One year ago today we penned our first blog entry and launched the very first edition of Wordament. A fine fellow named Mark (DEU) was the first person to play in the room with us and from that day forward we’ve been fortunate to have hundreds of thousands of players like you follow suit.
For those of you who never saw that first build, here’s the screenshots that we submitted to the Marketplace:
Our favorite thing about these screens is that since we had not launched, we had to fake the results screen. We chose to put 10 people in the results. We were pretty convinced that if we could get 10 people playing together at the same time, then we would have really accomplished something. Truth be told, we didn’t really know what would happen if we had 10 people playing since we only had 4 phones on our team! We also love that in the original build we simply showed all the results from everyone that played. It wasn’t until a couple releases later that we had reached a scale where it was necessary to cull down the results to keep them humanly readable.
While this first release is missing lots of features that make Wordament the game it is today, it established the base for everything we did this year. We felt that there was something elegant in its approachability and simplicity that we didn’t want to lose that as we continually updated it. With every feature we’ve added, we challenged ourselves to not complicate the game. Ultimately our players are the judge of this and when we made mistakes we listened and learned.
Anniversaries are fun because they are a chance to look back and to look forward. Looking back, we’re stunned and grateful by the many fortunate opportunities this game has brought us. While it’s been fun and exciting to solve technical problems, watch the user base grow, and engage with the press, we think that the best thing about this year is the number of friends we have made through Wordament. The community that has grown up around Wordament in the past year has been so great, whether when we compete round-over-round, chat together on Facebook, help and support issues that arise, or work with community members in the creation of custom themed word lists.
For the majority of this past year we were only working on Wordament part time. It’s only been since November that we have had the luxury of working during our day time hours on Wordament. I was reminded of a Harvey MacKay quote this week that basically sums up how we feel about our current jobs: Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. That’s not to say we haven’t had our fair share of long hours and hard work, but the reward of building this game and participating in this community is so worth the effort that we put into it that this job often doesn’t feel like a job at all. We couldn’t be more thankful for opportunity Microsoft has provided us by making this our full-time jobs.
We just recently hired a 3rd, full-time developer to our little team. We will talk more about Mr. Tim O’Connor in the weeks to come. However, a new developer plus the ability to focus full-time on Wordament are going to combine to make this coming year even more productive and exciting than the last. We hope you continue to come along for the ride!
Just last week we started doing the final touches on Wordament on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone. We are really proud of this upcoming release and we think you will really enjoy it. This build of Wordament will bring some long awaited features including multiple puzzle languages, guest mode, and better real-time statistics and results. We are really anxious to get this into everyone’s hands and hear the reception. As we have talked about before: this release will transition users to Xbox LIVE Gamertags and we will no longer support screen names. So go get your Xbox LIVE Gamertag hooked up to your phone today in preparation.
Lastly, we’ve had lots of requests to throw another Wordament Tournament and we are going to do just that. The final date is still being worked out, but there will be another in-person Tournament in the Redmond, WA area in the near future. Follow our blog and Facebook page for details.
Thanks again for taking this ride with us and thanks for playing Wordament,
John & Jason
aka “john” and “Black Snapper”