My games are on sale

This is a bit of an experiment. My games are usually free/pay-what-you-want, but for this week, through Sunday 29 November, they are $5 on itch.

They’re mainly text adventures, some parser, some parser/choice hybrid including IFComp winner Detectiveland. There are also a few 2d graphical casual puzzlers. You can buy them individually or get the whole bundle of 11 games for $25, a slightly-over-50% discount on the sale price. (I wish I’d thought of making the bundle price higher than buying the games individually, but what’s done is done.)

So, if you want to buy some of my games at this exclusive sale price, you only have until next Sunday to do so, after which they go back to being free.

EDIT: you can get the games here: (thanks Nils!)

Pay and Enjoy!



Bundles are usually the same price as getting them individually, or more often than not they come at a discount. The convenience and price is what entices people into buying all of the games instead of just their two favorites. Pricing the bundle higher doesn’t really make sense and would work against you.

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Awesome, I jumped on the sale to snag Aunts & Butlers which is the last @robinjohnson game I haven’t played yet. If it is anything like the others I have high hopes indeed. :slight_smile:

Also you forgot to include a link to the sale:

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Well yeah, but as I understand it that’s generally the rule with sale prices as well. I’m trying something different.

I’ve already made more than I do in a typical week from pay-what-you-want donations. I’ll never understand marketing.

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Every time I’ve seen someone do this kind of temporary free(ish)-to-paid experiment, the result is the same: much higher revenue than under pay-what-you-want.

  • This is a pretty good case study any time says “oh but what if we just have a free-will-barter-economy-based-on-good-faith”? Sometimes people just wanna know What The Price Is.

  • PWYW creates a lot of mental friction before you reach the friction step of reaching-for-the-credit-card (or whatever): “What do I think these things are worth?” “What does the seller think these things are worth?” “If what I pay doesn’t match the seller’s expectations, do I get judged? Put on a naughty list? Make the seller sad and ruin their day?” Being given an Actual Price To Take Or Leave means that you only have to decide “do I think these things are worth paying that price?” before reaching for the card.


I think an additional reason is the choice between paying for something up front based on the hope that it’s something you’ll enjoy, or getting that same item (legally, even) without the monetary risk. I’m very guilty of choosing the latter almost exclusively because I’ve been burned too many times on the former.

When it comes to sales like this, I think it’s a wake up call to the player. It’s like “Hey! You know all of those games you’ve been enjoying for free? Do you think maybe the author deserves some money?” and the player is like “Ya know what? Yes they do.”

I actually did a purchase like this a couple weeks ago with a music composer that I really like. I listen to their music on YouTube a lot and I had no idea they had a bandcamp page. They promoted a sale on YouTube and I went to the site and bought their discog for like $35 or whatever. I could have just kept listening for free on YouTube, but I listened to them enough that they deserved the cash. I haven’t even downloaded the mp3s yet. :stuck_out_tongue:


It is indicated that the games will be free again after November 29. If you want to maximize marketing, should not the buyer think they will not longer be available or that the price might increase?


No. I’m not out to con anyone.


Didn’t think you were. :slight_smile:



Yep. And as we see here, it’s a lot easier to craft a (however tongue-in-cheek) pitch for “My games are on sale!” than a “Remember, you can still give me money for my games! If’n you want! Totally up to you!” campaign.

There’s definitely a market that wants to reward the tongue-in-cheek self-sabotage of “Buy my goods now, before they’re free again!”

(I imagine some Media Studies major somewhere has done a paper tracking the evolution of responses this kind of gonzo messaging, from “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog” to the present…)


I’ve always thought that the prompt to pay should be after you finish the game, not before you try it…

What usually goes on my mind when I see the prompt is “how do I know if this is a good game”?


You are wrong. Actually, this kind of experiment was conceived first by Itchio itself, as a matter of artists to make something like fundraising.

Itchio allows selling games with a percentage of over 100% precisely because of that.

Also, the indie scene/players receive very well this kind of “sales” just because people perceive it as a new and “different” way to support the artists they love.

Another good idea to ask for money elegantly, is to make an Anthology, Robin.

I simply love that way. An annotated antology for whatever artist is something that I dig. And is a really neat excuse to go to other populated markets like Steam.

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I’m wrong about what exactly?

Your whole first statment.

Um… No I’m not?

Steam bundles always offer discounts over getting them individually. When you buy a box set of something (CDs, DVDs, blurays) on Amazon/Bestbuy/Walmart/etc, it always costs less than individually (unless they do a really fancy box or throw in additional content).

Why would you buy a bundle if it costs more than individually, especially if it’s a bunch of unrelated games? It’d only make you want to purchase the games you like and skip the others, thus giving less money to the dev. Offering them as a bundle for less than individually entices the customer to get the whole set because at least the ones they don’t care for are discounted.

Bundles are also targeted towards the “I’ll wait for a sale” crowd, because bundles are always discounted. You just have to buy every game to get sale.

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I’ve already explained myself in my previous post.

Um, okay? But I was talking about sales in general, not a specific site that allows the creator to randomly increase prices for no reason and call it a sale. If that weird ass marketing works, then good for the creator, but normally that would be self sabotage.

Imagine buying videos at a store. You put the blurays on the counter and the clerk goes “Oh, that’s a great a movie. That’ll be $20. Oh, and you bought the sequel. That’s another $20. Hmmm… It looks like that’s the entire series. That’ll be $50 to buy them together. Or you can put one back, buy one for $20, and then go grab the other one off the shelf again and buy it for $20.”

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Sadly, they only allow it as a percentage, so you can’t temporarily mark up your normally-free games. (Well, you can, like I did, but there’s no friendly mechanism for it - I have to change the price “permanently” then change it back again at the end of the week.)

This is interesting - is there an existing one you can point me at, so I can get an idea what they’re like?

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Yeah. I know three of them.

Eczema Angel Orifice, by Porpentine.

Zach-like by Zachtronics.

And, The basement collection, by Edmund McMillen.

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