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There’s actually some really interesting philosophy about making money with free software; in fact, one of the definitions of free software is you have the right to sell your work. The majority of free software projects are build to be free software from the ground-up, and most commercial projects were designed to be sold. But as Richard Stallman says: “You either control your software, or the software controls you”, no matter how benign the software is.

Open-sourcing your work doesn’t mean you give up control over it, and you still have absolute authority over everything that goes on in it. What it does though is basically outsources the boring work of debugging and fixing stupid issues to the Internet. It’s like having your own army of helper monkeys while you’re the dictator that determines who and who can’t contribute.

It also allows your work to be included in games compilations, Linux distribution libraries, and by the desperate free software press who is usually stuck reviewing the same programs that have existed for twenty years. A happy consequence is it allows your work to be known for much, much longer than any proprietary software. If you’ve heard of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, Nethack, or games emulators like Dolphin, you’ll know these are all massively popular free software applications. Even the Quake engine is free software, allowing it to be relevant and used for decades after!

Licenses range from monstrously dense (Gnu GPL) to as simple as it gets (MIT). Even if some aspects of your game is copyrighted, you can still apply a license to the work and make everything else under that license, as you’re disclaimed from finding the appropriate “rights” in order to put copyrighted work under such. It’s something you should do as early as your first public release, so that people can start contributing on the very first day.

If you want your game to be copylefted, E.G. all distributions must have their source code released, then the GPL is universally known as such, though nobody understands it. For the only restriction being attribution, try the MIT Expat license, though you still have to enforce the thing for it to be effective and it’s practically impossible to know if anybody has used your code in proprietary software. If you want to save yourself any and all legal troubles and obligations, existing in Copyright Nirvana, use the public-domain dedicator CC0. An exhaustive list of licenses is at https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html .

Personally, I consider any notion of copyright to be a cultural cancer that damages everything it touches, putting the wants of the individual against the rights of the majority. It kills ideas before they even form, forces artists to self-censor out of fear they’re violating the law, and allows businesses and artists sweeping powers to sue, censor, and imprison anybody who uses any copyrighted material, including those which can be infinitely reproduced for free and forever and as such are economically worthless.

That’s why I dedicate all my work into the public domain; as the Degenerates say, “the less laws in our lives, the better”. It’s a matter of moral integrity, you see, because the only way to stop yourself from doing harm is to not have the capacity to do harm. CC0 is also simple to understand, even by people without a legal background. For a better formatted version, you can use mine at https://kratzen.neocities.org/copying.html , minus everything before “Statement of Purpose”.

If you publish your game commercially and make lots of money, you’ll have the honour of being the world’s first commercially-viable public domain video game. Unless you publish it on Steam with DRM, then it won’t really be free at all. Everything that you can’t legally license under CC0 will still apply under their respective licenses, and it’s up to the audience to seek those out, and to you to comply with them.

yeah opinions happen sometimes

Never being in a position where somebody has fairly criticised me, I have no idea how to put myself in your shoes. I did get a picture of somebody flipping off my website, though. What would I do to them? Ignore them to death?

I remember millionaire ad man David Ogilvy being disinherited by his mother on the grounds that “he would make more money than was good for him without me”. I take it you’re similar; you already have the marketing portion down pat, which is more than I could ever do with my games.

The impressive part isn’t that you did that; it’s that, in the first place, you convinced a rag-tag team of presumably unpaid members to join you, which I was never able to do despite having max Charisma.

In the second place, it’s that you made other games and weren’t discouraged when they crashed and burned, and they must have, because I’ve never heard of you before FIGHT KNIGHT. I did one. Once. And then I stopped, because I was but a husk of a man.

But you seem to know what you’re doing, if only because of that Ninja Baseball Bat Man avatar.

This review is fresh off the presses, though not as fresh as the newest version. If the game magically turns into something absolutely tits-up amazing, I’ll be forced to play again.

Anyway, this was a disappointment to me, especially considering how long I’ve followed your Tumblr for. I would have thought it more visceral considering the title, but I suppose not. Kratzen gives it two stars out of five, and you should feel lucky to earn that, given how miserable I felt during it.

I feel like the only dude reading this novel. Hah!

Anyway, I liked it a lot. A lot more than I probably should have, given how I didn’t like the writing too much, though on the whole it is a good title, and I was forced to give it three out of five stars, which is indeed a pretty good rating and one which nobody should feel ashamed to receive.


To say I was pleasantly surprised with this game is an understatement. To be honest, I expected it to be hot garbage, as I expect everything nowadays. But it was, as I never get to say, pretty gooooood.

Enjoy Kratzen’s four-star review of this deserving title. Why? Because it was the most fun I’ve had this month, that’s why.

Be happy; that rating is as rare as God.

This is just a dang old good piece of design that’s satisfying without having an alienating quirkiness that these games so often endear. It’s like playing one of those PopCap games that were always so smug, yet enjoyable.

Kratzen gave the game three stars out of five, making it one of the good ones.

i see this was a reaction to “Date a Fidget Spinner”

Here’s hoping good old Derek doesn’t throw a fit and take this game down because you’re accepting donations.


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Boy, if Callum’s review was honest, you’re going to shoot your brains out when it comes to mine.

So your Twitter says you’re students at a university? Don’t look back on the past work you did and feel bad for it. Certainly, don’t cringe when you eventually see better work, as my oldest website is a sacrilege to the brilliance of the ones I would create. One has to be an amateur before they can become someone worth writing about. Well, you’re halfway there.

Spain, too, is a good country. Feel proud of living there. But anyway, here’s the review: Kratzen gives it two stars. Two stars! Out of billions!

By the way, thanks for introducing me to the seapunk masterpiece that is DISNEY PRINCE$$. I feel like a normie whenever I say that music has the opportunity to affect the way one thinks about the world, but if we live in one where we can get audial productions that layer hopelessness, vapidity, uncertainty, and a bunch of other adjectives for the Teenage Dream, then it must be a pretty decent one, indeed. It’s something that I’m thinking about with my own production, putting those big ideas, these big stories, into such a small package. Seeing it paired up against Cranky Kong on Japanese commercials is an experience one only gets the equivalent of maybe… once a year?

Then again, it could just be me. But nobody puts songs into their work because they don’t like them, right?


yeah it’s pretty good

Full review: https://kratzen.neocities.org/reviews/2017-06/donkey-kong-exe-review.html

Also I’m boycotting your products for copyright infringement. Next time learn to respect the


Of course, nothing I say is going to stop me from being buried under a sea of Let’s Plays and teenaged downvotes, but so what? I’m saying my piece, and as the ocean screams, so do I: constantly and to the point where people build houses around me, saying it’s “soothing”.

Oh, right, the review! Kratzen gives it two stars. I hope you weren’t thinking of offering a contrary opinion on a comment section that nobody will read, because that would be silly.

Hey Eigen, sorry for being so coy and making you find this review somewhere on the Internet. I was a bit of a coward when posting it, and so pussyfooted around. To hide my shame, I’ll atone for my sins and post this little thing here: Kratzen’s two-star review.

I believe you when you say you’re DOS obsessed. Perhaps one day you’ll be UNIX obsessed? No, there wouldn’t be much nostalgia in that, unless you were a child with special parents. Keep it up. I demand that you do, so I may see more of your work.

You know, it’s one of those games that I came into thinking I’d hate it just like every other puzzle game out there. I instead found something smart, with a lot of effort put into it, even if it gave me a bit of a heart attack failing and all.

There’s no way in Hell I’m buying it on Steam, the cancer that is Valve, but I’ll leave you with a recommendation from Kratzen and a three-star review. In my books, that’s as good as a bomb squad simulator can ever get.

you know what? i agree with you. this is a good review.

HEY WOW: Check out the game’s actual page!

Oh, how I wish I could make this game popular. Sadly I can’t, which is reflected in the crowdfund amount. Well, Kratzen gave it a three-star-review, so that means it’s at least good. These days, good is good enough.

I had no idea how to review this game, and playing it a few times hurt my ears. I felt obliged to rate it how I knew a person who saw the title and didn’t immediately run away screaming would view it. To this end, Kratzen gave it 3/5 stars, because we get what we deserve in Meme Hell.

Yes, see https://twitter.com/JigxorAndy

wOw!!! this gæm gets a… TEM OUTTA TEM!!!

It was a real shortie; I could only give it an ironic review as to pore deep into it would offend each of your readers who have adopted a very high opinion of it. Kratzen gave it three stars, the “good” rating, because it is good, and you clearly know how to make a thing such.

I don’t believe this is a dry well; but after two years and with interest waning, you’ll have to work harder to earn another hit. Here’s my advice to you. You’re in a rare spot where you are not an expert and barely an amateur, so for other developers, you can do an extraordinary job of teaching them the struggles of where you are now.

Make as many development logs and post-mortems as you can, but do it on a respectable website like Gamasutra. Tumblr and Twitter are dead on arrival for developers. Build a legacy, and keep hustling. Basic stuff. But you know how few developers do this, eh?

I had to ignore your request and review the thing anyway. In short, I liked it. I realise saying something “has potential” isn’t very helpful and moreover may encourage one to spend time on what might very well be a bum product, but I would say there’s a lot of mechanical brilliance to be had here that wasn’t available in Idra, which relied on its atmosphere and story more.

Anyway, Kratzen gives it 3/5 stars, in the usual cheeky manner, though what you want to do with this thing is ultimately up to you. Is it a dry well? The reception is more tepid than with Idra, so it might be. Depends on how long you can develop for. Keep it up, though. You might get famous.

Comic Sans should never appear on the website; indeed, I haven't heard a single complaint about Comic Sans. I have Comic Sans installed, and it hasn't ever popped up. In the absence of any fonts, it should be whatever your Web browser selects as the default. The font stack is:

"Linux Libertine Display O", "Linux Libertine", "Liberation Serif", "FreeSerif", "EB Garamond", serif

I could stand to add in a common non-libre typeface.

I’m all for that. I’m more disappointed the Rock Paper Shotgun review showed a lack of experience with what survival games have the potential to do, having ignored many of the issues I’ve brought up. I’d expect it from a freelancer, but it was written by one of the founders, who is now an “industry veteran” according to Wikipedia.

Hype is a real killer. It turns bad games good and good games into gods. That’s just the nature of marketing, isn’t it? You do something moderately competent and suddenly everyone wants to bow down to you. Maybe I should make my own game. Upload it to Kratzen. Make the money. Screw over blokes by using copyright.

Actually, I find it strange how the review is worried about copycats. Mates, if you don’t want to be copied, have you tried making an original product? The idea that a concept is so interchangeable somebody can rip you off and not even raise a complaint really shows a lack of imagination on the parts of the developers. I guess we can’t all expect superstars.

I just want what’s best for you, dear.

Created a new topic Kratzen review: 1/5 stars.

As it stands, the game has a lack of stuff in it, and a concept that demands more stuff. It’s a prototype build, so the potential it engenders is sure to come up along development. Sad that Itch development is discontinued; would have been nice to follow.

Anyway, full review here:


This is the gayest thing I’ve read all week, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I look at Nami’s work, and it inspires me to be a better artist. I think it’s the future of what games will look like. The content, too, isn’t going away much.

Kratzen gives it 3/5 stars, and Jam’s on the front page. I gotta say, the artist deserves your support. Can’t recommend her enough, and I can’t wait to check out more. The only thing stopping me is trying not to clog up my magazine.

It’s good to see you’re a friend of new devs, too. You might want to open up the source and license it permissively. That way your work will live on and last. Plus, it’s good for business.

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Yeah, I like Superpowers. I like what it does. I like its professionalism. I like how it's free as in freedom, and not just being leased to you. But I bet you didn't make a whole new game maker just to redirect your customers to Superpowers, eh?

It's good for business, this whole free software thing. All my work is in the public domain; all I know is that everyone can enjoy my work after I die, and not have to ask my greedy heirs for permission to view the art I made. I bet you could do something similar. I made half a million words in my life. I wonder what this program will do?

The ironic thing about these game–making tools is that, while they encourage creativity, all the creativity is self–contained within the program and will never let you actually alter the program, limiting what a developer can do with it, and causing development to depend on a vendor who can change the program arbitrarily and at any time.

This closed–source, proprietary model is really disingenuous for the thing you’re trying to promote, which is making new developers. Developers need source–code in order to build new programs. They need it to be creative, to build games that last, and to build things that their fans and students can learn from. Otherwise they’re taught to be selfish and keep the knowledge to themselves. And when that happens, nobody wins.

You need to ask yourself, kind developer, if it’s more important to show you distrust the user, to say that they can only be creative on your terms and your terms alone, or if it’s more important to let them be free and release the source to this thing you’ve done.

Or, you know, just make another cynical capitalist product that will be forgotten about the instant you stop supporting it. The reason DOOM is still popular after twenty years is because people can alter its source code and make mods. What will you do? Be bigger than DOOM, or fall to the wayside?

Created a new topic Kratzen gives this 3/5 stars

I enjoy this game to its very core and not a single piece of bark deeper. I like its simplicity but also hate how simple it is. It’s a game that’s crying out for more of itself, more stories, more characters, more challenge, more reason for us to care, but on the whole it is what it is and I must rate it how it is.

Anyway, that's why Kratzen gave it 3/5 stars, which is by no means a bad score, but indeed average or slightly better. We're the only publication where three stars is the average, you see.

Whoever came up with this idea has a bright future ahead of them. It’s one of the very few games I played more than twice, and one of a handful I was actually interested in going back to after the review.

While Kratzen gave it three stars, that’s because of the purity of the star system and not how much I personally enjoyed it. I would have given it four, but I don’t like to deflate my gold standard.

Once again, very good game.

bless you, rabbit girl

My ears are burning.

I appreciate a series that a deaf bloke can enjoy. Haven't watched it, so I can't comment on the feasibility of your series. Remember there are two types of artists: killers, and poets. Killers catch attention. Poets deserve more of it. You can be a killer and awful or a poet and starving. The successful artist is both a killer and a poet.

I came into this game expecting a cute high, but what I found was something that made me actually think. It is cute, certainly, but that’s not the reason why Kratzen gave it four stars. It’s because, mostly, that you have proven yourself a much better artist than most of what I’ve seen. In the past week, this is the first four – star review.

I’ve learned a lot of what you’re getting at, partly from experience and partly from fiction, and I get it. The magic I felt from learning about relationships the first time has been spent. It’s then that I hope that you find as many new faces to read this as you may, for they need it the most, and you have done a good thing in making it.

Sidenote: I laughed my ass off at RD’s text sound. I would have never expected her to squeak.

What have I done to deserve two demos in two weeks? You’re tearing me apart, you two. Will look it over; here’s hoping PC Gamer doesn’t usurp me this time.