Game Dev Who Paid Employees With ‘Experience’ Now Locked Out Of Progression Path

When he founded his studio in the spare bedroom of his parent’s second house, Garpe Dungless believed that Bling 69 Games was an opportunity to offer other local developers the most valuable in-game currency of all: experience. But now, three years into working on the studio’s first game (Alecks Wender: Gun Man), Dungless has realised that his distribution of experience has locked him out of multiple progression paths.

“The truth is that I should have hoarded my experience,” says Dungless, wiping his mysteriously wet hand on a stained t-shirt depicting a visibly distressed anime catgirl. “It was the most valuable resource I had, and I gave it away to my ungrateful team.”

Dungless was responsible for the “concept-stage AAA masterpiece” of Alecks Wender: Gun Man (formerly Snick Lashtongue: Old West Shooter), and wrote “some of the opening cutscene”, but entrusted design, art, writing, QA, production, and most other elements of the game’s creation to the team of volunteers, heroically sacrificing his personal vision for their benefit. “I realise now what a mistake that was,” Dungless sighs. “They’re coming out of this with precious experience, and I’m stuck behind here, still living rent-free in this furnished hellhole.”

Because of his generosity, Dungless says, he lacks the necessary experience to level up in games. He has found himself shut out of pathways including “actual jobs in game development,” “invitations to industry gatherings,” and “accepted Facebook friend requests from all the women he’s aware of in his periphery”. Many members of his team, meanwhile, have gone on to receive thousands of retweets from the descriptions of their experiences working on Alecks Wender: Gun Man (formerly Smooth Man Carruthers: The Sexy Revolver Chronicles). 

“I find the Twitter thing particularly galling,” Dungless says, blowing his nose without covering it. “I didn’t even OFFER them exposure.”

Dungless, who now finds himself unable to progress further in his career, says that he’s just going to take a week and start again, confident that he’ll just sort of get away with it, especially if he can convince some random guy with 30 followers to forgive him. This time he hopes he can find a way to succeed despite his volunteer work force. “I’ve been delayed, but I’ll be working on the next God of War in three years’ time,” Dungless says confidently. “I’m going to give him a gun. A big cool gun. That’s why I got into this industry: to add a gun to God of War. Look out for Kratos Hardbody: The Very Long Shot (working title) in 2024.”

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