A Good Question

Estyles had a good question about why the Halji30 competition has an entry fee. I thought it might help to pull it out here.

Why is there a £9 entry fee? Is there a copy of the game involved? From what I can see, it looks like you requesting design ideas and charging to review them, with the only prize being a chat with the designer, and you will use any ideas you like. Is that the case, or did I miss something?

That’s a good question: why is there an entry fee?

Well, there are a number of answers. In no particular order…

It’s a competition rather than a raffle. As a contest of skill, it takes some time to properly judge this, and that time comes out of the only resource I have to pay my bills: time. I strongly suspect that £9 will not cover the actual costs of dealing with each entry, but the fact that it was 30 x 30p amused me because of the 30th anniversary link.

As a point of reference, I visited my mum yesterday and she sometimes enters poetry competitions. These typically cost £5 per poem (up to 40-50 lines long). Now, reading through 2 short poems is way quicker and simpler than dealing with an entire game design, so £9 does not seem unreasonable to me.

There’s also the frequent suggestion that charging for something makes people take it more seriously. I think this is probably true, and so having some sort of entry fee helps with this. It means fewer people will enter, but then this isn’t a serious money-making scheme for us; it’s a bit of fun.

The intention is that people submit whole games, not just ideas. Ideas are not something that we are not in any shortage of, thank you. I’ve already got several hundred game ideas in notebooks.

A big part of the prize is getting published, so naturally we will use the work that the winner submits. That’s the point.

The “chat with the designer” could also be referred to as a free consultation – something I normally charge companies for. If someone is interested in getting into the games industry professionally and having more games published then they probably have questions. Having spent 30 years in the business in a wide variety of roles, I often have those answers.

Note that running this competition is actually more faff and hassle for me and Chris than not doing it. We have no need to plunder your ideas, it’s just that Chris and I thought it would be fun to include other people and give someone a chance to get their name in print. If you’re not interested in this then there’s no need to take part. There’s no compulsion.

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