Why I believe in Stranded on Babel

I have hated every educational game I ever played. Except Assassin’s Creed. That franchise is awesome. But every game that is marketed as educational, without exception, has been terrible.

So why would I work on any game that is designed to strengthen practical skills? That’s the same as educational, right?

I joined the team because of an unrelated experience I had in 2014. I was at a backpacker’s hotel in Sydney, unable to sleep, at 12am. My friends were all asleep, and I wasn’t even tired. There was a group of Spanish college students who were also insomniacs, apparently. They were playing Manzanas con Manzanas (Apples to Apples). I had studied Spanish for a few years in the early 2000s, so I tried conversing with them. But I could not hold an intelligent conversation. Still, I understood the game, and I spoke well enough to play, so I played Manzanas con Manzanas with them.

For hours.

We laughed the entire time. Then I got my game, Cards Against Humanity, in English, and we played that.

For hours.

the simple card game that changed my career path

We probably woke half of the hotel guests. Towards the end of the night (sunrise), I was better able to understand their accents. The words that I hadn’t spoken in years started coming to me more naturally every time I used them. I could feel myself improving not only as a linguist, but also as a person, because that night, I learned the true meaning of several new swear words.

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new orleans nye

On that same trip, I saw all the tourism highlights of Sydney, enjoyed the nightlife in Brisbane, and flew to the US to celebrate New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. Even though I had many incredible experiences on that trip, the part I remember most—the most fun I had—was playing silly games with those Spanish backpackers, even though I could barely talk to them.

The games weren’t fun despite being in a foreign language. They were fun because they were in a foreign language.

When my younger brother, Jordan, told me about his startup company and the game they were making, I understood his vision immediately. It was all the fun I had with Manzanas con Manzanas–the comradery, the intellectual challenge, the mutual improvement, the silliness–all put into one game.

I believe in Stranded on Babel, and I work hard every day so one day I will be able to play a video game that is as fun and as edifying as an all-night party with Manzanas con Manzanas… in broken Spanish… with strangers.

-Trevor Clive, Creative Director

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