I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as much while playing a game as I have while playing Trivia Guy (out now, free). Charming and uproariously clever, this comedy-driven quiz game is a real shot in the arm for a genre, which, let’s be honest, can often be pretty staid and unexciting. I really can’t recommend it enough to anyone looking for something fun or funny to play!
Still need more convincing to give Trivia Guy a try? Maybe this interview with the game’s developer, Steven McDade, will do the trick…
Thanks for joining me for this chat, Steven. Can I start by asking you to introduce yourself and tell me how you got into game development? Your background is actually in comedy writing for TV and radio, isn’t it?
Thanks, Ruan, and it is my pleasure.
My name is Steven McDade, based in Scotland, and I’ve been attempting to start a career in comedy even though I’m in my forties, an age when most people start thinking of retirement!
Two or three years ago I started writing sitcom pilots with the intention of sending to British TV producers. There was a whole lot of guessed email addresses, loads of rejection, but I achieved three meetings with different producers, two at the BBC.
One BBC producer assisted me in adapting one of my scripts and it was pitched for BBC Radio but, sadly, it wasn’t picked up.
Frustration was setting in as I was writing a lot of comedy, which nobody was reading, so I thought why not write a comedy game and find my own audience?
Do you have a mantra or mission statement as a game dev?
I feel like a fraud if I call myself a game developer (I actually feel like a fraud if I call myself a comedy writer) so I most likely look at game creation differently than “real” game developers.
I’ve done a fair share of amateur theatre, acting and directing, and the only thing that mattered there was the audience. The need to send them home happy.
I guess that would be my simple mantra. Make the player smile.
Your first game, Mister Smith & His Adventures, was published by Ayopa Games. Why did you decide to go it alone and self-publish your latest work, Trivia Guy?
I actually self-published Mister Smith & His Adventures first and I then contacted publishers afterwards about it. Ayopa Games picked it up and they were great, helping me shape a re-release.
I decided to self-publish Trivia Guy as I wanted to start releasing games under my own name. Hopefully then I can return to contacting TV producers and get a TV show made!
Where did the idea for Trivia Guy come from? And to your mind, what separates it from the numerous other quiz games already available on the App Store?
There were sections of Mister Smith which where were quiz based and Trivia Guy was born from that.
I’m on dangerous ground when I say there’s nothing like Trivia Guy, but I don’t know if there is. I’m sure somebody can correct me!
My other half, Gillian, who helps out with my games, best described Trivia Guy when she said it was like being a contestant on a quiz show starring a joke cracking host. I can’t better that.
Trivia Guy is an impressively huge game with 100’s of varied questions and no end of witty, smart-alecky asides and jokes. How long did it take you to research, script and develop it?
Trivia Guy has been around 18 months in the making, but I have to do all the writing, coding, graphics, website, trailer… I could go on but I’m exhausted even thinking about it.
Programming is my own personal hell! I write about one line of code each hour!
The writing of the questions and jokes is the easy bit.
Speaking of the jokes, did you test them out on anyone during development?
No. I never have wrote like that. I just write what I think is funny and see if anybody else agrees!
It sounds like you’ve got quite a bit of additional content planned for Trivia Guy post launch?
The goal is to go over 1,000 questions. If Trivia Guy goes well then there could be spin-offs with questions localised for the UK and the USA.
Now that you’ve got a couple of well-received games to your name, is there any advice you’d offer to others looking to break into the industry?
Once again, I feel like a fraud. I need to take advice from others! I Google a lot!
Take advice from those you admire. Reach out to them, but be nice. You’ll get ignored a lot. Take that on the chin. When you get better and others reach out to you, remember you were ignored and keep being nice.
Be proud of your work, yes, but be proud of yourself first.
Anybody can feel talk to me on Twitter: @groovy_woovy.
My advice may not be great, but I’ll always try to be nice.
What’s next for you beyond Trivia Guy? Any upcoming projects in the works that you can tell me about?
I really don’t know as it depends on the feedback from Trivia Guy. We’ll have to see. I do want to go back to writing scripts for TV though and see if I can make a go at that before I retire… or die.
Before I let you go, do you have a favorite joke that you can share with my readers?
I wrote this for Mister Smith, “Miss Reacher is the teacher. She’s the daughter of a Preacher. Miss Reacher longed to be a beautician, but couldn’t for obvious limerick reasons.”
I have no idea why but I still think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.
And that’s a wrap! Thanks for such an enjoyable interview, Steven.
Trivia Guy is available right now on the App Store for the unbeatable price of free. To stay updated on what Steven’s up to next, be sure to follow Groovy Woovy Games on both Twitter and Facebook. (Oh, and if any TV execs are reading this, you should definitely greenlight Steven’s next pitch — he’s hilarious and a damn fine writer!)