What Happened to Dead Five?

Two years ago, with the help of some very good friends I setup Dead Five as I saw an opportunity in HyperCasual games. It was (and still is) clear to me that these kinds of games were set to mature in production and design terms and leaving a lot of money on the table for the want of a few, fairly basic, monetisation features. Dead Five was therefore intended to be a 12-month "get rich quick" scheme where: we'd build a bunch of hypercasual games, give them slightly more sophisticated treatments and meta-design than was normal for the genre, get a hit and make millions! But things never quite work-out like you expect huh? Initially the studio was quite successful. We got a ridiculous number of prototypes out of the door in the first couple of months (so many in fact that I struggled to service them all properly), several felt like they had potential, our initial tests were really promising and we started to build-up great relationships with the hypercasual publishers. I fe

What passes for wisdom

Well, it’s time to for me to start blogging again and (inspired by a recent conversation with a friend on Facebook) what better to start with a list of some of the things that I really should have done differently over the years: Don't rush in to having children -  Let’s start with this as, in some ways it’s the toughest one to explain. You see, I love my kids dearly and, obviously, I would never wish them away however I can honestly say that having them only a couple of years after starting a very ambitious business venture and not feeling emotionally ready for it at the same time was one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever faced as a human being. I’d like to think that they’d say I’m not a terrible father but I feel like I could have been a better dad to them if I hadn’t been under so much pressure and felt more prepared for it. Guard your bandwidth - Although tactics and strategy are important it's a reality that most battles are simply won by overwhelming the opposit

Recent NHS Experiences

Following a (obviously fake) post I saw yesterday on Facebook which was trying to debunk the ‘a kid with pneumonia lying on coats on the floor in hospital’ incident I thought I might share a selection of my first-hand, and worrying, experiences with the NHS - all of these occurred within the last 3-4 years: 1 - I spent a lot of time in a Chemo unit which was so understaffed that the 3 nurses who were running it (should have been 6-8) were having to run from machine to machine to keep up. 2 - I spent 11 weeks in specialist gastrointestinal ward in London. During my stay staff shortages were extreme and most of our nurses would arrive at least an hour early and leave a couple of hours late just so they could get the job done. These issues were compounded by the fact that about half the other people in my ward were *actually* there because of mental health issues that there wasn’t proper support for e.g.: One chap kept pulling his stitches open in order to avoid having to go ho

Take Your Opportunities

Running a business - even a relatively small one like mine gives you a remarkable vantage point from which to observe certain parts of life and one of the things that I enjoy most about my specific job is the opportunity it gives me to spot/develop talent. It’s thrilling to see someone join the team and grow into a valuable, formidable professional who’s at the very top of their game - in fact no other part of my job is more rewarding. However, on the flip-side, a source of constant disappointment to me is how few people take the opportunities that we give them. Being the only game studio in 50 miles we get a very large number of both applications for jobs we advertise and speculative enquiries from students and grads. I personally review every single one we get and pride myself in looking for the potential in everything even when the overall portfolio we’ve been sent is a bit poor. If there’s something that I like, I’ll often respond by suggesting that the person concerned

How the iPad Changed Everything...

I'm currently sitting watching the stream from today's Apple event in Cupertino, they've just announced the iPad Air 2 (much to the chagrin of one of my iPad Air - owning team) and it reminded me how much things have changed in the last 3-4 years thanks to Apple. Just this morning I witnessed a scene which distilled this change more clearly than I would have ever thought possible. On the way to work i stopped off at our local Tesco filling station, it was about 9:30 - hardly peak time, and it's a big station so you wouldn't expect it to be too busy - but what greeted me was an end-of-the-world-style scene reminiscent of a George A. Romero movie - cars queueing 5 deep, people shouting at each other in frustration and trying to barge each other out of the way in order to get to the pumps. Did some kind of flash fuel crisis which cause panic buying? Was there some kind of crazy special offer they were all racing to get? No... it was an upgrade of the pumps

Non-Standard Careers Advice

Today I visited a local school to do a careers talk - one of many that I've done in the area since we moved here. As ever it was loads of fun to do - it's great to chat to kids about the industry and, lets face it, Me is one of my favourite subjects :) Anyway - since the talk is fresh in my head I thought it might be useful to jut down some of my key tips in case someone out there can benefit. So here we go: If you want to have a great career in the creative industries I suggest you: 1) Be Interested As well as interesting. Whilst you should be proud of your ideas and skills, remember that experienced people probably won't be so impressed initially. They're probably wrong, you're definitely going to be the next big thing, but there's still a huge amount you can learn from them. Remember that creative people love to talk about themselves so, be interested, ask as many questions as possible and wait for them to be interested in you. 2) Be Confident Follo


When I was younger I knew 3 things for certain: The more exhaust pipes a car had the faster it was, Sarah Greene was very interesting for some reason, Anything "turbo" was automatically awesome. Now that I'm older I'm enlightened - I understand that car-manufacturers play with your head by adding additional, technically unnecessary, exhaust pipes to their cars but I'm kinda okay with that. My understanding of Turbo however is different matter, I now realise that there are only two acceptable uses of the term: In a post-modern/retro/ironic fashion i.e. "he's a turbo bell-end" or "Turbo Super Ultra Mega Snail Racing will be out on iOS this fall" If something actually has a turbocharger on it - in which case it is way too cool for its own damn good. What's the significance of this? Well, one of my obsessions in life is efficiency, specifically how to get maximum effect for minimum effort. This obsession seem to permeat