The Experience of Participating in a Game Dev Competition

The Experience of Participating in a Game Dev Competition

The Experience Of Participating In a Game Dev Competition

Hello, my name is Daniela, I’m the Technical Director of Mimicry. I know this post is a little bit overdue, but I think it can be of value to the game development community and our fans. This post has to do with acceptance, perseverance and getting over things you have no control over.

This is a post-mortem of our participation in PlayStation Talents Portugal 2017. This was the first time Mimicry participated in a video game development competition.
We decided to participate in this contest in September 2017, and at the beginning of October, we got the news that we were selected as one of the 10 finalists.
Last Monday, the 29th of January there was an Awards ceremony. We were nominated for various categories. In the end, we didn’t win in any category and it’s OK.

In fact, it feels a little bit like Jay-Z in the Grammys 2018, who had 8 nominations and didn’t win any. In Jay-Z’s opinion “art is super-subjective and everyone’s doing their best, (…) The academy, they’re human like we are and voting on things that they like”.


Participating in these types of contests is a gamble because they take precious time away from your development. This is a fact and you have to make peace with yourself if you’re going to commit. There’s no doing things half-way because video game development is a very competitive field. If you’re not willing to put your heart into something, then you’ve already lost to those who will.
As any other type of investment, there are risks. For Mimicry, this contest was a relatively low-risk investment, it’s a local (national) event with a very interesting package for the first prize. Unlike other contests, there weren’t any submission/entry fees, so our investment was basically time and mental availability.

Perseverance and mindset

If you work as a game developer, especially if you’re an indie, having a strong mindset and a will to persevere is essential. You’ll hear many “no”, your games will be loved by some, hated by other and, truth be told, indifferent to the majority.
Awards and media recognition can feel very nice, but the nature of these things is fickle and doesn’t represent the market. In the end, the market will tell whether your game is good or not.

“Don’t take any heed, if [anyone] is placing obstacles in your path. You always have pleasure in doing your thing well; it must give you independence from the whole buffoonery into which we have been born. I have largely attained this independence. Worshipped today, scorned or even crucified tomorrow, that is the fate of people whom — God knows why — the bored public has taken possession of.” – Albert Einstein (

Participating in PlayStation Talents Portugal 2017 has brought us many nice things. We were able to exhibit the game at a prime location in a national games tradeshow (you can read more about it on Post-mortem of Ganbatte’s first game event at Lisboa Games Week). There, we saw the smiles on our player’s faces, the reactions, the feedback and we loved it.
Our current team started working together in June 2017, being able to exhibit at a tradeshow with everyone made us bond very strongly.


Mimicry team photo
The team at Lisboa Games Week 2017

Are we disappointed to not have won anything? A little bit, and that’s alright and healthy.
However, these feelings have to do with things completely out of our control, and it’s impossible for us to have a good perspective.
We have no idea how the submissions were evaluated, the criteria, the materials submitted by the other contestants. For instance, I don’t think the jury had the chance to try out the games. Furthermore, we’re not closely involved with the video game development community in Portugal, and this being a national game contest must have its weight.
Human beings are very sensitive to the concept of fairness, but fairness is not a right and it’s definitely not how the world works, at large. Fairness in a competition of this kind is difficult to evaluate, especially when the evaluation process is not transparent. Imagine you have a book writing competition and all literature and non-literature genres are represented. How can you easily compare the merit of two books that have nothing in common except that they’re printed on paper? It’s ridiculous, and hope that the people participating in that contest had a good time because not much can be inferred from the proceedings.

Focus on building a sound business and be happy

If you enjoy making video games, my earnest advice that I try to follow is: create the conditions that will allow you to keep making video games for as long as you want, the way you want.

For me, that is building a sustainable business, and embracing the long game. Even though the video games industry is hit-driven, your marathon shoes will help you more than the sprinter shoes. If you have your bases covered, you can enjoy the process. There are no overnight success stories. Making games takes (a lot of) time.
For example, this contest had a prize pool of €10000. This is not a life-changing amount for Ganbatte as a project. Taking into account a team of 5, this money would last us 3 or 4 months at most! Maybe it will take a little bit longer to take the game into PlayStation VR, but I’m pretty sure we’ll arrive there in due time.
We’re grateful we are creating conditions in which we can enjoy the process of making the VR game we want with independence.

Let’s do it again?

After the awards ceremony, we had a 30-minute talk about our expectations and feelings before heading home. The idea of a 2-hour car ride talking about the matter didn’t seem very productive. One of the questions asked individually to everyone was “Would you be up for participating again next year?”. The answer was a unanimous “yes”. This result hasn’t affected our pride in Ganbatte, but the opportunity of watching families play Ganbatte together has.
The following day, our life went on as normally as before, making Ganbatte. Like Jay-Z, we focus on what we can control, and keep on doing what we love.

If you’re a game developer, be true to yourself, have fun and enjoy the ride. If you’re into games for the fame and glory, there are more gratifying ways of getting them. This is a marathon and “if you’re able to wake up and spend your day making the games you want, you’re living the dream”, as my partner Thomas likes to say very often.
This is a wrap up of our journey for PlayStation Talents Portugal 2017. Since we have been talking about our experience throughout the past months, it was fitting to finalize this arc.
I’ll close off by reminding you that Ganbatte is now set to “Coming soon” on Steam at So, you can now wishlist it! If you want to ?

Thanks for reading!


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