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How being a successful independent developer can make you feel guilty

On the day that Vlambeer released Ridiculous Fishing last year, developer Rami Ismail earned more money than his mother earned all year, Ismail told told The New Yorker.

Out-earning the woman who raised him and his brother on the salary from a local government job made him feel guilty.

"Somewhere in the back of your head you know that you worked hard, that you sacrificed your stability and you took on the risk of financial ruin for a long while," Ismail said. "You did things that other people were not willing or capable of. And that paid off. But, even so, it feels awful. I couldn't get rid of the image of my mother in her car, driving to work."

In 2011, The New Yorker spoke with Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson, who expressed a similar sort of discomfort with his success.

"The money is a strange one," Persson said. "I'm slowly getting used to it, but it's a Swedish trait that we're not supposed to be proud of what we've done. We're supposed to be modest. So at first, I had a really hard time spending any of the profits. Also, what if the game stopped selling? But after a while, I thought about all of the things I'd wanted to do before I had money. So I introduced a rule: I'm allowed to spend half of anything I make. That way I will never be broke. Even if I spend extravagant amounts of money, I will still have extravagant amounts of money."

Flappy Bird Dong Nguyen creator shared similar sentiments earlier this year. After saying that his game earned more than $50,000 a day, Nguyen pulled the mobile game from sale, stating concerns that the game had become "an addictive product."

"My life has not been as comfortable as I was before," Nguyen said. "I couldn't sleep."

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