Yesterday, October 4th, a friend had asked for a link to my game I made, so I sent him the Steam link to Shoppy Mart: Steam Edition. He said thanks and then two minutes later sent me a Google Play Store link with the message, "Is this your game too?"
That is how I found out that, unbeknownst to me, my game had been out for two months.
I will now tell you how that happened.
The story leading up to this was that I made a game called Shoppy Mart and uploaded it to itch.io in December of 2014. It was the first game I ever made. I made it in a week and posted the prototype to itch.io. It got download several hundred times as a prototype, which inspired me to continue working on it. I worked on it for another two weeks and posted the first ever update for Shoppy Mart as the "Shoppy Mart Alpha". I watched as it started climbing up the itch.io front page, getting a couple thousand of downloads. I continued to update date it over the course of the next three months until Shoppy Mart hit Beta. With the beta the game continued to grow and some youtubers got a hold of it and then it just kinda exploded. The views of from the Youtube videos ended up totaling over 2,000,000 and the downloads were coming in by the thousands.
At that point I had gotten enough feedback that I thought it would be a good idea to put the game on Steam Greenlight. The first time I posted it, it had the same graphics from the Beta and wasn't received well. I ended up deleting it and trying it again two months later with a brand new name, this wasn't Shoppy Mart anymore, this was...
SHOPPY MART: STEAM EDITION
At the start of my third week of the new greenlight campaign I ended up getting Shoppy Mart put into a Groupees Community Bundle, which added tons of traffic to the page resulting in the final push to get Shoppy Mart: Steam Edition greenlit after a month on Steam Greenlight!
I promised the game to be released on October 1st, 2015 and ended up releasing it early on September 25th, 2015. Shortly afterword I teased a mobile edition on the steam page and my twitter.
That ended up being a terrible idea because I had no idea what I was doing. I worked on it for two months and then dropped it. It worked on mobile, but it didn't play well, everything was too small, and I didn't think it was going to be a good fit, so I silently cancelled it.
That is until yesterday. When I found out in October of 2016 that the app I cancelled back in December of 2015 had been released two months prior and had 500-1000 downloads! Now it would have been nice to say that I found out there was 50,000 or 500,000+ downloads on it, but that's not the point. Apparently back in July of 2015, Google changed how games in Beta were viewed.
I had set the game to 'Beta' so that I could invite family and friends to help me test it while I was developing it. It was a closed beta and so only the people who I had invited could download it. When Google introduced their 'Early Access' program, Shoppy Mart: Mobile Edition became a public page that people could opt into.
Thankfully, the game was marked as 'unreleased' and there was even a warning letting users know that what they are downloading is in development, but it was still a shock to find that something I thought was private in December of 2015, was being downloaded in October of 2016 by anybody who wanted to.
Hearing all of this news yesterday had me in a panic last night, working late last night to fix all of the issues I could and push out an update after almost a year of leaving it to collect dust. Before I pushed out the update late last night, ads were blocking half of the answers in the interview with Julie, and you had to be a child to push the register buttons, I did my best to make it playable, and I had fun returning to it. I thought it was a funny story, and I figure I'd count this as good a time as any to 'launch' it.