Frustrated game devs automated the production of 1,500 terrible slot machine apps and actually made money

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/03/automated-shovelware.html

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this is why we can’t have nice things.

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This is gonna be a l o n g joke :unamused:

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Someone please explain how a slot machine can be “side boob”

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“Side Boob Slots” is so ridiculous I kind of want it. Or maybe I just love it on a conceptual level. A machine designed to tease you into dumping in coins for endless money teasing you with a hint of nipple and the thought of endless sex.

Shame these guys didn’t have some mechanism where you would rack up prizes for downloading as many different variations on the same game as you can.

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Have they offered an Auschwitz slot machine?

It is interesting that they are going after the long tail instead of the premium zone.
I want to see if their apps also follow that distribution among themselves.

They just change some images and text from a template.
They show in the video that it is just the background and some parts of the slot machine, and it doesn’t have any influence at all at the game.

For example, this is a curling slot machine:

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I’m reconsidering my life choices now.

They injected a WHOLE bunch more noise.

I can tell the video is going to be an interesting and annoying to watch.

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The next step is clearly to write hire a ghostwriter to make a brazen knockoff of “The 4-Hour Work Week” and live off the proceeds for the rest of their lives.

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For me, this too is disheartening. One of my points of pride is the quality and effort I put into the things I create, even if I know they are ultimately meaningless; sometimes shortly after they are made. But I know if I got with my programmer daughter, we could come up with a mostly automated way that our clients could do my side of things on their own and get basically the same results, if not better because they wouldn’t be waiting on me. That’s depressing. Thinking about this is making me reconsider my stance on using my skills for evil.

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That’s been done. See the pinball machine GalsPanic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gals_Panic or SternPlayboy, https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=4506

Funny you should mention – Amazon just pulled Auschwitz-themed Xmas tree ornaments from their storefront

Writing games, films, and books can be an artistic expression.

You can also turn a crank and pump out media meant to be consumed rather than appreciated.

Building a name that is respected for artistic integrity is the traditional way this works. Be it a famous director or author, or a more collective endeavor like a game studio.

If you see something on a app store from someone you never heard of. It might be a talented indie trying to make it on her own, or it might be a whole lot of trash. When you’re digging for gems obviously not every handful of mud holds a prize.

*immature chuckle*

I guess I had just assumed that virtually all apps appeared this way.
You know,

  • perform some meaningless task
  • gain resources
  • trade resources for other resources
  • watch ads for more resources
  • trade resources for things that make the meaningless task 1% more interesting
  • free resources every 4 hours!
  • watch ads anyway
  • see a list of other users and their progress
  • pretty colors!
  • lather, rinse, repeat
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I remember reading about companies pumping out reskinned clones on an industrial level, but with different genres of games and (only) slightly more effort. This is nice variation though, I must say. Less cynical moneygrab and more joke activism (that made them a wee bit of money, but not an excessive amount given all the hours they ended up putting in).

Given that they followed the rules for maximum number of uploads (they could have easily sleazed their way around the limit), and didn’t even really try to reach it (they had periods of activity, but were mostly not submitting anything at all), their total number of games added, at worst, an insignificantly tiny amount of noise to what was already there. I mean, those storefronts are totally unusable to begin with, at least for the kind of browsing this kind of clutter interferes with.

Yeah, I know what you mean. But it’s also been made clear that for certain contexts, quality completely fails to win against sheer quantity. It’s just easier to recognize that, and stay out of those specific contexts/markets entirely, if one can. Increasingly I feel like the trick is recognizing those markets and if one can’t avoid them, at least figuring out how to stay on the periphery of them enough that one can keep doing one’s work.

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An old friend of mine churns out a certain kind of fiction by the bale and dumps it on Amazon, where it appeals to a certain crowd. While I’m not his target audience and have never read any of it (he won’t even tell any of his friends his pen name!), I’ve been assured that it’s neither Shakespearean nor Gibsonian in quality. As a matter of fact, I hear it leans more towards Chuck Tingle. (Hmm … maybe he is Chuck Tingle!)

He actually writes it himself. It may be formulaic, but it’s not auto-generated by an algorithm.

So far it’s bought him a lake home, a good car, and a very nice float plane.

So continue to put effort and pride into your work. Many people do appreciate quality. But like this story, he’s proven there are a huge number of folks that simply don’t care about such things, and the money they part with spends exactly the same.

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Quality always has a hard time competing against good enough when good enough can scale. McDonald’s brings in more cash than any high class restaurant.

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All capitalism in micro.
“You should, just because you can, if and only if it might make money.”

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