The untold origin story of Food Versus Evil

Today, I launch my cutting-edge new blog – a platform where I vow that updates will be self-indulgent and infrequent. But this place can’t fizzle away into (further) obscurity if it doesn’t have anything to fizzle away from, right? It needs at least a few articles before the long winter of its unupdatedness cometh. So what should my first post be about?

With my debut novel’s re-release on Kindle coming this Friday, and with the recent publication of its second edition through both CreateSpace and IngramSpark, I thought it’d be a good time to chronicle the life of Food Versus Evil: An Angry Burger’s Quest from its conception through to the present day.

Burgerman’s journey begins fourteen years ago.

Flash back to 2004. OutKast were singing songs about Polaroid pictures, federal/presidential elections in Australia/the United States were resulting in the countries’ leaderships not changing and a fourteen-year-old me was discovering his body (who’d have guessed I had a tenth toe?). I’d written or begun several weird and wonderfully-crappy novellas by this point, but was much more interested in playing videogames than advancing my hobby at this age. So imagine my joy at discovering Game Maker, a simple-to-learn program that would let me create my own side-scrolling masterpieces?

The games I created that year were like the fiction I was writing at the time; inspired and utterly broken. The first game I made was a platformer. I took a 2D hamburger sprite included with the program and drew on some stick-figure arms and legs to create the player character. I then took the Pac-Man ghost sprites, also included in the download pack, and created three varieties of enemy. Their colour-coding determined whether they moved back and forth vertically, horizontally or diagonally. To keep with the food-based theme set by the game’s hero, I named them “Salsageists”.

Thus, Burger Quest was born.

The game saw Burgerman dodging ghosts and collecting gems, taking warp points between silver gardens, volcanoes, frozen wastelands, jungles, space stations and even the Soda Guru’s hut. The soundtrack consisted of midi versions of the themes of Scooby-Doo and The Avengers (the 60’s British series). Character development was absent and the thin, wackadoodle plot was told through disjointed text boxes.

Before the year’s end, I’d already laid out my plans for Burger Quest II. With inspiration for the sequel surging through my veins like Red Bull and the power to create freaking videogames!!! at my fingertips, it’s a wonder teenage-me never got around to programming the sequel, adapting the first game into the book Burgerquest instead. I mean, I could make freaking videogames!!! now. Shouldn’t I have been done with authoring?

Fast-forward to two years later and Burgerquest was just another of my many unfinished first drafts of a novel. And yet… I kept coming back to it over those two years. Something compelled me to keep writing it, even if writing sessions were just a hundred words a day, three days a week, two months apart.

In 2007, my graduation year, we got a new family PC. And in the process of upgrading, all the Game Maker games I’d made up to that point were lost. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn’t back-up those files.

Burger Quest was lost forever.

But Burgerquest remained.

Sometime shortly before turning eighteen, I finished the novel. The book meant something to me. Somehow, I knew this would be the one I’d eventually publish. And even if I’d never made a sequel to the original game, I began writing Burgerquest 2 that December. This series was the most ambitious thing I’d written at the time, and I was slowly doing away with all those horrible writing habits that sour people’s impressions of indie authors – like when the writer tries selling something as a complete story, but once you’ve finished reading it, the story’s unresolved.

(part two of this article coming soon (aka now))


Food Versus Evil is available on Kindle and in paperback. Get it today, tomorrow or sometime within the next five years!

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