Independent Developer’s Job Termination Inspires CRA Jam

I Get This Call Every Day, the game that inspired the CRA Jam

Developers often make games pitting the player against the government. Few, however, make games in praise of the government. Independent developer Mike Bithell of London, England, has announced the CRA Jam (http://mikebithell NULL.tumblr, a two-day online game development challenge allegedly in honor of the Canada Revenue Agency (http://www NULL.cra-arc NULL.gc (CRA), “who are awesome, and deserve everyone’s love.”

The Canada Revenue Agency, the unwitting catalyst behind the CRA Jam (http://www NULL.torontosun

Canada Revenue Agency headquarter in Ottawa, November 4, 2011. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)

Why would a developer in England start a development jam about a Canadian government agency? The inspiration inadvertently came from independent developer David S. Gallant (http://davidsgallant of Toronto, Canada. On December 21, 2012, Gallant, then a part-time CRA customer service representative, released I Get This Call Every Day (http://davidsgallant NULL.html), a Choose Your Own Adventure-type game pitting the player, as a customer service representative like Gallant, against a difficult telephone caller. It reflected his feelings of having, as he remarked in the game’s trailer, “become nothing more than a numb meat popsicle.”

Although the game never identified the CRA explicitly as its setting, on January 29, 2013, the Toronto Star reported Canada’s Revenue Minister, Gail Shea, was displeased with Gallant and his game (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.html). That same day, Gallant lost his job (https://twitter Shortly thereafter, Bithell announced the CRA Jam, and another development jam, Ludum Dare (http://www NULL.ludumdare, announced it would be hosting the event (http://www NULL.ludumdare

The CRA Jam will take place February 2 and 3, 2013. Interested developers will need a Ludum Dare account (http://www NULL.ludumdare NULL.php?action=register) to participate. Participants can submit their CRA-inspired creations through a form (http://www NULL.ludumdare on the Ludum Dare website. The form will be available for a few days after February 3 “for anyone late to the party.” Gallant, a past Ludum Dare participant (http://www NULL.ludumdare, will also be taking part (http://twitter

For the latest information on the CRA Jam, check posts marked “CRAJam (http://www NULL.ludumdare” on the Ludum Dare website, watch Mike Bithell’s Tumblr page (http://mikebithell NULL.tumblr, and search the hashtag #crajam (https://twitter on Twitter. Game ideas are already emerging on Twitter, as well as one call from a programmer seeking an artist collaborator (https://twitter In addition, one game, Super Desk Job! (http://www NULL.ludumdare, has already been submitted. Further submissions will be listed on the CRA Jam submission form (http://www NULL.ludumdare

As for Gallant, he has received an outpouring of support from the Internet community (https://twitter, I Get This Call Every Day buyers (https://twitter, and even online independent-game store Desura (https://twitter Sales of the game are up “like 400% (https://twitter,” he tweets, making “over $5000 (https://twitter” as of January 31, 2013. It has reached 39% (https://twitter on Steam Greenlight (http://steamcommunity, up from 27% (https://twitter on January 29. Gallant has come to see his job termination as a blessing in disguise (https://twitter

I Get This Call Every Day can be purchased from Gallant’s website (http://davidsgallant NULL.html), Indievania (http://www NULL.indievania, and Desura (http://www NULL.desura It costs $2.00 (USD) minimum; on Gallant’s website and Indievania, buyers can pay more if they wish. Currently, it only supports Windows.

[Source] (http://mikebithell NULL.tumblr

About Oscar Tong

Oscar joined oprainfall late September 2012 in response to a recruitment drive. He quickly discovered his job was much harder than he had anticipated. Despite the constant challenge, he has come to enjoy his responsibilities. When he is not scrambling to meet a deadline, Oscar enjoys story-driven games with a strong narrative. He is especially fond of computer adventure games, role-playing games, and visual novels. He hopes the world will one day awaken to the power of video games as a storytelling medium.