Indie game maker Philipp Stollenmayer has turned his desk into a makeshift post office since he decided to send everyone who finishes Bacon: The Game a real, actual prize.
And the number of people finishing his game has shot up lately, thanks to TikTok.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why TikTok creators suddenly went wild for the slapstick, physics-driven game, which was first released back in 2018. But it certainly helps that it’s odd, unpredictable and fun to watch. And maybe the addition of dark mode helped, weirdly.
“I had a huge peak two months ago when I added dark mode – then it went viral on TikTok, because apparently they almost always play in dark mode, and it totally goes along with the TikTok vibe – fast, easy, ridiculous,” he tells us. “It was even the number one game in the US App Store charts, which it didn’t achieve after the initial release.”
See if you can spot the huge TikTok spike in this downloads graph, pulled from Appmagic:
Stollenmayer says those numbers are all organic, with the biggest downloads coming from the US, Korea, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, France and Japan, in that order. At its peak, Bacon: The Game was downloaded over 160k times in one day, with one TikTok about the game getting over 9m views.
Total iOS downloads to date stand at over 10m, with around 10k organic downloads per day last month. On Google Play, lifetime downloads are at 8.5m, with around 6k downloads per day last month.
Months before the sudden TikTok spike, Stollenmayer received an email from a player who had just completed the game after four years of trying. “He asked if there was a prize, so I thought, why not actually,” says Stollenmayer.
He ordered 300 ‘golden bacon’ pin badges and decided to send them out to every player who had finished the game. Until that point, only around 30 people had, largely due to an incredibly difficult final level. (The end screen shows players a secret email address through which players claim their prize.)
An update to the game made the final level a little bit easier, but still really tough. “Every player that makes it to this point is 100% dedicated. It’s inhumane,” says Stollenmayer. “The gifts will change over time. I am always thinking of new stuff for the winners, so that it stays a surprise.”
Stollenmayer has now sent out over 500 gifts, with many more to come, inevitably, after that huge TikTok spike.
Combine Bacon: The Game’s recent resurgence with a 2020 Apple Design Award win for inventive puzzle game Song of Bloom and Stollenmayer’s stock has never been higher.
He tells us his next game is “heavily music-based”, and is being made with English songwriter Lorraine Bowen. “It’s going to be quirky, fun, and of course ridiculous,” he adds.