In the Beginning was the Word Game (IBwWG) started fairly recently, as a response to burnout, and an attempt to return to what got me interested in programming in the first place: making my own games.

Just before Christmas 2015, under the name Gimmicky Apps, I had found out first-hand that the real phone app gold rush had, in fact, ended. At this time, I thought of the basic premise for Debatcles (a word game...hence our name), and started experimenting with HaxeFlixel as I developed the idea, refined the physics, and learned a lot from wrestling with bugs and a new language, Haxe.

Then, in late February 2016, with my daughter's 9th birthday on the medium-term radar, I had an idea. For a going-away present, a dear friend of ours, Michael Torreiter, had previously written and illustrated a book for her; now I asked what he thought about it being made into a video game, and he was all for it. Thus Willy and Mathilda's Houseboat Adventure: The Game was born, originally having 9 minigames for her 9th birthday.

This labour of love zoomed along crazily for six weeks, all in secret. Thankfully, the game was playable enough when her birthday arrived! She immediately was drafted as a beta tester and voiceover artist. At that point there were still over 100 todo items outstanding, scattered all over the codebase, a notebook, and my dreams; she added a dozen more during her first play-through.

At the end of April 2016, we launched this web site, and began being a lot more public about the game's development, because I think it's fun to celebrate what you're working on, and see it better through the eyes of others. Just over a month later, Ashton Mills and Dustin van Wyk had independently come forward to join Jennifer Pryde in composing the beautiful music that brings the game to life.

The game was officially released for Windows, Mac (64-bit only), and Linux (32-bit, 32-bit without hardware accel, and 64-bit) on September 8th, 2016! (Well, Mac builds came later.) We hope you enjoy it!


Now available on!

Back to the menu