Mat@MDickie.com
Hater-view










~ June 2004 ~
They say you should "love your enemies" - and nobody represents that like MDickie.
I'm so nice that I've even got time for my haters! Amidst accusations that my interviews are choreographed love-in's, I invited one critic to conduct an interview of their own...

Let's get straight to the point. What the hell is an amateur game designer like you doing CHARGING for these third-rate games?
S
o that I can make games like Wrestling MPire. Do you seriously think a game that big can be made in a guy's spare time? If you do, I strongly advise you to give it a try and see how far you get. Look, a couple of years ago, I reached a crossroad where I could have continued making little games or I could have raised my game and turned professional. I chose the latter and I'm extremely glad that I did. Otherwise, Big BumpZ would have probably been the last game you saw from me...

We're not talking about Wrestling MPire. How do you justify charging for an out-dated 2D game like Federation Booker?
That was the source. The money raised from that project got the ball rolling, and allowed me to devote myself to the Wrestling MPire series. As I often mention in my "Thank You" notes, I see my customers as shareholders. Whether they realise it or not, every game they buy is funding the next one. Besides, Federation Booker is the best-selling game I've ever made - so there's a strong argument for its market value! If the game wasn't worth buying then people would have voted with their wallets...

This whole commercial thing is a waste of time anyway. Don't you realise that most people get pirate copies of your games? They're not "voting with their wallets"...
Yeah, I'm aware of piracy. I just leave them to hang themselves though. I'm a firm believer that what goes around comes around. Pirates crawl around the message boards like rats, begging for a cheap copy of the game. Meanwhile, my real fans are playing the games with a clear conscience and their heads held high. They can claim to be part of my success. Integrity is the most important thing in life - quite why anybody would trade it in for $15 is beyond me...

That's the problem right there! Don't you think $15 is too much for games like yours?
That argument doesn't hold any weight with me! At $14.99 (which is less than 10) my games are arguably the cheapest new games on the market. What's that - about 3 or 4 times less than a WWE game you might buy? For a game that many people enjoy MORE than those mainstream games, that's quite a deal. And now, with the introduction of albums like Evolution Of The MPire, you can get every game I've ever made for the price of ONE mainstream title...

I'm glad you brought up Evolution Of The MPire. Haven't you screwed over your "loyal fans" by giving away all the games they paid full price for?
A lot of people have been trying to make me feel guilty about that, but I refuse to take the bait. The fact is that these things happen. Unless you wait a year before you buy something - anything - then you end up paying more than the early adopters. Every time I go into a shopping mall, I see music CD's for 5 that I paid 10 or 15 for. I don't bitch about it because I've enjoyed them for a year by the time that happens. That head-start is often worth paying for. The fact is that I've got a handful of published titles under my belt, and people are crying out for a Wrestling MPire twin-pack. Evolution Of The MPire is that compilation, and I stand by it as a "starter pack" for my new fans...

So while you're looking out for your "new fans", you're actually screwing over your existing fans? A lot of fansites would definitely share that view, since you refuse to promote their tributes nowadays...
The single biggest reason I've phased out fansites is because they breed the piracy that we were talking about earlier. They might not mean to, but that's always the end result. While the cat's away the mice will play, I suppose, so I can't promote anything that's beyond my control. I've learnt that there's a thin line between love and hate when it comes to fans. They discover your work, get in touch with you, get a reply, think they're something special, and then take it all for granted. It's a cycle that happens as surely as that. I've seen it with my own eyes. The "hello's" disappear, the "goodbye's" disappear, the "thank you's" disappear... and before you know it, so do my replies! I'm the most fan-friendly guy that ever hit this business, but I've got my limits. I don't suffer fools gladly anymore...

Are you sure it's not because nobody plays your games, so they can't accommodate a fansite anyway?
Actually, hit rates are a bone of contention when it comes to fansites. They get a plug on MDickie.com and all of a sudden they expect every human being that's ever visited my site to visit theirs! Suddenly I'm the bad guy because they can't make a living off my back. The truth is that it takes a lot of hard work to build up a fanbase. It took me almost 4 years to gather the players I've got now and earn their respect. Spin-off sites tend to want all of those fans with none of the work. I can tell people about a site, but it's not my job to keep them there...

Sounds like you're a control freak to me. Is that why you insist on putting yourself over in the games, with that annoying MDickie character?
The reasons behind that gimmick are well documented. Ever since Federation Booker, I've felt that it would be interesting if there was a personification of the game developer. After all, I literally am the person that's challenging you to succeed in the games and placing obstacles in your way. That's not true of any other game developer, because they're all mindless teams. I accept that the gimmick hasn't gone over as planned, but I don't apologise for things like that. My whole career is about taking risks and putting myself on the line. I'm going to do some things that work and some things that don't, but it's all part of the learning process. It's easy to sit back and criticise others while they try to push things forward. There's no honour in that...

Speaking of things that "don't work", let's talk about your retirement from wrestling. Don't you realise that the ONLY reason people like you is for your wrestling games?
Yes, and they've got their wrestling games - they've got 4 years worth of them! The fact is that the Wrestling MPire series is as good as it gets with me for the time being. I couldn't make a better game until next year anyway, so I might as well spread my wings in the meantime. Besides, I genuinely think that I've got a lot to offer the other genres. All I did with wrestling was use my independent status to deliver what fans really want. I assure you that there are countless other genres waiting for the same treatment...

Like music, apparently? What will you do if Popscene is a failure?
I try not to worry about what my wrestling fans will make of games like that. If I've learnt one thing over the past couples of years, it's that you can't please everybody. That's the point - I'm trying to bring in new fans. As much as we love it, it has to be said that wrestling is quite a minority interest. It's not something that everybody can relate to, and that's a serious problem for me. Popscene will take steps towards bridging that gap. It's already got friends and family interested in my work - and that's a new experience for me! I'm normally left explaining that my games are good "if you like wrestling". I can tell you now: if you don't like management games and music, you won't like Popscene. I'm not a miracle worker. All I can do is make the games I feel like making, and if you like them too then that's a bonus...

You've obviously got an answer for everything, so I'll leave it there. I have to thank you for giving a voice to the people that aren't fans of your work (anymore)...
Thanks, it's always good to hear the ignorant views of a critic. It reminds me that I'm on the winning team...

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