Monday, July 9, 2012

The French Connection...

A month or so ago, I got a Facebook message from a guy with a French-sounding name.  He said he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Xbox Magazine in France, and that he loved Hidden in Plain Sight, and wanted to know more about "the geniuses behind the game."

I told him that I was just an average guy with a wife and kid and cubicle job, and that making indie games was a hobby.  I thanked him for his kind words, and never got a response back.  No big deal.

Then, I got a message on this blog saying that my game was going to be on French TV!  There is a show called "Chez Marcus", where this dude reviews and plays video games.  The guy sent me the link to the show, as well as a translation. ***UPDATE***  I just got an email from Marcus.  They made this full episode free online, specifically so I could show it around to everyone.  I'm overwhelmed.

I wrote back to the Xbox Magazine editor guy on Facebook and asked him if he knew anything about it.  The guy responded back (apologizing for not getting back to me before).  He said that he'd talked to his friend Marcus (the tv guy), and told him about the game, and that Marcus decided to use it on his show!  He also said he was having a game night soon with friends from Ubisoft, THQ, and Sony and would make them play it.  (This has since happened, and the only comment I got was "They loved the game.")

I found someone on reddit who loaned me their username and password to the NoLife TV website (the channel which airs Chez Marcus), and was able to watch (and capture via FRAPS) the entire episode.  There were some good production value, and they guys were laughing the whole time, and really seemed to enjoy it.  I couldn't have asked for a better showcase for the game.

Before the show aired, I'd sold about 2000 copies of the game total, with about 60 in France.
In the past five days alone, since the show aired, the game has sold over 400 copies in France.


When the game first came out, I was talking with friends about marketing.  I remember Iwan made some comment about how word-of-mouth works, and how some people just kind of act as evangelists for a thing they like.  It appears this Facebook guy is acting that role, and I've seen others do it on message boards as well.  So that really seems like it's turning out to be true.

I've said this before, but on the one hand, I know this really sounds like I'm bragging.  I'm conscious of that, and it kind of makes me feel uncomfortable.  But on the other hand, I also don't really feel like I have that much ownership or stake in the game and it's success or failures, if that makes any sense.  It's something that I kind of threw together in a few weeks and set free, and how it lives or dies really is kind of out of my hands.  I feel much more like an observer to the whole process than directly involved.  It's all kind of surreal.


  1. Hi, I'm a French viewer of the channel Nolife. Thanks for your great game who brought us one of the most hilarious and funny "Chez Marcus" ever :)

    I hope the succes of Hidden in Plain Sight will bring you the opportunity to make a lot of other good games !

    P.S : Do you think about a PC/PlayStation version of Hidden in Plain Sight ?

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you like it. I was able to watch the show (and understand some of it!) and thought it was great. I liked how much they were laughing and really seemed to have a good time.

    I have thought about a PC version, but I'm not sure how it would work. It's really a game that is designed for a couch-and-TV. Do you think it would work for the PC?

    PlayStation is pretty much impossible. It's much harder to get an indie game onto the PS3. Xbox is easy. Anyone with $99USD can do it.

    I have lots of other game ideas, but no time/energy/motivation at the moment. Keep your eyes on this blog for any news, though. Who knows when inspiration with strike!

    Thanks again for contacting me. It's really great to get feedback on the game.

  3. You're welcome :)

    Do you want a translation of this "Chez Marcus" ? I can do it for you if you want.

    And yes, the main problem with a PC version is the fact that four people on the same keyboard is slightly less comfortable than a couch :) Plus, with an online version, you will lose the conviviality, who is the core of your great game.

    The only solution I see is to made a PC version compatible with keyboards, of course, but also USB pads. But I presume that means for you a lot of work ? It's a pity :(

  4. I'd love a full translation of the entire episode, but I would never ask anyone to do it. Isn't that a lot of work?

    I did look to see if there was any kind of real-time translation service (like Google Translate, but for video) but I guess technology isn't quite there yet. :)

    I've always rejected the idea of adding online multiplayer. Not only is it a lot of work, but you do indeed lose the feeling of knowing your opponent is sitting right next to you. I think the fact that the game is ONLY local multiplayer makes it great.

    A Windows version could certainly be done with gamepads. Xbox is really just a glorified Windows machine, and the same code runs on both PC and Xbox. All the development work was done on the PC, and it runs as of this moment on the PC (with USB gamepads!). So if I wanted to do a PC version, it's really just a matter (I think), of packaging it up and finding a distribution site.

    Maybe I'll think about that.

  5. Hello again !

    The link below will give you the translated trailer of the "Chez Marcus".

    (Right-click on the orange link)

    I apologize for my poor English. I did my best and I hope that will be sufficient.

    As soon as possible, i will start the translation of the show. Even if it is viewable by everyone for free, i prefer ask to the Nolife crew if i'm allowed to broadcast a subtitled version of the show.

    1. Ahh, that is hilarious! I had not seen that trailer before. Very clever.

      Thank you so much! Please do not feel like you need to translate the show for me. That's too much work! But if it's something you enjoy, or if it helps you with your English, then I'd love to see it.

      Thank you!

      By the way, was the Hidden in Plain Sight episode of Chez Marcus just on TV (maybe on August 4 or 5?)

    2. You're welcome :) And yes, this translation exercise is a good excuse for me to practice my video editing software and my english (or at least, to not forget the few I knew from school).

      About the trailer, how was the translation ? Was it clear enough ? Did I make horribles mistakes that an English speaker will never do ? I don't want to waste your time, but if you could brought me a quick feedback, that would be wonderful :)

      As far as I know, the "Chez Marcus" dedicated to your game has not been broadcasted on August 4/5. There was other "Chez Marcus" episodes, but not yours. You can see it here :

      Actually, you can see the broadcasting dates in the bottom of the trailer (I've not translated that, my bad). The trailer says that your "Chez Marcus" was on air for the first time July 4 at 7:30 PM, was rebroadcasted at 10:30 PM, and then in July 5 at 1:30 AM, July 7 at 4:30 PM and July 8 at 1:30 PM.

      After this, the "Chez Marcus" goes into a randomly broadcasting process. only the almighty Marvin (that's the name of the Nolife's server) knows and decides :)

      By the way, you said in your article that "The guy sent me the link to the show, as well as a translation."
      Would Marcus have sent you a text file with the translation of his show ? If yes, I could use it to make you subtitles much more quickly.

      Sorry fort the long post :)

  6. Hey, no problem. I love long posts. You can also email me at if that is more convenient.

    No, there was another French viewer, like yourself, who first notified me of the show. He sent me a translation of the first two or three minutes of the show (with Mathias and Cyril looking at the swimming pool, and then walking inside and sitting down to play).

    I did email back and forth with Marcus a few times. He was very gracious in asking for the entire episode to be made publicly available, but he didn't send me any English translations.

    I did study French for 3-4 years in high school, so even though I'm out of practice, I can still follow along with the major points.

    I'm currently at work, and unable to download the translation you did (the site is blocked). But I did watch it at home, and remember feeling that it was accurate. Translating is a funny thing, because you don't really translate word-for-word, but more the idea/concepts.

    I'll watch it again and let you know more specifics.

    The reason I asked if Chez Marcus was on again (the HIPS episode) was because there was a mini spike in French sales on those dates. So someone somewhere said something about it. :)

    Again, email me if you have more questions/comments, or just to chat.

  7. Just saw this:

  8. One comment on the translation. You use the word "reconstituting", which sounded like the literal french translation.

    In English, I'd say that "reconstructing" or "reenacting" would be more appropriate.

    I think of "reconstituting" as "adding water to something to return it to its original form." Like, if you had powdered milk, you'd reconstitute it by adding water.

    Otherwise, looked perfect to me!

  9. Great game! Just bought it a few days ago and really had fun playing it! Congratulations from another french guy!

  10. hi! I am a french girl who discover your game thanks " chez Marcus" TV show . It's the best spent dollar of my life !
    I just want to thank you a lot for this great game :)

    1. I'm glad you liked it!

      I really liked the Chez Marcus show. They did a great job showing the game.