Fatman in Space - App Store Description

March 3, 2016, 1:02 p.m.
tags: fminspace , marketing

More than three months ago I released my iPhone game Fatman in Space. To date, it’s gotten 559 views on the App Store and has been downloaded 70 times (roughly 12.5% conversion rate). This averages to about 0.62 downloads a day. It has five reviews (all 5-stars!), presumably all of which are from friends.

Now, I did not expect this game to blow up. Sure I had dreams along those lines, but realistically I am not surprised at these numbers, especially considering I have done zero marketing other than word-of-mouth. I have no idea how people even find the game on the App Store... possibly all through me and my family spreading the word.

But recently I decided I’ve got to give marketing a go. To try and figure out if anyone--especially one that is unrelated to me and my social circle--actually likes the game. To see if I can market the game and see some degree of success. Hell, I spent over four years working on the game. Four years! I worked on very obscure bugs and carefully fined-tuned things that probably don’t make a difference in the game. For example, I thought about how when a player pauses and resumes the game, this pausing/resuming occurs in between the start and end of a frame of the game (approximately 0.0167 fractions of a second). Theoretically, these tiny fractions could have a minor affect on the calculated time elapsed during a level, and maaybe give an unfair advantage/disadvantage to the player. Probably not, but I added code to account for it.

There were times I went weeks or even months during those four years without touching the game, and it was a serious fear of mine that I would never release it. So just getting it out there was a big relief and satisfaction to me, and thus even if it doesn’t become a hit app, it still feels like a success. But I ought to see what can happen. Plus I recently read this book about building a successful brand, The Fortune Cookie Principle (quite interesting, I recommend it), and it got me thinking about how I might get people to download, and actually play, this sucker.

A couple of the things that stood out to me from that book are how important is to appeal to emotions and to treat customers people with care and let them know they are appreciated. And not just a means to making money.

So one of my first tasks is rewriting the App Store description. Here’s the old one:

All the food in the universe is becoming moldy. Something needs to be done and Fatman is the only one who can do it.

Guide Fatman through various intergalactic obstacles in order to save the universe from the evil clutches of Moldy Marvin, who spoils everything he touches.

Cute, but not much different than any other game’s description in the App Store (which I looked at to help form what to write). And depending on text-size on the phone, the second paragraph gets cut off in the middle by an ellipsis. You have to press "more” to read the rest.

The new one:

This game is not for everyone. It can be very difficult and uses a unique way of control that takes some getting used to. My hope, however, is that the game is also very rewarding. Some of the best parts of the game cannot be unlocked without significant effort. I worked on this game for over four years and built it how I wanted -- the kind of game I would like to play. I love the game, and I hope you do too.

P.S. Hope to see you on the Game Center leaderboards. I’ll be the one with the fastest times.


Guide Fatman through various intergalactic obstacles in order to save the universe from the evil clutches of Moldy Marvin, who spoils everything he touches.

All of the phenomenal music is done by Jon Evans.

Thank you for checking out Fatman in Space. Share your thoughts or express your frustrations to contact@fatmaninspace.com

It starts with a personal letter from me, the guy who created the game and did everything for it except make the wonderful music. My hope is that this is a way of showing I care that you are checking out my game, and that I really hope you like it (as I do, in reality). But my thinking is that it does much more than that. (Of course, this could all be to no avail as who knows if people actually read the descriptions.... If that's the case, at least it's kind of fun to think about.)

Now I am no expert in psychology, but I believe the first sentence has a few different benefits:

The letter then builds on that by showing how much care went into the game and challenging the player to invest in the game and be rewarded for his/her efforts. And it hopefully deters those who are looking for a less demanding game and probably would not enjoy the game anyways.

After the letter there is:

So altogether, I think this will help prepare people for the challenge of the game and understand that if they get put-off, maybe it’s just not for them. They should be less likely to leave a bad review because they know what they are signing up for, as the creator of the game (who would be negatively affected by this bad review) told them directly.

I hope the new description comes of as genuine. Because it is. This is how I actually feel about the game. It’s difficult and I want it to be so. Of course, given how many hours I’ve spent with it, it’s hard for me to gauge the learning curve and if perhaps it is just too hard. Or just not fun. But I need to get more people playing it to find out.