i’m a game maker
hi! hopefully you’re here after just playing my new game, A Curse From Beyond. this is the story of how that game came to be.
i’ve been playing games since 1994, when i was a toddler. i’m not sure when i realized i wanted to make one, but i do remember a specific moment in my high school journalism class when i thought to myself, “man it would be really cool to get invited to E3.” if “1994” didn’t date me, then surely my placing significance on E3 does. it used to be really cool.
i was going to be a journalist and pursue a job at IGN or something, but college tuition at good journalism schools chased me away. i decided “cheap” and “close to home” would be my main criteria for selecting a college as a depressed and anxious 19 year old with no plan. i trudged into orientation at a state university in iowa. seeing that the “computer science” major’s line was much shorter than the “undecided” major’s line, my path was forged in passivity.
i had always figured that at some point i would make a videogame. after college i had jobs in software development that always left me short up for free time. i had a handful of ideas that i’d messed with and developed janky prototypes for, but never found anything worth sacrificing work hours or social hours or gaming hours for. i tried making a metroid-vania style 2D shooter inspired by Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series that proved to be far too ambitious and never saw anything approaching serious development. i tried to make an educational tower defense game based off of the human immune system, but realized after a short google search that it had been done before many times over.
the inspiration leading to A Curse From Beyond was a rubber band ball of a dozen different sources. the movies Cloud Atlas and 2001 A Space Odyssey. playing through bizarre genre-benders like Doki Doki Literature Club, Frog Fractions, and Stories Untold. my sister asking me to come with her to a Borns show (which I only went to because Third Eye Blind [who sucked shit live anyway] was opening), and becoming transfixed with his lyrics in the song Past Lives. over time this idea for a game or series of games began to take shape, where archetypes of the same relationship occurred among different people throughout all of human history, tied together by some theme or MacGuffin. originally, the game that would become A Curse From Beyond was going to be a short demo, but it just sort of grew over time. it seemed like too small of an idea for something high production value where i spent all my savings on assets, and too big of an idea for a junky demo that wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention. combine that with getting laid off from Samsung in November 2020, i found myself with all the conditions to try to bash out a game.
it took longer than i’d thought, and i even had to delay it by a month when i realized that it needed multiple endings in order to feel effective. you can refer to my twitter feed (@the_cave_ghost) for a timeline of these events as i experienced them and agonized over them, although you’ll have to wade through some idEOloGY in the process. anyways, i stand here now with a videogame of my own creation under my belt. i willed this weird fucking thing into existence with the help and inspiration of a bunch of my friends and family and a bunch of cool media. i’m glad that you’re here to be a part of it.
-the cave ghost
all landscape art done by josh @ https://www.instagram.com/blackened_pages/