Bellevue College student Michael Gale has plenty to occupy his time. While pursuing two degrees here at BC, one in Business Management as well as a transfer degree in Business, he is currently designing a videogame called Soul Saga. “I’m not positive where I want to transfer afterwards, but maybe UW,” said Gale. “However, I often let my grades slip a little because I’m very focused on finishing my video game.”
Gale’s company, Disastercake, is producing the game. According to its website, the idea for the company was “unofficially founded inside the brain of Mike Gale around 2008.” However, it is Gale himself who does most of the legwork. He has taught himself programming while attending BC and uses these skills to program and develop Soul Saga. He outsources the game’s artwork to graphic artists in China, the Caribbean and several other countries. “I have never seen the faces of my current team members, nor heard their voices,” commented Gale. “It’s a completely digital team.”
Gale has mixed feelings about how his studies at BC have impacted him. “My time at BC has been sweet and sour. I’m not the best ‘student.’ This is because I’m highly passion driven, and my focus is on creating a great game, and not learning the intricacies of accounting or oceanography. However, I feel that my time at BC has allowed me to gain a better grasp on the reality of things. Money is like oxygen: I might not like it, but my business can’t survive without the money, and I can’t deliver great games to people, my passion, if there’s no business.” Leslie Lum, a former Professor of Gale’s reflected, “He’s very driven, I mean he’s got people working for him overseas.”
Gale has invested over $20,000 in Soul Saga and beyond that he is planning on using a new social media tool, kickstarter.com, to draw more potential investors. Using Kickstarter, independent creators such as artists, directors and designers come up with a project, and do their best to attract users by demonstrating the potential rewards for supporting their projects. Users then pledge money to the project and if the project’s pledge goal (which is determined at the outset) is met, then everyone pays immediately and the project begins. “The concept is that people no longer require banks of publishers to get their creations out…If they can get enough people hyped up enough to pay for an unfinished product,” explained Gale.
“I think the only advice I can give entrepreneurs is to aim to be like the best,” said Gale. “If you don’t aim to be like the best, attempting to reach that goal one step at a time, then you never will be. I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘don’t spend that much money, you’re wasting it!’…But I believed in myself and what I was doing…don’t be afraid to spend some money. Look forward, not back. Also, prepare to be the hardest worker in your company for a very long time.”
Gale strongly encourages fellow students and anyone interested to get on Disastercake’s website, disastercake.com, for information on this project and its upcoming Kickstarter release. “I like to tell people, ‘When I’m on my deathbed, I don’t want to regret not chasing my dreams the best I could. I don’t care if I fail, I care if I give up,’” offered Gale in parting.