Feature: Learning More About the Nindies Love You Wii U eShop Promotion

Up to ten Nindie games on discount

The most recent European Nintendo Download Update details contained plenty of discounts on the Wii U eShop, but a number of those are actually part of a themed campaign that'll reach all regions. Nindies Love You will feature on the store with its own banner and sections, and is the latest promotional campaign arranged by download developers; it has various deals for North America, Europe and Australia, listed below.

North America:

Europe:

  • Teslagrad - Rain Games (£6.99 / €7.49)
  • Chariot - Frima Studio Inc (£6.74 / €7.49)
  • Tengami - Nyamyam (£3.49 / €3.99)
  • Race the Sun - Flippfly (£3.49 / €4.99)
  • Chasing Aurora - Broken Rules (£2.99 / €3.49)
  • Turtle Tale - Saturnine Games (£2.49 / €2.99)
  • ZaciSa: Defense of the Crayon Dimension! - ZeNfA Productions (£1.14 / €1.49)
  • Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion - RCMADIAX (£1.34 / €1.49)

Australia:

  • Teslagrad - Rain Games ($9.99)
  • Chariot - Frima Studio Inc ($9.75)
  • Tengami - Nyamyam ($4.99)
  • Chasing Aurora - Broken Rules ($3.99)
  • ZaciSa: Defense of the Crayon Dimension! - ZeNfA Productions ($2.15)
  • Turtle Tale - Saturnine Games ($1.99)

Promotions such as these come relatively frequently on the eShop, earning participants a more focused presence on the store. They also represent a communal approach between Nindies, banding together to raise awareness of each others' games.

Each of these promotions requires a figurehead, and on this occasion it's Greg Wiggleton of ZeNfA Productions; we caught up with him to learn more about how it came together.

First of all, can you introduce yourself and remind readers of your Wii U eShop release?

My name is Greg Wiggleton, and I created the game development company called ZeNfA Productions. My very first game was a Tower Defense type game called ZaciSa's Last Stand (known as ZaciSa: Defense of the Crayon Dimension! outside of North America) which was first released for the Nintendo Wii U eShop back in July of 2014. Since then I have been hard at work to update the game, by ways of improving it as well as creating brand new content to the game for all that enjoy it. Even now that it's been over a year and half since the original launch, I still have a brand new final patch coming soon to the game.

When did you have the idea for this Nindies Love You sale?

I truly had the idea for this group event sale around a year ago when the 1st and 2nd "epic indie sale" events were happening. I was curious if it was possible to host my own type of sale with other indies I'm in contact with and if Nintendo would advertise it on the eShop at all. It was around August 2015 that I finally started to get active in recruiting other Nintendo indies and contacting Nintendo directly about setting up one of these sales.

What was the first step in making it happen?

The very 1st step I took was taking charge of this idea and contacting Nintendo (already with a few select indies interested) back around August 2015. I was curious on how these group sales came into being. Nintendo would go on to tell me that these group indie sales were 100% created from indies and that Nintendo just helped set it up with the indies being in charge of it. From there I tried to gather a bunch of different indie Wii U games that would go well with this sale and show Nintendo that we were interested in doing our own sale. From here, I would go on to be Nintendo's main contact for our group and talk to Nintendo on what is required, type of banners needed, and deadlines for different parts were. Every few weeks I would send updates to all involved as well as keep Nintendo involved with our developments to help keep them informed that we were serious about doing this sale.

The original goal was to have this 2 week sale period occur sometime around Christmas of 2015. A few of us involved early on thought this might be a good idea. After all, the Christmas period can be very nice for sales. However, a problem with this plan was that this period is usually very crowded. Nintendo themselves even warned us that a sale like this in December was a bad idea and recommended January or February for doing this sale. By October we finally decided to officially make it a February sale. Since this would take place around Valentine's, we decided on that as a theme and came up with the "Nindies Love You" title for it.

You have a broad mix of developers and game types involved; how did the final list come together?

I mainly tried to look for indie games that haven't been featured in one of the bigger epic indie sale type group events. This includes a number of smaller developers and games and a mix of larger higher profile games too. I'm friendly with a few indies like RCMADIAX and Saturnine Games, so they were the first I contacted about doing this sale to see if they were interested. As my list of potential indies grew, I was able to reach out to some other developers, like Rain Games and Frima Studios, both directly and indirectly through others. By December this list of 11 different indies was finalized and set up.

I was unsure of how many of these games would also be available in Australia. But luckily thanks recently to IARC, the list of AU games in this sale now includes ZaciSa and Turtle Tale, which now brings the list of AU games to 6.

What are some of the biggest challenges in bringing together a series of discounts in an organised promotion?

The biggest challenges for this were trying to gather a group of indies, convincing Nintendo to advertise our sale, and reaching the deadlines of creating Banners. I'm not a graphics person myself, so I was unsure of how we would get custom banners for this sale. Luckily the awesome Jennifer Schneidereit of Nyamyam stepped forward to help create the banners we would need and did an amazing job on them. The biggest challenge I faced became the deadlines for the sale. For example, Nintendo had a set deadline for when the sale sheets for each game was due as well as when the final list of banners needed for it had to be submitted. Each of those were both finished just days before the deadline, so at times I was a little unsure of how this would go. But thankfully the event pulled through as you can now see.

In my experience, us Nindies are becoming more important in the Nintendo system ecosystem.

Do promotions like this drive notable sales on the eShop, in your experience?

From my own experience and experiences from others, yes. I have noticed that sales go up quite a good bit when there is a big event like this. My own game, ZaciSa: Defense of the Crayon Dimension!, was advertised by Nintendo of Europe during its launch week sale as well as its first sale a few months later. Both times I noticed a big spike in sales compared to the North American version, that led to Europe being a big success for ZaciSa.

Can you talk about the extent of Nintendo's backing for the idea?

Since I am still a somewhat small indie, I was a little unsure on how and if Nintendo would help advertise our sale. Through continued talks and discussions, the group sale eventually seemed to become important enough, with the 11 different indies, that Nintendo started to seem more interested in helping to advertise the game on the eShop. Nintendo of America and Europe had us create a bunch of different banners, each in a different language. These banners will be used across the eShop during this sale to help advertise the indies in the group.

Are there any particular aspects of the 'Nindies' scene that you think are unique to the eShop and the Nintendo audience?

In my experience, us Nindies are becoming more important in the Nintendo system ecosystem. We are starting to find that with the gap that Wii U retail is lacking in, we are finding new voids to help fill as we bring more games to the Nintendo audience. I have noticed, even more so since I am one too, that Nintendo gamers are very excited for the type of games that are created for Wii U and 3DS. They will reach out to you if they like your game or if there are areas in it that could be improved. I found this relationship of indie developer - Nintendo gamer to be very beneficial as I find new ways to improve my games as well as take feedback and create new exciting content for them as well.

Do you hope to organise more Nindies Love You promotions in the future?

I would love to create new promotions like this in the future. I am hopeful that this event goes well for all involved so that we can all continue to make interesting and fun games for Nintendo systems for all to enjoy. Who knows, maybe one day you might see a similar promotion by me for the Nintendo NX for a new set of games!

Finally, what's next for ZeNfA Productions, can you talk about your upcoming projects?

Currently I am hard at work on two new games, both of which are scheduled to be released around Q2 of this year for the Wii U eShop. The first game is Drop It: Block Paradise! This is a physics-based puzzle game with over 100 unique levels with a built in level editor that gamers will be able to create their own levels and share them online with others. Players will be able to create a variety of fun and wacky levels. This game is about 70% done currently and is getting closer to being ready to submit to Nintendo.

The second is a space shooter game called Rocket! It's a 2D action space shooter inspired by the classic Atari game Asteroids. This is coming along nicely and is currently about 40% done. The game will have plenty of asteroids, enemy ships, bosses and black holes to deal with as you rack up the points in this arcade style game. I am currently experimenting with the idea of having online multiplayer for the game, including co-op and battle mode type of multiplayer. I am hoping to have this game finished and released by the end of May or June.


We'd like to thank Greg Wiggleton for his time. Let us know if you're planning to dive into any of these discounts from the Nindies Love You promotion.