How a 14-year-old's game found a home in Apple Arcade

What you need to know

  • Operator 41 was an Apple Arcade launch title.
  • The game was designed by a 14-year-old.
  • VICE interviewed the developer about how the game came to be.

Operator 41 was a launch game for Apple Arcade and VICE has an interview with its 14-year-old developer, Sprice Campbell. It's a long piece with some great tidbits including the fact that the game was built specifically with Apple Arcade in mind.

"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 goes on to explain how he tought himself to code when he was just eight years old. He even won a BAFTA award for the game CyberPNK when he was just 12. Things progressed even more when he received a scholarship to attend WWDC this past June, giving him the opportunity to pitch Operator 41 to Apple. The rest, as they say, is history.

Even at his young age, Campbell appears to already have figured out what App Store developers have been saying in recent years - they just can't make money selling apps and games outright anymore.

"The advantage of the App Store is that someone, like a 14-year-old, can just publish their own game, and I love having the creative control and speed I can put new content out to my players," said Campbell. "The disadvantage is that in today's App Store people expect games for free and so every design I make has to have monetization baked in, which kind of hobbled the diversity of ideas I could build."

We'd really suggest reading the full piece over on VICE. It's an interesting look at how things went down at WWDC and it's surprising how some of these deals are done.

Yyou can dowload Operator 41 now, but you'll need to be an Apple Arcade subscriber to do so.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.