When it comes to getting people to really internalize a concept, it’s often better to show, rather than tell.
Take the harm done to game developers by online piracy of their creations, for example. You can spend all day writing a wall of text designed to explain how widespread piracy and readily available cracks of a game can crater that game’s sales… or you can do like Greenheart Games and communicate your point in a context that your target audience can really appreciate.
As Greenheart’s Patrick Klug explained in a blog post this morning, when Greenheart released its very first game, Game Dev Tycoon, the company already released a cracked version of the game, moments later.
“I uploaded the torrent to the number one torrent sharing site, gave it a description imitating the scene and asked a few friends to help seed it,” Klug wrote, noting that the cracked version is “nearly identical to the real thing except for one detail.”
That detail, it turns out, is that if you are playing a cracked version of the game, your virtual gaming company soon finds itself stymied by… online piracy of the games it publishes.
“Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt,” Klug wrote.
Feedback from some of the players using the cracked version of the game included priceless, ironic quotes like:
Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me!
Klug couldn’t help chuckling at the irony — even as he cringed at, simultaneously.
“As a gamer I laughed out loud: the IRONY!!!” Klug wrote. “However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this game and hasn’t drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry. Surely, for most of these players, the 8 dollars wouldn’t hurt them but it makes a huge difference to our future!”
While some of Greenheart’s instant-critics are quick to point that the game itself appears to be awfully similar to the old school sim game Game Dev Story, and thereby accusing Greenheart of being perhaps no-so-respectful of intellectual property itself, I can’t help but cheer them on for this clever bit of Show, Not Tell.