Thursday, July 9, 2015

My First Writing Credit - Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

Well I can finally talk about it; I'm writing content for an upcoming video game called Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

The Kinda Funny And Long Story About How I Got My First Writing Credit

This all started back in 2004 when my friend turned me on to a small but rapidly expanding community of amateur game creators using a program called "Game Maker" to put out micro-sized games for free on the internet. If memory serves, many of these games were less than a gigabyte in size, which was good because my internet at the time could only download so many megabytes per minute.

As I browsed a seemingly never-ending selection of free games for something I could really get into, I stumbled upon a developer whose games I found to be very imaginative, ambitious, and just plain fun. This developer went by the username Mr. Chubigans and created his games using the developer name Vertigo Gaming. I was such a fan of his that I became a very active member in his tight-knit forum community of like-minded fans.

I was such a fan, in fact, that my first online purchase ever was of a t-shirt with the Vertigo Gaming logo of the time emblazoned upon it:

Retro Vertigo Gaming t-shirt: "The games are free, this shirt was not"

As the years wore on, Mr. Chubigans (actual name David Galindo) pursued his passion of game developing, and I pursued my passion of writing. I kept in contact with him and a few others from the community over the years; especially to check up on new game developments. David slowly revealed to his long-time fans that he was working on a full-sized commercial sequel to two of his most popular free indie games, Ore No Ryomi 1 & 2, which he had decided to call "Cook, Serve, Delicious!" and in May 2012 he posted on the forums asking his fans to submit short "fake emails" that would appear in the game with credit given.

I remember happening upon this open request days after it was posted (I only checked the forums every few months at this point, so it's quite lucky that I saw it at all) after my last college class of that afternoon, and I spent a quick five minutes submitting three top-of-mind ideas so as to secure my place in Vertigo Gaming history before heading off to a scheduled dinner with my would-be wife. A few weeks later, remembering that time was running out to submit any more, I hastily submitted four more ideas with equally little thought or revision.

Cook, Serve, Delicious was released in October 2012 and slowly but surely became a hit for its deep and rewarding gameplay that was stressful to learn but very rewarding to conquer. Though my actual name does not appear in the final game, my username is listed among the other fans who contributed writing to the silly in-game fake emails.

Screenshot of Cook, Serve, Delicious! Credits with my username "Yackemflaber"
My username is the long nonsense one starting with "Y"

The game went on sale as part of a Humble Bundle this past April, and it suddenly hit me again, after having forgotten, that I had contributed to a commercially successful video game. This was a really, really awesome feeling which I immediately decided I wanted more of. I sent David an email re-introducing myself and offering my writing services in any way he could possibly use them, wanting very much to help someone who I viewed as an old friend to achieve his own dreams while chasing after mine. As a back-up, I planned to send out similar emails to every independent game developer I could think of or find, but didn't have to when David responded to my email sounding very intrigued only two hours later.

After some back-and-forth emails and a non-disclosure agreement, David revealed to me that he happened to be looking for a writer for his upcoming then-unannounced video game, and that the video game in question was a sequel titled Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

So that's how my name ended up on the bottom of the official Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! website, as also seen in the following screenshot, which I took so I could share it with everyone I know:
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Credits screenshot from website with Ryan Matejka displayed
The game has just been announced with a tentative early 2016 release date, and I'd highly encourage you to check it out if you're into really awesome and addictive but accessible computer games. You can learn more about it at and see my name at the bottom while you're there!

Okay, But How Does It Make Me Feel?

The process of writing for such a cool, family-friendly game has been fun and challenging compared to my hobby of fiction-writing more mature subject matter, and seeing my actual human name at the bottom of that website is extremely rewarding unto itself. It seems kind of surreal that, in some small way, I've transcended from a desk-sitting office-worker to a multi-project juggling writer like many of the people I look up to – I've never wanted to be stuck or content with a single linear career path, and though I've been working on my stories and other abandoned projects all the while, this first writing credit somehow makes it all real for the first time. I almost feel as though I've been in a cage whose door has just been opened for the first time to allow me to run free and discover the limits of my abilities and accomplishments.

There's only one way to go from here, and that is onward.