today i'm going to talk about someone else's list: famous year-end list pusher TIME Magazine. this year i have the honor of knowing one of the people on one of their lists. a dear friend of mine produced a game that made TIMEs list of TOP 10 GAMES OF 2016 (#7). the game is called crashlands.
for those who know my friend's story know that this is an extra-poignant victory on numerous levels. in short, my friend got sent through life's wringer being told at the mature age of 24 that the odds of him being alive in a year's time were quite bleak. hell, i think there was a time they said if he was alive in a month, it would be rather miraculous. if you've ever seen first-hand a greater example of tragedy, devastation, spirit, strength, resilience and perseverance i would deem you a most-fortunate individual as witnessing this young man's ordeal changed me in no small way.
for those of you who don't know my friend's story, here's an abbreviated version of the crashlands saga (in list form):
and it also did well enough for time magazine to name it a top ten game of 2016 which is representative of the popular and commercial success it saw.
- sam graduated college and started making kooky ios games with his brother, seth (e.g. piloting a rocket ship with occasionally working controls through an asteroid belt)
- sam and seth, working as butterscotcth shenanigans, saw modest but growing success with their early games.
- out of nowhere the crazily-healthy sam was told he had stage 4 cancer. the day before he thought he was coming down with a cold. three days before he beat his also crazily-healthy brother seth in a three-mile footrace.
- it was bad. all very bad.
- modern medicine met super-human samuel coster and a chance, albeit a meager one, was found.
- in the middle of the multi-month, in-hospital treatment sam said to seth, "i don't want the last game i make before i die to be about a sloth riding a motorcycle through the jungle."
- the next day the first crashlands neuron was fired.
- months later sam rang the bell and walked out of the cancer treatment ward, a free and cured man.
- crashlands development began in earnest and began to take for-real shape over the next year.
- the cancer returned. bigger and bolder.
- a half-year medical battle was waged, again.
- sam rang that bell, reserved for few, a second time.
- crashland's work resumed.
- after more than two years of effort, and two cancer treatments, including a bone-marrow transplant, the game was released.
- as for how crashlands did, its first week out it sat right below minecraft as the most popular iPad game, ready to be the first to knock Minecraft off the #1 perch it held for more than a year. while they never succeeded in taking the pole position, assuming the second spot in today's flood of games is a remarkable feat in itself.
and lastly, if you're wondering what a kooky ios game looks and sounds like, get a taste of the coster boys work and style below. the voice you hear is sam's.
oh, and there's also a documentary coming out about all of this. the last i heard it is scheduled for release on january 21st, 2017
one last thing. regarding the second round of treatment sam went through. to erradicate the cancer, they, the doctors, had to, essentially, kill him, sam, to kill the cancer that re-invaded his body. when both were dead or in sam's case, walked right to the door of death, the doctors would attempt to nurse him, and just him and not the cancer, back to a healthy state, which they were astonishly able to do. since watching sam shoulder that hell-wrought wildcard from life's deck, i've never looked at another of my "trials" the same.