Saturday, June 15, 2024

How My Indie Game with 0 Wishlists Got 10,000 Plays

 How My Indie Game with 0 Wishlists Got 10,000 Plays

Despite having no wishlists, my game managed to get 10,000 plays within the first week. It's not as hard as it sounds, and is achievable for any reasonably experienced indie developer.

Analysis of different publishing platforms

First, let's take a look at some numbers:

Steam: Dozens of games are released daily, but most only receive a few hundred downloads after a year. Most games don't get more than 100 plays in the first year.

Play/App store: Most games receive little to no visibility and get fewer than a few hundred downloads in the first year.

AddictingGames: Games typically receive around 500 plays within the first month.

ArmorGames: When researching Armorgames, I was shocked to find that every game had thousands of plays. Even games that were rated low and in my opinion weren't very fun had massive levels of engagement. 

What makes games on Armorgames perform so well?

There is a large market for web games: Flash games used to dominate the web. With flash going away, the amount of games released over html dropped, but the appetite remained. Millions of gamers every day look to play a quick game without having to download anything.

Exposure for new games: Where most platforms give you close to 0 visibility, Armorgames puts you on their front page. With thousands of unique visitors to the website each day, it's inevitable your game will get clicked on, played, and reviewed. Because Armorgames only releases a couple new games each week, your game could stay on the front page for over a month!

Armorgames' competitors prefer to feature older games with high click rates rather than promote the newly released titles. This is why a new game published on Newgrounds, for example, might only get 500 plays within 1 month while a game on Armorgames gets 20x that engagement. ( is even worse!)

Quality: Armorgames filters out unfinished, non-unique, and overall low quality games. That doesn't mean your game has to be AAA quality. In fact, many of the games on Armorgames are small but complete.

Take my game, Fins, as an example. The game introduces a unique mechanic, 24 levels, decent enough graphics and audio, and that's it! The project's scope was set to the smallest possible size that would still be a good fit for Armorgames.

Making the game

I decided I wanted to target a release on Armorgames. I already had an idea for a unique game mechanic (using the arrow keys to move a limb that pushed the character around), and I jumped straight into planning:

  • A character that moves using my unique game mechanic

  • A title screen

  • 24 levels

  • 6 unique game mechanics/enemies (introducing one every 4 levels)

  • Graphics (I opted for a 4-color palette because it meant I could be stylistic while reducing the amount of work needed for graphics)

The character originally began as a crab, but I quickly learned that it was more fun to fling the character across the screen than to hobble slowly. I played around with the mechanics for a while until I felt like they were perfect. I began making levels, a character, and finally the title and settings screens.

Getting feedback throughout the process was crucial. I posted frequent feedback requests on Discord.

In total, the game took approximately 70 hours to complete, and I was ready to publish.

Publishing the Game

The process of publishing on ArmorGames was straightforward:

  • Submission: Submit your game via the email provided on their website.

  • Response: They responded the next day.

  • Instructions: Follow their guidelines, such as adding ArmorGames' official logo and providing links.

  • Approval: The game was approved within a week and released a few days after that.


Within 1 week, Fins had surpassed 10,000 plays. While I didn't promote a steam version like some of the other games on the site, that's something you could do to get wishlists.

With marketing and exposure often being the biggest problem indie games face, Armorgames is one of the best platform out there for you to succeed. They value their devs and are excellent partners. It doesn't take a AAA studio to make a game fun and seen by tens of thousands of people.

Play Fins here.

Join my Discord:

How My Indie Game with 0 Wishlists Got 10,000 Plays

  How My Indie Game with 0 Wishlists Got 10,000 Plays Despite having no wishlists, my game managed to get 10,000 plays within the first week...