somewhere, but I doubt I’ll ever know where.

I guess these things happen all the time, some sort of loss of communication at some point, not that it really excuses it, just always be wary of everything you read it’s most likely written by fallible people. I’ve tried to contact EmeraldStreet via twitter to correct them, but so far have had no response, which is a bit of a shame, I hold no grudge just want to help correct their misinformation, I’m genuinely pleased they decided to include the game in the news letter.

Edit: EmeraldStreet have since, retweeted the link with me credited, thank you to them for their understanding.

In the end some more people had a chance to look at and play my game, who may not have had any reason to come across it on their usual trawls through the internet, and that is always a good thing.

If you have not had a chance to play optisocubes yet, why not have a play.


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