Editor's Note: We met the three brothers that make up Butterscotch Shenanigans at GDC this year. When we found out about the incredible story behind their studio and the motivations behind shifting gears to their current project, we wanted to share it with everyone. However, since it involves illness, family, and other things which we honestly just don't feel like we could ever do justice reporting on, we did the only thing that made sense- Offer them a platform on TouchArcade to write about the experiences that have led to the development of Crashlands. What you're about to read is the first of a series of articles by Sam Coster as he fights for his life while developing the game he always wanted to make with his brothers, Seth and Adam.

Cancer is a great clarifier. It stripped out all the petty, superfluous aspects of life and demanded just three things when it struck me in 2013: survive, find meaning, and figure out how to look good bald.

This is the story of Crashlands, a massive 2D action-RPG crafting game I've been working on with my two brothers since I was diagnosed at the ripe age of 23 with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.


Prelude to Crashlands

It was June of 2013, less than a year from the time my brother Seth and I quit our jobs and started Butterscotch Shenanigans. In those first 8 months we created a critically acclaimed financial disaster (Towelfight 2) and found our first bit of success with Quadropus Rampage. The game didn’t get much attention on iTunes, but developed a sturdy enough following through Google Play that we saw our first ounce of income.

Quadropus’ launch also signaled the arrival of an odd, repeating daydream for me - when I walked into a room I’d occasionally see in my mind’s eye a dragon, composed entirely of blood, emerge from my chest and burst through a nearby wall. It was weird (OBVIOUSLY!), and I told Seth about it the third or fourth time it happened, sometime in mid July. We both agreed it was strange, and then went back to fulfilling support requests and patching Quadropus.

A few weeks later the support issues with Quadropus died down, so we decided to get to work on the next project. Our previous titles were born from game jams - 48 hour development sprints based on themes - so we hit our desks and began jamming out prototypes for our Next Big Thing.

Design discussions traditionally took the shape of long-form improv. Seth would say something like “THE MAIN CHARACTER SHOULD BE A CEPHALOPOD!” and I’d say “YES, AND IT SHOULD HAVE A GLORIOUS BOOTY!” and he’d say “YES, ALSO YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGHT ENEMIES USING A GOAT AS A SWORD!”


This would continue until we were both content with the level of absurdity in front of us. It was magic.

Only now, as we sat down to work, something had changed. Our jam sessions exhausted me. I was irritable, snappy, and tired. Design problems no longer felt like challenges, but obstacles. We scrapped game after game - some lived for hours before hitting the deathbin, others took weeks to finally keel over. Seth grew worried that I had fallen out of love with game dev, and I wondered why I was finding him so damn annoying.

Energy leaked out of me like I was an overly aggressive free-to-play title - only I had no one to pay 99 cents to to get it back.

slothcyclingDesperate for something to shed my insufferability, we concocted the Butterscotch Jam. It was a 5-day event, during which we produced five games, each in less than eight hours. It was meant to reinvigorate me and let us find the seed of our next title. At its conclusion we picked Extreme Slothcycling, the first of the five games, and began work in earnest. Seth seemed happier, too.

And then I started to sweat.

The dragon arrives

I started going to bed earlier and sleeping later. My coffee consumption ramped to 2 liters each morning, but I still had to nap by 2pm. I started shedding weight and my left pectoral swoll up like Schwarzenegger. Fevers began rolling in daily at 5:30pm - each culminating in a 3am night sweat which drenched my sheets and woke me up, shivering. A lump appeared on my left chest wall, just underneath the armpit, and grew to the size of a lemon. My jaw occasionally went numb, and my body felt heavier and heavier.

I used WebMD and self-diagnosed my symptoms as Lyme disease. I went to a clinic. They looked me over, said it was viral, and gave me headache medicine. The blood dragon daydream was now hitting me every few hours. I suddenly felt like something was very, very wrong, so I called an Infectious Disease doctor, whose office said they wouldn't be able to see me for at least a month because all the appointments were booked up but I compromised for an appointment with a Physician's Assistant the next day, confident that I could freak her out enough to get the Infectious doc to take a look, and when she came in I told her I had Lyme and joked with her about the day and she asked for my shirt to come up and when I took it off she saw the lump and her eyes briefly flashed fear and I swear I could feel her stomach drop and she said she needed to grab the doctor which is exactly what I wanted but also I realized exactly what I did not want and the doc appeared and copped one feel on my perky pseudo-breast and exhaled deeply and dropped verbal napalm on me.

“This is going to sound strange, but I'm certain that's cancer.”

Endless runners mean nothing

The next week was a flurry of surgical and bone marrow biopsies, tests and scans. At the end of it all I came out with a diagnosis – T-Cell Rich, Large B-Cell Lymphoma, stage 4b. I lost 22 pounds prior to diagnosis, 12% of my body weight. The scans showed I was more cancer than man, and that if I had waited a month for my appointment, as directed, I may well have died.

The first round of chemotherapy brought with it a release from the anxiety of dying and a surge of energy. The exhaustion and semi-depression that gripped me lifted away, and I found myself with a reservoir of energy so deep I scarcely knew what to do with it. Even under the effects of chemo my body felt so good I couldn’t believe it. Aside from the whole having-cancer thing I felt great.


Seth and I sat down the day after treatment and filled the whiteboard with design musings for Slothcycling. The process stumbled forward as we finished the roadmap for what needed to be done, but both of us left feeling uninspired. So much had happened in the short 2 weeks since we’d last looked at the project. We both felt like we were in a different place, and we were.

We needed to work on something that would generate meaning for us, as a studio and family. And that something sure as hell wasn't an endless runner.

Seth left for the night and I began daydreaming. I wanted to build something big, something more like a world than a game. Something that I could escape into. I wasn’t concerned with market viability or monetization schemes. I was singularly concerned with making something that would emotionally sustain me through treatment.

I fired up Game Maker and prototyped the equivalent of a Roomba picking up leaves. The vision for a wild world, full of interaction and absurdity, started percolating as chemo-induced exhaustion returned. I went to sleep.

Seth arrived the next morning, ready to crank on Slothcycling. When he launched into a design point I stopped him and said :

“Seth, I don't want Slothcycling to be the last game I make before I die.”

A bit melodramatic, perhaps, but I had a Roomba to sell.

I opened the project file and turned my prototype over to him. He played quietly, picking up leaves, while I spun the vision. I told him we'd build a world, somewhere I could escape to while I was in the hospital and going through this bullshit, somewhere we could pour months of rage and joy and frustration and everything else into. It’d be like Don’t Starve meets Diablo meets Pokemon, but not. And when I was better the game would be done, we'd share it with the rest of the world, and it would be a piece of armor for others to slide into when real life just needed to fucking be okay.

... also there’d be a one-legged cow hippo and you could milk it.

Seth collected ten leaves. They popped and turned into sandals. He looked at me with that mix of brotherly love and exasperation and said, “Alright, let’s get to work.”

A world of meaning

Two months later I stayed in the hospital for my first dose of Methotrexate, a drug so potent they give it to you, let it sit in your body for a short time, and then give you a ‘rescue-drug’ designed to stop it from working. It kills everything it touches and turns your bathroom into a biohazard zone. Literally. Anywhere you pee is under quarantine. The only way you can get out of the hospital and go home is by peeing it all out, a measured process that can take between 4 and 8 days.

The first day of this joyful process, Seth called and asked if he should come over for a visit. I was up, wheeling my drug-toting IV pole around the room, which was plugged into a catheter surgically implanted in my chest. I had just finished drinking my 7th liter of water (I’d later learn that this doesn’t help the drug leave faster, pro-tip) and had been stabbed in the back earlier in the day for a spinal fluid cancer-check. I told him, “No, don’t visit. But I do want to garden. Finish that seed bomb and GET ME A BUILD!”

He chuckled and 45 minutes later I found myself not in a hospital bed, full of poison, but in Crashlands, with several neat rows of Logtrees sprouting outside my base.

Each asset we created for Crashlands over the following months felt like a defiant middle finger, waved in the face of that dragon. Their design and creation helped me endure the bone pain, nausea, and other cancer-related grievances that cropped up, and gave Seth a sense that he was helping. Crashlands was our coping strategy writ large, a mindful sublimation of all the comic tragedy of getting cancer at the age of 23 for no goddamn reason.

When players garden, they are me in the hospital, receiving my first round of Methotrexate. When they drop their first Glorch, they are me, experiencing the first day-night cycle while sitting in a chair, wincing from bone pain. When they equip The Maw, the final weapon in the game, they are me, cured.



My treatments ended in March of 2014. Though the disease receded, a strange glow, like three burning embers, stayed lit in my left armpit. June, a short two months from my final treatment, left our family wrecked by stress. A regular PET Scan showed that those embers were brighter – more active – than before. An emergency biopsy was scheduled to ascertain whether or not my left armpit, the Center for Disease Out of Control, was what we feared.

I proposed to my girlfriend and the biopsy came back clean; no cancer.

Over the next few months we brought Adam, the eldest of our three-brother clan and a recently minted PhD in Molecular Biology, into Butterscotch. His arrival signified a change in perspective for us. Seth and I had always been so concerned with the studio dying (first 8 months) and then me dying (the next 8 months) that we had scarcely planned how to approach anything but the making of a game.


Adam gave us the gift of a future focus, and chipped away the latent anxiety and habits Seth and I created. We began planning for the future, laying the groundwork of BscotchID and setting up plans for the equivalent of world domination, in game dev terms. It was refreshing to think in intervals longer than 3 weeks, the time between chemo cycles. We ripped up and revamped nearly all of Crashlands’ systems, and found ourselves with a uniquely compelling game. We passed it to our alpha testers and they loved it.

The end of the game was finally in sight and everything was humming along. Then that lump reappeared.


Last month I underwent another biopsy. Surgeons went through my left chest wall and stole several grape-sized lymph nodes from my body. Tests revealed what we'd hoped never to hear again; the cancer was back.

The first treatment, a 3-day, in-patient chemotherapy called R-ICE, left me wracked with nausea. I did the only thing I could think to do, given that I had no more girlfriends around to propose to; I made 18 creature eggs for Crashlands.


Bone-pain echoed through my spine and pelvis for a few days after I left the hospital. Between gritted teeth and shallow exhalations I made the Brubus, an alien race of stuck-up political bubble owls, for Crashlands.


Then my beard, a symbol that now graces our studio splash screen, fell out; so I whipped up six additional healing items, including Larvy Dogs and Spongy Podcake, for Crashlands.


I won’t see that beard again until September. Between now and then lies one more round of chemotherapy, several blasts of radiation and two stem-cell transplants. By the end of it all I will have spent 39 days in the hospital, received a new immune system from a stranger, and launched the game that kept me alive.

Working on Crashlands has been my outlet, my catharsis. This game has been my defense against blood dragons, poison, stab wounds and baldness. It stands as my family’s translation of adversity into something that will spin joy for thousands of people for thousands of hours.

It’s the biggest “FUCK YOU!” to cancer we can muster. And soon, you’ll get to play it.

  • SwipeNova

    Got a bit teary eyed from reading this.. I cant wait to play it

    • bigrand1

      That's a heavy story. I got teary-eyed too! But it's also up-lifting! It's really cool how being so pre-occupied with games and specifically continuing his enthusiastic ideas of developing his dreams was able to propel him forward during this hardest-of-hard times in his life! It's inspiring, man, this positive attitude!! It just is!! He has just given us all food for thought in that sense! I want to thank him personally for that gift!
      On a lighter side, I'm very much looking forward to playing the new game! I'll be thinking about things he said as I do so. It'll be a whole ' nother kind of depth to it for sure!

      • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

        Nailed it 😀

      • SwipeNova

        pretty much 🙂

      • Majojora'sMaskFan

        When does it release?

  • athros

    There's a lot of dust in the room over here.

    Congratulations on beating cancer, and on Crashlands! I can't wait to play it!

  • RobMSantos

    My friend Sam is one of the most incredible people I know. I hope many people get to experience this through his games.

  • dingdongfootball

    "I proposed to my girlfriend and the biopsy came back clean; no cancer." AND THEN I SOBBED ON THE TRAIN. Really great read. Can't wait to pick this one up.

  • Kedens

    This is the type of stuff that really shows the blood sweat and tears that go into game development. Things like this really deserve the recognition and success some of those engineered addiction inducing free to play games get. And I thank Butterscotch Shenanigans and TA for sharing this substance filled article with this community. I was sad to learn Towel Fight 2 wasn't successful as I loved it, but ice loved most of the games these guys have put out and I am just pining to dive into the world of Crashlands .

  • Fangbone

    Thank you for sharing your story! I too have been affected by cancer. By little brother passed away when I was 16 and my mother-in-law passed away this past December. Just stay positive and do the best you can. Keep up the fight!! #cancerisanasshole

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      Sorry for the loss, my friend. May all of your days be healthy from here on out.


    Iam sure download this game! FU*K CANCER

  • Andy C83

    Amazing read. My Dad was 21 when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He kicked the shit out of it and so will you. Wishing you all the best and thanks for everything.

  • thetrackt

    Great read. Intense story. Best wishes to all involved and can't wait to play Crashlands! Thank you for sharing.

  • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

    Amazing story, great writing... and almost certainly a great game as well!

    Keep writing!

  • SobriK

    Excellent read and a great story. I can't wait to read the rest and see the finished game 🙂 Stay strong and keep fighting!

  • Jackie Mac

    Indeed, thank you for sharing your story. I find it difficult to choose words, but hope you understand my well-meaning. I can't wait to play Crashlands. It will be a tribute to your bravery, determination, resilience and retaliation to disease that affects so many - F**K CANCER!


    Slay that Blood Dragon, Sam!

    I WILL play this game when it's out, and I'll spread the word to others as well.

    I really love what you've set out to do in such an incredibly difficult part of your life. I have great respect for someone who has decided to give when so much is being taken.

  • Smelly Sock

    Keep up the good fight dude! Do you need any money for medical bills. Is there a site where you are accepting donations? You should have a f#ck cancer IAP where we can donate to your cause or just cancer patients in general.

  • Mj1ggy

    Wow this is an amazing story. I'm a big fan of Butterscotch Shenanigans games and humor and have been supporting them since getting addicted to Quadropus Rampage. Obviously I hope that everything works out for the best and Crashlands becomes a huge success. The BScotch ID is really innovative and I think you guys are onto something revolutionary between cross-game connectivity and Buttering Up. Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Anotherkellydown

    Thank you for sharing, Sam. You've left an impact on my life through your games and now your story. Stay strong and keep fighting!

  • terrence92

    I play Quadropus rampage almost every 2days for a bit. Always thought the dev team had to be awesome people and darn am I right. I hope the best for you! Going to support with another iap this week 🙂

  • DarknessFell

    I lost my father to cancer last year , and like you he kept working and inspiring us even now-What you're doing is the very definition of greatness-you just gave me a huge morale boost man 🙂 Stay strong and give cancer one in the bollocks for me 🙂

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      Thanks dude. It seems like digging harder into life is the only thing to do when it gets threatened. Sorry for your loss - I'll put an extra kick in cancer's teeth for your pops.

      • DarknessFell

        Thanks Sam you're the best 🙂 take care and stay strong 🙂

  • Keitch83

    Amazing story.As if I couldn't already wait for this game! Stay strong,this will be bought instantly by me,looks phenomenal.

  • JCman7

    One of the best if not the best articles on TA. Thanks for sharing your story with us and you are an inspiration to many. Stay strong and beat that horrible disease. No one deserves to go through what you have. Can't wait to play Crashlands!

  • haewyre99

    The anniversary of us losing my mom to c*ncer is upcoming very soon. Such a wonderful read and can't wait to play what looks like a wonderful game. Keep up the fight and kick its ass!!

  • Tasslehoff Burrfoot

    Amazing story sir and I appreciate you sharing it. My Aunt was just diagnosed with the same cancer 2 weeks ago and she is about to start her first dose of Chemo. I sent this link to her to brighten her spirits up. You rock man and keep on shining out there buddy. Also congratulations on the engagement and future marriage!!!

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      I have a collection of about 20 pages of writing I did during my first treatment. If she's getting R-CHOP I'd be happy to send them your way. It may give her some laughs and let her know what the 'normal' stuff is to experience.

      • Tasslehoff Burrfoot

        Absolutely! She's has a positive outlook but knows it's going to be tough and I'm sure when it starts she could use a laugh or two.
        Email me at aconfusedkender@yahoo.com

      • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

        done and DONE

  • slamraman

    Great article for a great game made by some fantastic people. TouchArcade just made me cry. Properly cannot wait for this. All the very best, Sam.

  • MasonHurst

    I've been following his treatment blog on the BS forum and man... Sam is just such a talented writer on TOP of everything else. What an amazing attitude. In his situation I would just be curled up in a fetal position. Get well Sam... For good this time!

  • Josue Feliciano

    Did not expect to read Touch Arcade and get weepy eyed, but there you have it. I've been a fan since TowelFight 2, and am currently giving Cancer a big ol' middle finger.

  • Josue Feliciano

    By the way, don't be afraid to use your Cancer to get higher reviews from people. You should get *something* out of it. "Oh yeah, you don't like the artwork, that's cool, I only did that when I was in CHEMOTHERAPY, but go ahead and give me a 3 out of 5" 🙂

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      Here I was thinking 3/5 stars was the highest review to get in mobile! NOOOOOOOOO!

      • GamerGangsta

        That's if Farter Blotson is your reviewer(unless its free2notplay then hes got stars hidden up his sleeve) Be glad you got a solid reviewer and one that actually described the game , i read your story a few months back and you got balls and strength my friend , I'm downloading now , its 4 am where I'm at so I'm just gonna get a small taste of the game but I'm sure its good hopefully i don,t get sucked in , and then no sleep and headed to work but if you dev'd the game on chemo then i can play it no sleep ... Congrats!!and kick cancers ass
        Time to get Buttered Up👆👍

  • Jim Shorts

    Great story! All my best to you and your family... I hope Crashlands is a massive success!!

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      JIM THAT IS THE GROSSEST AVATAR I HAVE EVER SEEN. thanks for the good vibes 🙂

      • Stormourner

        this avatar is from the movie Basket Case 3 🙂

  • Rooie1154

    Teary eyed here, too. And anxious now for the game. A cousin of mine, in her 50+ years, has fought leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, and brain cancer. Fuck cancer, indeed. All best wishes to you.

  • H4nd0fg0d

    Man... I kno first hand what it is to be told tht u have cancer. I'm 42 now but at the as u say ripe age of 21 for me this torment became my reality. I've been clean for 21 years now, but tht being said, my entire life was changed in the blink of an eye. Not a single day goes by tht I attempt to not be consumed with what I went through. It's like I have a dark internal cloud looming over my existence. Every little pain, cold, or sickness terrifies me. I'm terrified of hospitals and Mds. I'm so tired of waiting for an end that I feel is inevitable. I go on with my daily life often questioning whether my belief in God is in vane. My heart and prayers go out to you and yours. Much love brother.

    • H4nd0fg0d

      Never said up above but I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

      • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

        You got this my friend. Focus on the good stuff. Have you tried the Gratitude journal? Every day just write down 3 things you're grateful for. Could be anything from ice cream to eyesight. It helps your brain shift perspective and see the best in all the things. Cancer is a terrible beast, but it comes with a wondrous gifts if you squint and tilt your head just right.

      • H4nd0fg0d

        Thank you, I will look into the gratitude journal. I do kno this, I take nothing for granted, not a single day and it has changed me for the better in so so many ways. I am so grateful for each morning I awaken. Things tht meant everything mean nothing and things tht meant nothing now mean everything. The smallest things. I often think that it happened for a reason and some days I wish I didn't have the ability to reason. Oh, the human condition, such a blessing, such a curse but oh so fragile. May God be with us all.

  • Praymettin

    I will pray, your consolidation therapy and the allogeneic HSCT goes perfect. It is too hard for an individual so young as yourself to go through all these.

    I don't know if you believe God, but I always think and say to my patients, troubles of these heaviest kind as the bonus exam questions to endure and prove our value as a human being. Harder the problem, higher the mark.

    I hope you get a solid A+ and continue to work on many other great games.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      Thanks for the well-wishes and thoughts.

      I think by the second round I should be TA-ing whatever class this is!

      • Praymettin

        Dragon Taming that is 🙂 Because at the end of your succesful transplant it is basically what you will have: Your very own Tame Blood Dragon, protecting you from the C pests, beside you for the rest of your new life.

  • bugsland

    What a great example on how to turn something bad into a positive thing. I really hope you beat that thing and get to play the next levels. You did it once, so you must do it again.
    Whatever is the outcome, what you are doing may not change the world, but it will touch people, it will make a difference and is admirable.
    Thank you, and good luck.
    +1 for someone who will follow your update and play your game

  • Crimzzen

    Holy F%ck man, kick cancers ass! You have my support and anyone I can show this too!

  • Dailon Huskey

    This should be a national story! Can't wait to play crashlands!!! Much respect for the hard work devs put into this one.

  • EvanJO14

    Very inspirational. Also sounds like a great game to get.

  • SonixManix

    Honestly, you should make the Blood Dragon a boss in Crashlands. It will be a cool reference, and hint at Sam kicking cancer's soft and rather smooth ASS CHEEKS. Anyways, screw cancer! Hope all is well. 🙂

  • Goggles789

    To the guys at Butterscotch, my heart goes out to you. Your attitude is definitely set in the right place. Remember, other people beat the C word and so can you! Keep your positive attitude firing, you're gonna do great. Can't wait to try your game and much blessings to you.

  • Misguided

    Sam, you are clearly an amazing person, not to mention a compelling writer. The thing I love most about this story is how working on the game not only helped you cope with everything, but gave your brother a way to feel like he was doing something to help too.

    I would love to have the opportunity to shake your hand one day and laugh about how you kicked cancer's ass...twice.

  • Steven Lewis

    Thank you for sharing your courageous fight and your sense of humor. I am rooting for your health and your game!

  • fabianb

    I love you guys. You three are awesome, just awesome. I want to say something inspirational for you, but nope, I don't know what. I wish you all the best #fanforlifesincetowelfight2

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      #fanforlifesincetowelfight2 is inspirational as hell.

  • cragganmore

    Sam: If you don't die, you should consider writing a novel. PM me if you like.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      gonna need a little more confidence in my survival from you, craggan. WHAT'S WITH THAT IF.

  • Brrobotix

    Wow. Powerful story. As someone about to enter medical school, it's stories like these that are the driving force that's going to motivate me when I'm spending 20 hours a day studying.

    Also, is the blood dragon an actual boss in the game? It would be really cool if it were the final boss.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      It doesn't quite fit in the general lore of the world, but I'm sure we can figure out something 🙂

  • Back2funk

    A great article from an inspirational man. I need to buy this game to say a personal 'Fuck You' to cancer as it took my Darling Mum from me only 3 weeks ago.
    She gave cancer her own version of a 'fuck you' by not letting it get to her up until her last breath.
    I am in awe of the bravery and courage my mother and you have shown to the greatest evil known to man.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      She sounds like a powerful woman. Sorry for your loss, and may aspects of her live on in you forever.

  • Holcman

    This story... It's very inspiring. It to me on an emotional RollerCoaster while reading it. I'm very happy for you, your family, and your friends; beating cancer is no small task! As for me, all I can do is pick up this game, and have it bring me joy when I have tough times in my life, too.

  • http://www.3dave.com Dave Johnson

    Wow... BS is one of those studios where I ALWAYS buy any premium content they offer, because you can just feel how much they love the games they make. This story reinforces that theory beyond all belief.

    Best of luck with your battle, and I can't wait to play your legacy.

  • Stephen

    I must play this. A truly inspirational story.
    You rock!

  • grunt72

    This story really resonated with me. My wife passed away five years ago from cancer, after fighting it and giving it the finger for 18 years. I'm thrilled you have your brothers and other family members to help you. I'm even more thrilled that you stayed positive and kept a sense of humor. I will be honored to play Crashlands and will keep you in my thoughts.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      18 years! She must've been made of steel. I'm sure as a caregiver there were some tough moments in there for you, too. Kudos for sticking by her all that time - it means so much to have someone when you're dealing with this stuff. Thanks for sharing and taking the time, it means a lot.

  • evanac

    This has been the best read on TA ever. It's great the site gave you this opportunity and the way you're dealing with it is an inspiration.

    Having lost both parents to cancer I know how bad it sucks. This spurs me on to get cracking with the next game myself. Thanks and the best of luck. Positive thoughts and prayers heading your way BSS!! ^_^ x

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      What do you use for your games my friend? We're all game maker. I know some love the unity but hot damn if GM isn't the best 2d engine around.

      Sorry for your loss, life can be cruel with a double deal like that.

  • MikeWD

    Your story hit me right in the feels my good sir, I await your game to come out and I hope you kick cancer right in the nads! Cheers!

  • Death Lord777

    Cancers a bitch get well and look forward to this game.

  • luckystrikeguy

    I read this 10 times and this is so uplifting that I went outside and did a cartwheel (ok not really). But regardless you'll beat it just like the first time and thanks for all your work. It really inspires me to be a better person.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      But does it inspire you to do that cartwheel? GET TO FLIPPIN, LUCKYSTRIKE! I sometimes can't do cartwheels because of bone pain, so maybe do one for me. 😀

  • Patt

    This is such an uplifting story. I wish you all the best. Please look into something called Gerson Therapy. It is a nutritional protocol that can go right along with your cancer treatments. Just another avenue to explore. Good luck. I'm eagerly awaiting Crashlands.

  • bobaferret

    Bravo. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Very much looking forward to Crashlands. <3

  • Chungston

    I can't wait to play the game. Thanks for sharing your story. it was very moving.

  • Rip73

    Don't really know what can be said about that article other than thanks for sharing. It was very emotional and touching while very inspirational.
    Keep up the good fight and the very best for you and yours.

  • metalcasket

    I'm at a total loss for words. I've literally been staring sideways at my laptop screen, with my head between my palms, trying to put my thoughts into words. I lost the greatest uncle in the world to cancer back in 2002 and not a single day passes that I don't remember him. I feel like I know you, Sam. I (we) won't ****ing lose you and can't wait for the day when Crashlands permanently joins the rest of the Butterscotch titles on all my iOS devices...forever.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      Sorry for your loss, and thanks for the thoughts my friend. If I have anything to say about it the entire Butterscotch catalog will one day dominate the diskspace on your mobile device. Thanks for taking the time to write something here.

  • jayzilla87

    respect. 'nuff said.

  • Doom

    Thanks for sharing your story, rock and roll dude. Stay strong.

  • NOEN

    One of the best stories I've read on this site. It changes the game completely. I will be thinking of things I've read while I'm playing. It gives the game a whole new meaning to me. Cancer fucking sucks. I've lost 3 grandparents and then 2yrs ago, my Mom to cancer. I'll be looking forward to hearing that you beat it. Keep up the great work and congrats on the engagement......wait, she said "Yes" right? I don't think you mentioned it. Lol

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      Heh, she did indeed. Always thought she was amazing but when someone sticks with you through all that and doesn't look at you sideways when you go bald or turn red from poisoning... well, like I said. Cancer is the great clarifier. Sorry for all your losses, hopefully with all the sweet medicine tech making waves we'll be able to say goodbye to this beast forever. Love that people can relate, but also hate it, you know?

  • NetscapePizza


    wow…………………so random XD XD XD…………………………what an amazing legacy to leave

    Yes I'm being sarcastic

  • tsargeant3012

    Crying unashamedly.

  • RangerInfantry

    Incredible story. Will do everything I can to support these fellas. Just wow.

  • iosbuddha

    I will pay 60 American monies for this
    donating asap to you guys towards developing your dream!
    can't wait, keep on keepin on man!

  • skylined87

    Keep fighting that blood dragon dude! I can't even imagine the pain and turmoil you are going through, and I hope you will never have experience it again once the cancer is gone. And it WILL be gone! I am praying for you as I am sure many others are, and I have faith that you will overcome this horrible disease. You are an incredibly strong person and if anyone can do it, you certainly can. I can't wait to play this amazing game you are creating, and you can bet I will be buttering up! I will continue to support you guys in every way possible, and I hope there will be many more games to come. I know it's easier said than done, but just try to keep your head up. We all love you! 🙂

  • anabolicMike

    I was going to instabuy this game anyway...... Man I'm usually having fun running around trolling but I'm crying in here, the wife's asking me what's the matter cause I'm in the washroom. I lost a dear friend this year and a different friend lost his 11 year old daughter to brain cancer..... I feel horrible for you my friend. I know your getting lots of messages like this and thanks for taking the time to read some chubby blokes comment but I'm going to ask you a personal question or two.
    {-------}. I am assuming you live in the United States right? Are you insured or is this cancer fighting sapping the life out of your bank account? Sorry to ask something so personal, I just sometimes forget that not every place is like Canada where we get all this for free. Do you have an option somewhere to donate a couple bucks? I know it sounds cheesy my friend but what else can we do? I can't come play Magic cards with you to get your mind off of it, I can't come there so when your in pain you can kick me in the balls to alleviate at least some of your pain. (that's your brothers position anyway) So would it be okay to send you a donation? What's your personal email or an email only you access (seriously). I'd like to help the little way I know how. Oh yes, I know I know Canadian money isn't worth as much as it was a couple months ago but......I've just seen the struggle. Email that's just yours, please! Please? Pllllllllleeeeeeaaaasssseeee?

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      A daughter gone, ahh. That's a level of pain I hope never to know. My thoughts with you and your friend.

      I do indeed live in the states. I was lucky enough to still be insured on my parent's plan when this thing arrived, so I'm doing okay. As far as help goes, I'm working on something a little more powerful than just donations to myself and my fam. We'll make an announcement when it comes together, though it'll likely be post-Crashlands (maybe before my donor transplant). Keep an eye out for that, and otherwise just keep me and the brothers in your thoughts. And remember to love the little things you get each day. That's a good way to help.

  • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

    WILL DO, RICO! Congrats on that celebration, that's huge! Can't wait to have more than a year of cancer-freeness behind me. Then I can worry slightly less about random bumps and fevers, like before. Hopefully it left you with more than it took away.

  • ValentiaLyra

    This was powerful and moving. I wish you well.

  • apayson

    Thank you for sharing your story- it is appreciated greatly by many, myself included.
    I rode the cancer merry go round myself when I was 18. Scary as shit, but it sure feels good when you beat it, and 15 years later it is still a defining part of who I am, and how I view life.
    Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Your speedy recovery will be in my thoughts.

  • Ragn4rok 74

    My mom had breast cancer and beat it only to die of leukemia last year. Reading this article was so moving. Can't wait to play the game and hopefully many, many more.

  • nicodemus82

    As someone who has also had a brother go through cancer I certainly know how hard it can be.. Not just for the individual, but for the whole family as well. My thoughts are definitely with these guys!

    The game itself looks really awesome!
    Definitely can't wait to get my hands on it 🙂

  • Himanshu Modi

    And they say video games are a waste of time. Wishes for a quick and permanent healing my man! And fortunes as a game developer!

  • @DE_Clements

    I'm not sure what your beliefs are, but in instituting mine, I prayed for you to be healed and brought back into all the wellness that life can offer you. I am a daily fan of TA, and I believe in what they bring to the gaming community. This platform, for your story, shows another side of gaming that beckons for another facet of it to be brought to light. This could be the next evolution of TA's growth in digging deeper into the gaming world.

    I feel we need to be well informed of such developers like Butterscotch Shenanigans. Maybe another News Posting akin to the RPG Reload Files. Like "Devs Daily Disk-cussions" to spotlight such devs; while sifting out free-to-play schemers who should find their proper place within the casino industry. There's always room there for another new, "Slippery Slot Machine of Stealing +10".

    When well informed of what heartfelt work is being furiously keyboarded into bringing these ideas into life (for only $0.99 to $1.99+ apps), you might find inner cause to rally in support of them. Especially for continual updates, support, bug fixes, and more DLC. Case in point, the exemplary affirmation found in the March 19th TA posting, regarding 'Dark Echo' gone free, "but" consider this, ect.

    I often feel we take for granted, by the assured Thursday Treasure-Trove of Abundance, what goes into some of these opulent indie gems & their creators. Knowing now, their story, and what these three brothers have fought and will triumph over, makes Crashlands an instabuy for me. Even if nothing more than support of artistic expression and hard working indie devs forging determined dreams into darn good development.

    I take my 'Dwarven Leather Hat of Compassion +3' off to you gentlemen of mayhem, and bolster your cause for the humorous calamity of your gaming style! May the pixelated stars within our virtual universe gather favorably upon your newest creation! Another world of chunky pixel goodness is about to be birthed unto said Galaxy.

  • Melissa Elliott

    So amazed how strong your whole family is. Seth being there and Adam helping. You are very inspiring. Keep fighting and staying strong im looking forward to the game! And theres no way you cant show a tear or two for these amazing brothers

  • Delusionaltool

    Wow what a story got me very teary eyed. What a tough mofo too! To be able to make games while being so sick and not just any games these are aaa butterscotch games which are some of my faves. Quadrupus rampage, Towel fight 2 and the addicting floprocket to name a few ! Crashlands is going to be a epic game and i cant wait to play this labor of love,blood,sweat and tears.

    I pray for you too kick this cancer right in its gonads gtfo !! Cant wait to play the game. God bless!

  • xx99

    Great read. Love seeing behind-the-scenes stuff on TA, even when it's not all sunshine. Looking forward to the game and hope your treatment goes well.

  • Gerg

    Wow... Thanks for sharing this.

  • Tuzzo

    Oh man! Thanx a lot for sharing your story. I've been looking forward to Crashlands for a while but knowing what you went through and what this game means to you and your brothers make me want to play it right now!
    I can't wait for its release!!
    This game is a monument to how strong we can become when we focus on the good things in our lives; it's not just a game, with all the usual difficulties its development can bring: it's the weapon you forged to slay the blood dragon!
    This is your work of art and you've never let anything stop you from working on it.
    The strength you showed in keeping up working in this game, especially in difficult and painful days, is an inspiration to us all.
    It gives meaning to your life and stand out as a big cardboard panel that reads "Life is good even when it goes awfully bad. Fight on for what you love!" and I think that's one of the best meanings someone can find for life on Earth. Even better than 42 😉
    Thanks man! A big hug to you and all your family!!
    I really can't wait to play Crashlands ^_^

  • Clombate

    Didn't it say he got cured in one of the blog posts?

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      I did. For 7 months. Felt a lump while showering on a much needed vacation. Surprise cancer is the worst kind.

  • iAjent

    Absolutely brilliant piece of writing. I'll definitely be picking up Crashlands. All the best to Sam and his family.


    I didn't know you guys made Quadropus Rampage. When I saw your latest game released (Flip Rocket), I thought you were a new company until I read this article.

    I wish Sam for the fastest recovery possible.

  • Stormourner

    never ever give up, sam. the cancer must never win, I wish I would erase every cancers around the world and find out their about origins

    I wish you a quickest recovery

  • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

    Please stay alive!

  • tensider

    Adding a defiant middle finger against your internal invaders. They will NOT succeed. Give 'em hell.

  • addisonison


  • Artfoundry

    Man, so profoundly gut-wrenching and simultaneously inspiring.

  • Rawk GWJ


  • Pepelutin

    I don't know what to say... I'm not an english native, and i make a lot of mistakes, but your story is really inspiring, and i want to say you good luck. I will send it to a friend of mine which is fighting against cancer actually. It's good to hear someone like you, positiv and trying to do what he likes to do.

    I hope you'll succeed. I liked your game with an octopus, it's so simple, and it is such a great game, i like to think you made it with your heart.

    Thanks for your story. It's really inspiring, for everyone of us. Good luck for your next game, and for the next one. I'll play it, and i hope you'll be able to make other ones!

    Merci beaucoup pour ton courage.

  • http://twitter.com/joshuadegreiff Joshua

    Her legacy will live in the hearts of gamer!

  • chaZ

    Oh please release this for the love of God, you need all my money's!

  • mrktrx

    Looking forward to this game, also flop rocket is awesome.
    I don't this are really sad news for me since I'm a fan of your games since towelfight 2 I don't know how it is a financial disaster, I would call it a masterpiece, that's the reason I played gerblins and quadropus rampage, personally my favourite still towelfight 2.
    I've just installed flop rocket a few days ago and I was wondering if you were going to release something new soon, I didn't knew about this game in progress, and reading about it in this way really makes me drop few tears.
    May sound egotistical but I wish I could enjoy more of your games 🙁

  • ohfish

    Never been more excited for a game. Your brotherly trio is an inspiration in every way. I hope to make games as ferociously as you all one day.

  • NightmareCC

    Hello Sam. I really hope that developing, testing and playing this game in addition with the comments from us (the players) you will get enough energy to fight against your cancer!
    I can't wait to play your masterpiece and I do my best to support you.
    Wish you all the best!

  • Escoria

    You have my support man.
    Looking forward to playing your game.
    The art style and animation looks awesome.
    Reminds me of Disgaea and the other NIS games.

  • joezero

    Hi Sam, I'm so glad to see your amazing outlook. I have a friend who has inoperable liver cancer and went through some of the same questions about what to do with his life. He is a stand up comedian and resolved that he wanted to perform on David letterman. A documentary was made about his journey called Dying to do Letterman and he's also given two TED talks which are on YouTube, just search for Steve Mazan.

    Keep living life by your own rules and doing what matters to you the most. There is being alive and then there is truly living. You are definitely doing the latter!

  • collider

    I always meant to ask... are you "Buhhhh", "Tuuuuur", or "Scotch" in the intro?

    Really hope you kick cancer in the chops.

    • http://butterscotch-shenanigans.com/ Butterscotch Shenanigans

      I am the TUR!


  • adz4u28

    Great read, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer 3 months ago and is in the middle of chemo right now, it's a bit harder for him as he is 70 but I can see the pain he goes through. /salute to you sir for fighting it! You can beat it!

  • Design by Adrian

    Good Luck!!! with your treatments! Two years ago I moved all my charity donations to cancer research only, as I see this issue to be more important than anything else!

    With that out of the way: Quadropus Rampage is an amazing rouge-like with great gameplay and great animations! I'm surprised it never hit that hard on iTunes!

  • Hafiz Pon

    dude. my dad had the same thing in the early 90s. he survived it. here's to your long life.

  • Steve Bristow - Foxhole Games

    Thanks for sharing and good luck. Your games kick ass. I'm torn between jealousy and admiration for what you've achieved. I've 'done' Flop Rocket and played too much Roid Rampage so I'm really looking forward to your next game. All the best.

  • HelperMonkey

    My aunt was told that she had between two weeks to two years left to live when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. That's a hell of a coin toss, just hanging in the air. But she fought hard and lived large for more than six years.
    "The healthiest sick person I ever knew," someone said.
    She did well.
    We buried her last week.
    Carry on.

  • Jason Seip

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article - best of luck to you and your family!

  • http://twitter.com/jrronimo jrronimo

    Dang, man. Fantastic write-up. I really look forward to playing the game. Good luck with the rest of the treatments. You can do this!

  • tango909

    Bloody incredible story and I hope you don't mind me sharing it with my students( I teach games development using game maker and I am trying to organise a game jam to get them even more motivated) to show the good games can do. Also I want to encourage them and anyone reading this to sign up to the Anthony Nola register that provides matches for Bone marrow and T cell matches. I support this as by brother in law Lee had acute myeloid leukaemia and revived a transplant that gave him more time with us. (I'm on it and to date I have got over 100 people to sign up and helped raise money to support the charity).

    You are really inspirational, beat that blood dragon with your goat sword. I have never met you but I am with you, a member of the party.

  • AnthonyKR

    Kudos to these brothers and their family. I hope this game achieves awesomeness, but what's truly awesome is how much he's putting himself into what he's creating with his fam while dealing with all of this.

  • ChaosProdigy

    Hope he is 100% cured forever!

    and it would be cool to put in the Blood Dragon in game as a super powerful enemy we can only possibly defeat with top end end game gear? I would love that

  • gakuka

    Just read the story for the first time. I can't believe the strength it took to get here, and I love that something so good came out of something so terrible. Here's hoping life is out of curveballs to through you, and that you spend the rest of your many days exchanging joy with the world.
    Picked up the game, loving it!

  • rando

    I was actually drawn into this as I was looking into this amazing game I had already picked up.
    And I have to say from a purchase point - I was already more than satisfied as it really is GOTY material for so many reasons.

    But after reading the fantastically written and heart wrenching story and hearing what building this game and this world has meant for you - and what you wanted it to mean for anyone playing it I have to say I'm completely blown away. Expect my full and continued support from here on. And I can only wish you the best in health and success.

  • Bentley Milnes

    I just bought the game on Google Play I love it very much and I love it more now that I know the story behind it thank you from the bottom of my heart its my new favorite game on my cell phone