A rookie games developer has earned around £280,000 ($353,000) from a series of games made in a matter of minutes from his spare bedroom.

TJ Gardner is the creator of the “Stroke” collection of games, which has resulted in more than 120,000 PlayStation users paying £3.29 to pet virtual hamsters, dogs, beavers, and other animals.

Yes, that’s right. The aim of the ‘game’ is nothing more than stroking pets, which is an excellent example of seizing an opportunity.

Gardner, from north-west London, has spoken on the short production time of his titles with a full admission of their rudimentary style.

“The first one, I’ll be honest, probably took seven or eight hours, but the subsequent ones — ‘Stroke the Beaver,’ for example — would have taken about half an hour.”

Just Rewards

As mentioned above, a not-so-subtle inclusion of innuendo has worked wonders for his exploits, with the range of animals extending to dik-diks — as well as snakes and fish.

Gamers simply press an X on the controller to stroke the animal, that’s it. A corner score count tallies the numbers with trophy ‘awards’ available as the strokes rack up. No sound effects, no animation, no bells or whistles, nothing.

Gardner added, “It depends how you define ‘game.’ There is interaction, granted, that interaction is very limited, but it is there, and there is a goal — I’ll happily admit it’s not hard, it’s not complex, but it is still a video game.”

With the sole focus on providing for his young family, the self-taught developer has no regrets, and it is easy to see why. He has received criticism along the way for his basic collection of titles, but nothing meaningful to stop his progress.

Since launching in September 2022, the Stroke games have generated more than 120,000 downloads, earning an impressive £275,000 in sales minus a 30% cut taken by Sony for hosting royalties in its PlayStation Store.

The pre-tax return for Gardner is a healthy profit of more than £190,000 and a satisfactory return for his diligence.

Image: Zen Chung/Pexels.

Graeme Hanna

Freelance Writer

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing.

Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter.

Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.


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