Tokyo Ate My Work/Life Balance

Us Not Working

When people hear that we travel full-time while working on our games the most common question is: “How do you find the time to work while you travel?”

Mostly the answer is “stay somewhere for two or three months”. By staying somewhere for an extended period you can get past the novelty shock of a new place. The first few weeks is usually a write-off as you explore and lean about the new place you’ve found yourself. But after that you start to find a rhythm, the laptops can come out and you can start pounding out lines of code.

There are places that are better for working and places that are worse. Tropical paradise is pretty easy. When you’re on a beach in Costa Rica or Thailand or Honduras you don’t really have that much to do. There aren’t many people around so you probably don’t have many local friends and there isn’t that much to do besides go snorkeling or swimming for a couple hours a day. That leaves you with a lot of time to just enjoy a banana smoothie and the sounds of the waves while you get some work done. Plus your Internet is probably pretty bad so you’re not going to be streaming any YouTube (streaming video is a big time-sink for me).

The harder places to work are big interesting cities. There’s always something to do and something to see. Since there are a lot more people in big cities you’ll probably make more local friends and so you’ll go out more. Friends are a real drag when you’re trying to get work done :) Istanbul was really hard to get any work done. San Francisco is pretty hard even though most of our friends there work 9-5 but for the last month we’ve been in Tokyo. Ack.

Tokyo is the biggest city in the world and it’s very diverse. Every neighbourhood used to be its own city and they all feel very different. Tokyo feels like a whole country where you can take local trains to get between the cities. Imagine if you could go from Paris to Berlin in half an hour for 2$. Would you get much work done?¬†Worse, we have a bunch of friends here now.

So I haven’t gotten a lot done this month. I’ve done some PR, given some interviews, worked on the website. All that stuff is important. But if I’m really going to get any work done on Incredipede I’m gonna need a hammock and an ocean. Luckily the Philippines is next on the list and should provide the perfect atmosphere. Unfortunately we’re traveling with friends!


21 thoughts on “Tokyo Ate My Work/Life Balance

    1. Good question. You promised the game would be playable in September, and yet we have already begun the month of October. I have never been so anxious to play an flash game in all my years of gaming.

      1. Seriously man. I have been waiting and waiting for this game to come out. More so than any 60 dollar big budget game out there.

  1. OK guys. I know this is kind of weird. But _Sarah_ is working on Rebuild 2 and me, _Colin_, is working on Incredipede.

    Rebuild 2 has been basically done and in bidding for the whole month. She’ll write a post soon to u-date you.

    1. Oh you know what, you’re completely right. Sorry Collin, keep up the good work Just know that we ask because we love your games!

  2. Hi Colin,

    Paul here from IGDA Manila. Hope your work/life balance can still take meeting a few locals while you’re here :D We’ll give you the city tour before you hit the beaches haha

    Looking forward to meeting you and Sarah!

  3. Aww, come on, people. First off, letting people play Rebuild 2 on northwaygames would destroy ‘first served site,’ the most lucrative part of the sponsorship deals. Second, Colin’s clearly established that he considers this blog entry his instead of Sarah’s. Let’s put Rebuild 2 to the side and leave questions/comments about Incredipede or vacation instead.

  4. Some maturity please, comment posters!

    This is an adult post, themed around the concept of work-life balance (eg, adults setting boundaries, owning their personal lives, etc), and some child/aspie starts pouting with a ‘you p-p-pwomised’.

    Leave these two adults alone. Mature fans don’t demand of the creators.

    1. Hahahaha, no demands have been made, only harmless pestering. We won’t ask anymore but, we only do so because we care. I think we can all have respect for the excitement that Incredipede and Rebuild 2 have created.

  5. Incredible beard Mr. Northway! I dare say it must have taken some time to grow and groom to such a manner.


    1. hmm, yes. agreed.
      that beard is indeed a fine feat. Even some of the world’s best bearders have nothing on you good sir!
      now regarding incredipede; will there be enemies to fight and Powers to obtain?
      My computer can’t run the video. So if the video showed these two things in it; I am sorry.

      -Good luck on the new games, Mav.

  6. I left the games industry to become a teacher thinking, correctly so, that it would give me a better quality of life. You took it in the opposite direction and did one better – you dove whole-heartedly into gaming and figured out a way to have a great life while doing it. My hat is off to you, your wife, and your beard. I love the creativity and the obvious joy you both exude in the games you create, and I look forward to each new creation. It is also because of this blog that I have been turned on to other great indie games, most notably SpaceChem, so thanks for that too.

    1. I always avoided the mainstream industry for that reason. It’s too bad most places are so unpleasent to work.

      We are indeed very lucky to be able to do what we do.

      Also, if you like SpaceChem check out Manufactoria (

    1. things aren’t always set in stone. Sarah has said that we’ll get to see it soon, so wait and relax. or you could always try it yourself…..

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