Independent game hangs in limbo, developer locks himself in office for 100 days

At some point, most gamers entertain thoughts of creating their own game – molding their dreams into the game they’ve been waiting for, but never came.  Some fall prey to misleading television ads for game-design college, others abandon the idea once they realize that game programming is no casual hobby.  The few that make it to the industry work in groups, contributing to the birth of a new game as a team.  And then there’s  Bob.

In 2003, Bob started to teach himself the C programming language to make his own game for the Gameboy Advance, and then for the Nintendo DS when it was released in 2004.  Earlier this year, he showed Bob’s Game to the world – a self proclaimed “commercial quality” adventure game for the NDS, and he hopes to make history by being the first single programmer to release a game of this size on the retail market – but he’s hit a wall.  Bob needs a NDS Software Development Kit, and Nintendo has stopped responding to his email – so he’s locking himself in his office without Internet, TV, or human contact in a move protest until they contact him.

Bob plans to keep up the sit-in protest for 100 days or more, and has very limited access to the outside world.  “Food is delivered once a week by a friend.  I have no Internet access, television, or game consoles besides those I am developing on.  I can receive and send email on my Android G1, so I can get Nintendo’s reply and update my site with tether.”  Bob’s been holed up in his office since the 10th, when he first announced the shut in.  “The agreement on the application states I will receive a decision in 6-8 weeks. It has been 18 weeks!  I fulfill all the requirements- I’m a financially stable registered company with a FEIN working from a commercial address.  When Nintendo decides to approve my developer license application I will end my protest.”

While he waits, Bob is working 16 hour days to port Bob’s Game to the iPhone and Android platforms, ensuring that the game will eventually see release regardless of Nintendo’s response.  Bob expressed his frustration in a short history update on December 28th.

On November 17th of 2007, well over a YEAR ago, I contacted Mr. Tom Prata, Senior Director of Project Development at Nintendo of America.
I explained to him that I had worked for several years on a console game for DS, and that I wanted to purchase the NITRO SDK in order to finish the title.
Mr. Prata responded, and we emailed back and forth about 50 times discussing the title and the NITRO requirements.
After doing a background check in December, we teleconferenced to discuss the game. He wanted to see it.
This culminated in a meeting, scheduled for February 22, 2008, at the Game Developers Conference…

…At the meeting, Mr. Prata barely even bothered to look at the game he had stalled me for months to see.
He advised me to apply for a developer license, and assured me that he would “do what he could” to make sure my application was fast-tracked.

Check out Bob’s Game for videos, notes from Bob, and a web-cam feed of the imprisoned developer hard at work.