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GamingI am Nate Crowley, author of 100 Best Video Games (that never existed) & I just finished working with a team of professional games artists to create an entirely fictional, fully illustrated history of video games...AMA!

Sep 7th 2017 by Nate_Crowley • 12 Questions • 54 Points

This book came out of a twitter joke that got out of hand, in which I came up with 1,000 games that didn't exist in order to raise money for frogs.

I also write Sci-fi & Fantasy books, and got my first book deal (The Death & Life of Schneider Wrack) after...um...well, after a twitter joke got out of hand. This has apparently become a habit.

My Proof: https://twitter.com/FrogCroakley/status/905092810893877248

Q:

Ok so are you actually 170 axolotls in an ill-fitting meat suit, or is that just a cruel rumour?

A:

I can't believe intrusive questions like this are allowed by the content policy here. Mods, please.

Next question.

belches a tiny bit of worm onto lapel & frantically wipes it away


Q:

Hey Nate, I caught wind of the original thread of joke game concepts when it started to gather steam, and now I follow you. As a fellow aspiring creative (yet to have a Twitter joke get out of hand and land me a publishing deal), I wanted to ask, had you had any paid writing work prior to the joke getting out of hand?

I also wasn't aware of the fundraiser aspect, bizarrely. Care to elaborate?

A:

Hey, thanks for following! So before I got offered the deal for The Sea Hates A Coward (after the Daniel Barker's Birthday incident) I had never had any paid creative work, no. I had been working as a financial journalist for 8 years so I did write for a living, but it was not what you would call creative.

As for the fundraising, sure - in order to make the original tweet thread a slightly more justifiable use of time, I linked it to a justgiving page donating to ZSL to fund amphibian conservation. It's not part of the marketing for the book since I think it's a bit off to make out like it's a charity release, but I will be donating a slice of what I make from it to ZSL so long as it's selling :)


Q:

Hi Nate! One question: if you had to pick three of the characters from your games to host you in Dinner Date style for meals at their houses, which three characters and why?

A:

Oh wow, nice question! I reckon it would have to be:

  • Jane Silverback from Gorillionaire! because she transforms into a hard-partying gorilla every time she's out of debt.

  • Wine Lord, the dystopian booze-vending robot from the game of the same name, as they would keep the fun coming mercilessly

  • Scouse Dracula from Scouse Dracula because c'mon... it's dracula, but he's from Liverpool


Q:

Scouse Dracula really mucking up a black pudding as you walk through the door clutching some wilty flowers sounds like my ideal TV moment.

A:

Complete with a really discordant, dismal bum note on a church organ, right?


Q:

were you a normal human person before the events of Daniel Barker's Birthday?

A:

No silly, I was a frog! It was kind of like the story where a frog gets turned into a prince with a kiss, only the kiss was a 75 day metafictional nightmare and I just turned into a normal guy. Daniel Barker is a prince tho


Q:

At the end of the day, why not?

A:

Woah. That's a question for James Bong, I reckon...


Q:

Okay so first of all I really love your writing and I'm really looking forward to your next book! Secondly, did you make up the weirder descriptive words in Schneider Wrack or are they just really uncommon terms for freaky ocean stuff?

A:

Thanks so much - so great to hear you enjoy my work! So some of the stranger words are real - particularly the names of people and things. Osedax is a type of deep sea worm that feeds of decomposing whalebone, for example, while Tavuto means coffin in Greek and sea monster in Fijian (my other half actually came up with that!)

Some are totally made up, though. My friend Emma (@nuclearteeth on twitter) is a bit of a latin genius, and help me create the word Substegarian (meaning below decks), while a lot of the biological words used to describe weirder creatures are either mashups of real biological terms, or bodge jobs using latin and greek and other bits and bobs.


Q:

Ooh, I shall have to put the Grant museum on my sightseeing list. I learned about them from a wonderful description in one of Gerald Durrell's books and thought they sounded fascinating.

I'll also throw in the Indian Purple Frog/pig-nosed frog because it looks so silly a picture of one will always make me laugh. And I have huge affection for the common garden toad too.

A:

Did you know that the binomial for the common toad was basically just a sick burn on a rival by Linnaeus? So the story goes, anyway


Q:

Hi Nate! what game would you credit with getting you into video games?

A:

Hello there! The first game I can remember playing was a little number called Barrels for the RM Nimbus, which was a brave little computer used by schools in the late 1980s. My mum was a teacher and I got to go into school with her when I was ill, and I used to absolutely rinse this game, which was a sort of broke ass donkey kong ripoff. It was super hard though.


Q:

I loved the 1000 games that didn't exist and I'm very excited about the book.

Which one of the games would you most like to see pop into existence?

A:

That's a brutal question, and it would take me the rest of this AMA to think up the correct answer, but on impulse I'm going to say Vin Diesel's Weasel Easel. It's a laid back art game where Vin Diesel teaches you to paint weasels, and I think we could all use a little of that in our lives.


Q:

Hi there! So, when did you realise your fake videogames Tweet was getting out of hand? How do you feel about it with some distance from it?

A:

I think the first time I saw a stranger quote-RT it with "fav this so he has to do it forever" was the moment I realised things had gotten serious. Someone also asked me if it was my job around game 60, which turned out to be quite prophetic. I'm still really happy with the 1,000 games thread - there's a lot of crap in there to be sure, but a few gems as well, and it kept a good few people entertained as well as raising a couple of grand for real actual frogs!


Q:

Hi Nate! What's the most memorable moment you've had in a (real) video game?

A:

I guess for sheer psychic impact it would be this one damnable hole in Mystic Cave zone, the 6th level in Sonic 2. It's the one obstacle in the game Sonic can't escape from, and so if you fall in you just have to keep flailing on spikes, recollecting your lost rings, until you give in to death. It's pretty harrowing,and has stuck with me for 25 years.