We recently covered the arrival of a new SNES game, Dottie Flowers, which was developed by Goldlocke.
In a unique twist, the game – a cute and very playable fangame peppered with tributes to the Turrican series – hasn't been made available for download digitally and won't be sold in physical form. Instead, Goldlocke decided to create 100 physical, boxed copies and give them away in a competition.
"I invested around ~600 hours of my spare time over the course of one year into this game, mostly evening hours after my daily real-life chores were done," he explains. "I spent about €2200 to hand-produce a total of 100 physical copies of the game. This might sound ludicrous to you, but the end result was worth every penny to me."
So, why did Goldlocke spend all of this time and money on a game that only 100 people will ever get to play (assuming the ROM doesn't get dumped, of course)? Well, there are a few reasons.
"Given that the game contains various references to copyrighted IP, I consider myself lucky to not having received a C&D or worse so far," says Goldlocke. "Needless to say, I don't feel like pushing my luck, so monetization in any way or form is completely out of the question for me."
He also decided against releasing the ROM online, as he has done with his previous homebrew projects, because "without fail, this resulted in bootleg cartridges originating from China, Brazil and other countries to be sold without my approval or consent."
While he doesn't normally have an issue with this ("the bootlegs even helped enlarge the player base"), Goldlocke was concerned that "bootleg cartridges being sold freely on the market might cause a problem for the rights holder of the referenced works. That's why I refrained from releasing a ROM file of the full game this time and I ask for your understanding."
This left the developer with one option – to produce a small batch of physical copies and simply give them away rather than sell them.
"I love to give away stuff and to make people happy, but my resources are limited," he says. "Considering the high cost of producing a single physical unit, I ended up producing only 100 copies total and giving all but one away for free."
The really unique aspect of this giveaway is that Goldlocke took a very old-school approach: a mail-in contest. "Given the limited quantity of available copies, what way would yield the highest rate of winners that were actually likely to play and enjoy the game?" he muses. "Easy, provide a stripped-down demo ROM and present the mail-in address to the player only after successfully beating its three stages, just like many Satellaview score contests did."
Goldlocke says the response to the Dottie Flowers demo really blew him away. "From the bottom of my heart, I thank everybody who went through the trouble of sending in a postcard! So many warm words, so much love put into little drawings of Dottie, handcrafted origami etc. So many cards from all over the world, from Australia to USA, from Japan to Russia and Uruguay to Switzerland, it really put a smile on my face every time I opened the post box! Again, thank you so much to everybody who participated and my sincere apologies to those who didn't win a copy."