GDC 2010: No More Giggles

By: Derek Yu

On: March 19th, 2010

A week after Tommy Refenes (Super Meat Boy) declared the Apple App Store to be the Tiger Electronics handheld of this generation (part of the Indie Game Maker Rant session), Apple has removed his zit-popping game Zits & Giggles from the App Store. As an experiment, Tommy raised the price tier every time someone bought Zits & Giggles, with people eventually buying the game for $300. He concluded that the iPhone audience was not primarily gamers and that games like Street Fighter, Assassin’s Creed, and Mega Man, which play poorly on the iPhone (like games ported to the Tiger Electronic Handheld), are nothing more than a way to sell a brand.

Apple has not responded, so it’s unclear whether they are retaliating against Tommy’s rant or his price-raising experiment. Or both.

  • sloth

    Can anyone just step back and appreciate the hilarity of all of this? I read the whole comments section and all I can really do is laugh.

  • Dodger

    @Anthony Flack,

    I agree with you (about both ;-) The Migrating of games over time *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* – And about the “Price Jacking”).

    The thing is, in the context that the price was grossly inflated I think peoples outrage was blown out of proportion. If you keep in context what Tommy did, is it really so bad? The reason I ask that is because I wonder if people even know what happened. The app that he was selling was a game about popping zits. You can’t get more ridiculous than that. I could see it as a novel casual game experience, but certainly people could only see it as a novel idea for a short period of time… And that’s besides the fact that aside from subject matter it’s a clone of 50 other “popping” games. I’m more annoyed that people actually kept buying the game even though the price was going up rather than being angry at Tommy for raising the price. I would have liked to have done the same sort of test to see how people would respond, and without the anger (after the fact), I’m still surprised people would buy the game at that price.

    Again, I have no idea what the data proves, but something is obviously wrong and since Tommy really wasn’t out to roast peoples nuts I think it was just an idea put into practice that had gone awry. I don’t think it made Tommy rich, he may have made some money and of course people got carried away afterwords with the negative feedback but I have to keep going back to the context and subject matter. Why? Why would people spend this on that? I don’t want to see good people ripped off either, in this case though there had to be some sort of motivation for wanting to do something foolish… more foolish than raising the price, that’s for sure, foolishness such as paying that price… for a zits popping game…!?!? See what I mean? It just makes me curious… and it’s the kind of action that annoys me even more so than someone inflating a price as a test. But don’t get me wrong, I do agree with how you feel about not wanted people to be ripped off, hopefully you understand my confusion and befuddled reaction and even curiosity to these consumers choices (and whatever the hell possibly motivated them into action).

    Aside from that, it’s good to hear that Cletus Clay will in fact be coming to PSN! Some time in Late 20xx (like the beginning of any good Mega Man game!) *JK* ;-P

    Oh, and if Microsoft gives you any “Flack” – Flack, just tell me and I’ll personally kick Steve Ballmer in the balls, so hard he’ll be able to taste his urethra. ;)

  • Anthony Flack

    “Aside from that, it’s good to hear that Cletus Clay will in fact be coming to PSN!”

    Okay, I DEFINITELY didn’t say that! We have all kinds of binding contractual obligations etc. that make that prospect EXCEEDINGLY unlikely in the short/medium term. However the IP rights are still held by us, and our code was designed to be cross-platform, so who knows what might happen in 20XX. I mean, just look at what happened to Perfect Dark…

    I don’t believe that games are as disposable as people commonly think. I think the games we make today may still be around for a long time to come. I hope that in the future I will be able to make my back-catalogue as widely available as I can, in whatever form that may take. But for the time being at least, Cletus Clay is an XBLA exlusive, hopefully with a PC version to follow.

  • Dodger

    @Anthony Flack,

    No, you didn’t say any of that. I was just joking around. I’m not trying to get you into trouble or anything, that was me just wishing out loud. I know the people at Microsoft have a skewed sense of humor so I won’t bug much, but it was just a joke (to any M$ reps who might stumble upon this).

    But, I’d still be willing to kick Steve Ballmer in the balls… for free! It would be like an XBLA game all on it’s own – Unlock “The Douchebag Achievement”.

    (This discussion was properly derailed by: Dodger)


  • purestream technology

    In computer science , source code (commonly just source or code) is any collection of statements or declarations written in some human.