Meet the guy from Queensland who quit his full-time job to make a hugely successful and fair Australian-themed video game.
The game is called Dinkum and sees players start a new life on a fictional Australian island, start a farm, go deep into the mines, build a town and make new friends.
Various types of Australian animals inhabit the island, but not as you know them.
Kangaroos hop with their antlers, Tasmanian devils can breathe fire, and wombats are five times larger than average.
It all comes from the mind of one man, James Bendon.
Born and raised in Queensland, Bendon never thought he would make video games for a living.
Prior to Dinkum, Bendon studied graphic design and illustration, as well as worked in retail.
A few years ago he quit his job and put it all on the line to create his own Aussie adventure, and Bendon isn’t looking back.
“I have no experience in game development, it’s just a hobby – I learned to code, I learned to 3D model, I learned Unity and I always loved doing it .” he said.
Unlike most people, Bendon didn’t rush to a TV streaming fest every night, he says he would come home from work, sit at his computer and do it as a hobby.
“Now it’s finally my job! I’m pretty happy with it,” he said.
So how many people play Dinkum? Bendon couldn’t reveal the true sales figure, but says the reception exceeded all expectations.
“I expected to sell about 60,000 in my first year and, you know, there’s 10,000 people playing it almost every hour of the day. So that completely blew my mind,” said- he declared.
Shit ! For a game created by one man, that’s impressive.
Bendon began working on Dinkum in November 2017, drawing inspiration from games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and Harvest Moon.
Although Dinkum is not fully released yet, it has been available in early access since July this year and players are expressing their love for the title.
“I’ve sold more than I can even imagine, more than I ever expected in my entire life…So it’s been overwhelming,” he said.
“It’s still in early access. But I thought there was enough functionality there, you know, I considered doing a full release – but I like how the community can get involved in development,” Bendon said, explaining that he’ll likely continue working on the game for at least another year.
“I really appreciate hearing all the suggestions and feedback,” he said.
Bendon says he just wants everyone to have fun playing the game.
“I just want them to know it’s fun for all ages, it’s cooperative, so you can play it with your kids – I can’t wait to play it with my daughter,” he said. declared.
Online reviews are “overwhelmingly positive”, with thousands of people happy to share their thoughts on this Aussie adventure.
Dinkum has also been the bread and butter of Australian video game streamers, with many seeing a huge increase in viewership since sharing the game with their audience.
Australian streamer Matt Jurd, known online as Jurdman, says he has seen a huge increase in viewership since playing the game on streaming platform Twitch.
“My viewership quadrupled,” Jurd said.
“I’ve had viewers visit and watch my island, I’ve visited their islands on tours to see what they’ve been up to – everyone’s worlds are so different.”
Jurdman says that Dinkum perfectly combines all the best bits of all games in the “social farm” genre.
“It’s one of the finest early access games I’ve ever played, which is a wonder considering it was made by a solo developer,” he said.
“If you like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, My Time at Portia, Sandrock, Story of Seasons, Harvest Moon, then this game should be on your radar.”
I had to see what it was, and for under thirty bucks on Steam, you can’t go wrong.
I blinked and now have 10 hours of play, now have my own island house, island store and even a museum. Holy ripper!
Dinkum can be played now on PC via Steam Early Access, its official release date is coming soon. Bendon says he intends to port it to consoles in the future.
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