A Brief History of Sweden's Goat Simulator

Coffee Stain Studios is the Swedish indie game company behind the first person tower defence games Sanctum and Sanctum 2, the first of which climbed up from top 10 to being #1 on steam sales back in the summer of 2010.

What you may not know though is that Coffee Stain Studios, which is a respectable and serious company, is also behind the rather peculiar Goat Simulator, which has ranked the top 10 steam sales for quite a while.

The origins of the game can only confirm how a joke can become a huge sensational hit, given the right circumstances. Much like the creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, the Swedes behind Coffee Stain Studios had no idea what would ensue when they set up a studio game jam after the successful release of Sanctum 2.

As Coffee Stain Studios CEO Anton Westbergh puts it in an interview with Gamasutra, the brainstorming session originally set out to find new, exciting ideas for an unseen type of game. Among those ideas were a few which were downright crazy but the goat simulator stood out as the craziest of them all.

Two weeks into the game programming jam, in a setting where team members were given free hands to work with whatever they liked (which among other things served as training for the new programmers), Coffee Stain Studios had a small, buggy but hilariously absurd game about a goat wrecking everything that crossed its path.

As a joke, the studio uploaded a video of the game in action on youtube (with a tint of sarcasm directed at Dead Island), but after the video went absolutely viral, they realised they had hit something much bigger than they ever thought possible.

Today, the Goat Simulator has gone off the roof, going as far as to reach the attention of those who usually don’t really have an eye for games. As to why this is the case is perhaps more difficult to understand, since even the company goes as far as to say the game is sort of a waste of money (quoted from the game's website):

“Goat Simulator is a small, broken and stupid game. It was made in a couple of weeks so don’t expect a game in the size and scope of GTA with goats. In fact, you’re better off not expecting anything at all actually. To be completely honest, it would be best if you’d spend your $10 on a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe a real-life goat.”

You could say that the game is weird, but not too weird. Animals are funny (and goats even funnier), but alone I wouldn’t say funny enough. A goat causing havoc in a cheesy, cheap and buggy game environment on the other hand is a pretty hilarious combination and you don’t need to be a gamer to agree on that.

In conclusion though, the Goat Simulator might be a one hit wonder, but it shows us that people are after unique and exceptional experiences. Doing the comfy good ol’ stuff might work, but apparently so could an angry flying goat.

In any case, Coffee Stain House has earned our attention and we’ll be closely monitoring what they’ll come up with next. In the meanwhile, sit back and watch the trailer that made all of this possible (if you haven't already):

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