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Trombone Champ Is A Very Bonkers Top 10 Selling Game On Steam

The wonderfully silly interface of Trombone Champ, with a very enthusiastic trombonist.

Screenshot: holy wow

It just couldn’t be better being one of the 10 best-selling games on Steam right now Trombone Championthe downright ridiculous and hilarious trombone sim-cum-Guitar Hero game from one of the funniest developers in the industry. But it’s also astonishing, given the insane obscurity of the game’s themes.

I follow the matches of Trombone Champion‘s developer, Holy Wow, for over ten years. From the groundbreaking Icarus Proudbottom In: The Curse of the Chocolate Fountainin which a man propels himself through the air by the power of his own poop, to the endlessly funny multiplayer minigame collection, The typing party of Icarus Proudbottom, and everything in between, the indie developer’s games have been making me laugh for years. Which I say to basically brag that I knew them before they were cool. And wow, husband and wife team Dan Vecchito and Jackie Lalli are cool now.

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“No and no!” Vecchito says when I ask him if a previous Holy Wow game has had this kind of success and if he expected it this time. The previous games have been somewhat messy affairs, Vecchito explaining that he is a self-taught coder but rose above the ranks of their peers because of how damn funny they were. Trombone Champion shows another evolutionary step forward, it’s Nintendo Mii-esque graphics and beautiful UI that belies a game of abject stupidity.

holy wow

In Trombone Championyou should try to play the trombone by means of a Guitar Hero-like interface, move your mouse up and down to match the menacing lines, while holding a button to use “toot” as they pass the left side of the screen. Only the mouse movement is reversed (you can toggle this, but should you?), disgustingly unsteady, and the whole thing deliberately cumbersome. Which leads to fun moments. Fun times that deserve absolute breakthrough success, coverage of mainstream gaming sites that usually ignore such idiosyncratic indie games, and a top 10 spot on The new maps from Steambut no one was waiting for that, right?

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“I always thought the concept was funny,” explains Vecchito via Twitter DMs, “and I expected several video clips of the game to go viral, but I didn’t expect the game itself to take off so much.” So why does he think it could? “Apparently it affects a lot of audience: casual gamers; true music game lovers; real brass instruments; ska fans (it turns out there are a lot of them!); etc. Even still, I’m a little baffled as to why this one got off the ground like that.”

I wonder if this means he might want to republish his previous library of games now that the rest of the world has finally woken up to Holy Wow. Perhaps release them in gold-plated boxes. “I would love to make an HD Icarus Proudbottom learns to type!” Vecchito is immediately enthusiastic. He could too. As Nathan Grayson (late of this parish) once wrote: Icarus Proudbottom learns to type is unbelievable.” And it’s real, if somewhat archaic, despite its release in 2013.

“I would also love to make an update typing party and make more arcade cabinets,” Vecchito continues. “We currently have one” typing party cabinet at Wonderville in Brooklynand it’s tempting to make more and spread them to indie arcades across the country.

“But with Trombone Champion“Success,” Dan adds, “I think we’ll spend a while on this.” Not bad, for a game made during his evenings and weekends, around a full-time job. While previous Holy Wow games have been more of an even split between the married development team, Trombone Champion was closer to a solo project. Vecchito explains, “I love wasting my own nights and weekends on a stupid game like this, but I didn’t want to ruin my one and only husband’s free time.”

You absolutely can and should get the previous Holy Wow games from Itchbecause they are damn awesome. Then you can pretend you were cool too for all this newfound steam based success.

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