Five By Five

For an in-depth look at where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and where we’re going, Will was kind enough to put together this awesome retrospective. Check it out!



Five years is a peculiar quantity of time, at once an eternity and an instant. And it seems appropriate that a company founded on the concept of digital ink would commemorate it with the real variety.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Five years ago, Will and I started a digital media company. It was as much a venture as it was a gesture, a middle finger to the turnover-burnout culture of the graphic design industry we’d been raised in. We started a company because we wanted to express ourselves, take control of the things we spent our time doing.

“Yo, you wanna start a company?”
“I already filed the paperwork.”

We made a game because, well, wouldn’t you? That’s how these things go. And with Auditorium, we discovered that a little piece of code, wrapped with music and light, duct-taped and polished and put on display for all the world to see, could touch someone halfway across the globe. Which, if you want to talk emotions hard to put into words…

Imagine being on your fourth sleepless night, your third pack of ramen, your second eviction notice, and suddenly, a letter comes in the mail. A thank-you note from a teacher who was touched by something you created, and attached to the letter, two gold stars.

Gold. Frickin. Stars.

And after that, you start getting emails from around town. From the game community. The community, which you’re just learning exists. “Hey, there’s this thing called the IGDA, maybe you guys should talk?”

“Hey guys, we’re gonna talk about making things up as you go along.”
“You may notice we didn’t prepare anything.”

And you realize this community is home. The home of more crazy people who stay up till daylight because their shader isn’t compiling right on arm6. People who argue for twenty minute spells about pixels, kerning, difficulty curves, architecture, controls, consoles, platforms — but never argue about the fun. And slowly, surely, you find more of them hanging out, becoming family.

Fast forward. Our company is five members and five years strong. Our neighbor leaves the office next to us.

“Let’s kick down the wall.”
“Well obviously.”

And now we have the Philly Game Forge. A new home for the family we found — or found us, I suppose. Our inaugural showcase was a testament to how much we’ve grown as a community, and as individuals. Tell me five years ago that hundreds of people would show up on a Friday night in Philly to see games they’ve never heard by people they’ve never met and I’dve given you one hell of an eyebrow.

And yet.


In the midst of the crowd, I saw that same passion from before. People creating what they want to create for no reason other than they felt it should exist. And people connecting with those creations, and smiling, and experiencing the fun.

Gold. Frickin. Star.

So of course, sitting in a tattoo shop on a Sunday getting ink seemed appropriate. And even more so, it’s appropriate that even though Will and I can agree on getting the tat, we still get to disagree about the direction it should face.


But it feels right getting something indelible, a reminder of the road behind and the wide open space ahead. It’s not every day you can feel like you know where you’re going, and it’s certainly not every day you can feel like you’ll get there.

But every day, you can damn well find the fun.

15 replies
  1. Thomas R. Koll says:

    128 prototypes, I’m impressed! But then, three ppl on average, five years, that’s less than 9 per person per year. Congratulations on your long success.

  2. Zach says:

    The music, the games, the anticipation for what will be rolled out next: it all just keeps getting bigger and better. Keep up the excellent work. Gold stars for all of you.

  3. Brett says:

    Add a couple of gold stars from me – keep up the awesome work guys 🙂 Just been replaying Fractal on my tablet, loving it just as much the second time round… bought all your puzzle games, Audacity in particular is top-grade stuff – a real pleasure to play. Have an awesome new year, I’ll see you in your next game.

  4. Wongsa says:

    Congratulations, guys! You all made it! In 2009, I remember bought three copies of Auditorium for my friends because they like to “day dream” day by day. It was definitely worth the price – they laughed and cried along with the game. I would like to thank you for such a beautiful game, and the recent projects you guys released.

    It is a wonderful work. Good luck in the future and enjoy more sparkle parties!

  5. dain
    dain says:

    Thanks so much for all the kind words guys! We definitely wouldn’t be anywhere near here if it weren’t for your support and encouragement!

  6. Jainai Jeffries says:


    Congratulations on your success; I bought Auditorium several years ago, a couple of years after I first found it. …and I still gotta find time to beat it. Hope you continue to kick ass out there!



  7. Harrison says:

    Congrats guys! Cipher Prime has been my all time favourite developer since auditorium all those years ago. Keep up the good work, I’m looking forward to it!

  8. Crystal says:

    I’ve been a fan of Cipher Prime ever since Auditorium when it was only web-only. Since then, I’ve bought ever single of your games! Well, I was late on Pulse since I’m not an apple fan, but I got it once you released it for Android. I even rebought Auditorium HD when you re-released it for PS3.

    I’m looking forward to many games from you! 🙂

  9. Maur DL says:

    Congrats on all the accomplishments. I had a little trouble following everything on that graph. Not sure how you have bars before the initial launch date. Game still in development? How did Splice get runner up before the launch? What do the gaps in Auditorium mean? Etc. Keep up the good work though.


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