Patrick Klepek writes for VICE about the 14-year-old developer, Spruce Campbell, whose game Operator 41 was part of the Apple Arcade launch:
“When I saw the Apple Arcade announcement in March I dropped everything and decided to build a whole new game for Arcade,” [Campbell] told VICE via email. “I thought that the games that really fit Apple Arcade will probably be designed for it from the ground up, so I came up with a stealth game that would work on all the Arcade platforms.”
Campbell has quite a personal story. As Klepek notes, the young developer taught himself to code starting at the age of 8, and when he was 12 he designed a game, CyberPNK, that netted him a BAFTA award. He also received a scholarship to attend WWDC this June, which is where he was able to personally pitch Operator 41 to Apple for Arcade inclusion. Campbell says following that pitch:
“I went back to the dorms, and over the next week I was accepted onto the service,” he said. “I’d say that was the luckiest moment of production—so many stars had to align for me to be accepted onto the service and everything went so well.”
Klepek’s concluding words put into perfect context what this story means for the potential of Arcade’s future.
Operator 41 doesn’t have many reviews. It didn’t get a big marketing push, and wasn’t on Apple’s big stage…But what’s remarkable is that Operator 41 exists at all, and shows Apple having a willingness to give people a shot. Apple Arcade isn’t a place where, like the App Store, anything can get published. There is a curation element. Campbell wasn’t signed because he made a hit that Apple thinks will bring new people into Apple Arcade. In this case, Apple decided it was worth including a game by a mostly unknown 14-year-old designer.
Arcade’s launch has been fantastic, and with the near-certainty of more stories like Campbell’s moving forward, the service’s future looks bright.