Vorpal Umbrella – Product Development Contest

Over at Mysterious we’re working on a line of new products. The first we’d like to introduce is the Vorpal Umbrella. The Vorpal Umbrella features an alchemy pattern interior print, skull head handle, and black cloth exterior. The umbrella mechanism is automatic – open and close with a single button press.


You can sign up to be notified when the Vorpal Umbrella goes on sale by visiting the Mysterious Store.

You can also enter to win a FREE Vorpal Umbrella by simply writing to tell us what you like about its design. Is there anything you’d like to see changed or added? Write a brief outline of your thoughts in the comments and you may win a free Vorpal Umbrella!

Free Alice Print & Mysterious Sale

Off with their, er… Prices!

Fetch the executioner! The Queen of Hearts demands price chops at Mysterious. All “red” items are on sale! And each “red” item ordered comes with a FREE “Queensland Gate” autographed collector print.


Collector prints measure 61cm x 46cm, are printed on heavy stock archival paper, individually signed by American McGee, and are limited edition.

“Queensland Gate” prints are available, for free, with the purchase of any “red” wallet, bag, or purse listed below through the end of September, 2016. One poster per “red” item purchased (purchase two items, get two posters, etc).

Offer is good with the Red Hood Bag, Red Hood Purse, and the…

Closure of Shanghai Studio, Start of New Adventures

10 years, 10 games, tons of wonderful memories. The Shanghai studio of Spicy Horse Games is closing its doors. The company itself will remain intact, and we’ll continue to operate existing games online. At our peak, during development of Alice: Madness Returns, the studio contained 85+ people. These days we’re down to just 6, and it feels like a good time for a radical shift.

I’m going to turn my focus to indie development and will continue to publish small titles under the Spicy Horse brand. Much of this work will be done in a challenging new environment – aboard my sailboat, bobbing around the S.E. Asia region. This is also where I’ll bring to life Pirate Jam – the game jam on a flotilla of sailboats. I plan to document this new adventure online and in video. If you want to support these new creations, check out my Patreon page.

The past 12 years in China have been incredible. I owe so much to the people who helped build Spicy Horse into a happy place to explore and create. To the hundreds of developers who called Spicy Horse home over the years, Thank You. And to the fans and supporters who enjoyed our efforts, Thank You.

Now, to the next adventure! I hope you’ll all join me along the way 🙂

Comment on this announcement on my Facebook page.

Alchemy Wallet and Laser Engraving

Over at Mysterious we’ve added several new products including the Alchemy Wallet. Hand made in limited quantities, the Alchemy Wallet features the Mad Hatter’s signature mercury symbol alongside Alice’s omega.


Mysterious now offers laser engraving on most items. Have your favorite phrase or line art added to your order free of charge!

Dev Armada – A Proposal

UPDATE: This post has turned into an actual event: www.pirate-jam.com

Seeking feedback on an idea I’m brainstorming: Hackathon + Sailing + YouTube

A rough draft PDF overview can be found here: Pirate GamesV2 (Updated Mar 10, 2015)


Here’s the request for feedback I’m posting to Reddit’s /r/gamedev

Seeking Feedback: Hackathon/Jam + Sailboats + Reality Show

tl;dr: Game dev wants your feedback on “sailboat-based hackathon + video series” concept.

For the last 23 years I’ve been making games with non-traditional themes, in unusual development environments, and with interesting financial/legal structures. For instance, 9 years ago I started a studio in China which went on to make the first AAA Western console game 100% developed by a China-based team. Spicy Horse continues making games to this day, but with a focus on F2P mobile games.

Always seeking a new challenge, I’ve been brainstorming a way to combine some of my favorite pastimes: game development, sailing, and YouTube content (creation and consumption).

I’m here today seeking feedback and advice on what’s tentatively called “Dev Armada” AKA “Pirate Games” AKA “Will it Float?”

The idea:

Create a 10-day hackathon/game-jam; put it aboard sailing vessels in the Andaman Sea (Thailand’s most beautiful place to sail); insert competing teams of 3 devs per boat; allow for 7AM-12PM development; fill the remaining day with “pirate games,” sailing, diving, and fishing; film the whole thing; and release 30 minute episodes to promote the brand and finished apps. Finally, release the apps for free and generate revenue via YouTube, ads, Patreon, branded merchandise, sponsors, and other sources. Participants share in the financial success of each adventure. Repeat this 6 times per year.

Thematically, the video series explores a “fish out of water” narrative as participants overcome various challenges related to life at sea and development in remote locations.

The pilot episode will feature two sailboats (one mine, one belonging to and captain’d by friends who are sailing couple). Two teams of 3 devs will be flown to Thailand to participate in 10 days of development and fun. The resulting media content (video, apps) will be used to verify the concept and pitch the idea to potential sponsors, financiers, and future participants.

I’m looking for feedback in general. I have some specific questions in mind, but will wait to see the general feedback before posting those.

So, what’s wrong with the idea? What’s great about it? Why would you participate (or not)? Would you watch the videos? What’s your pirate name?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Change Log
Updated the PDF. Adjusted goals related to content type and theme. Old version of the PDF can be found here: Pirate GamesV1