Step 1: Create a free-to-play online text-based game. Step 2: Allow people to pay for extras. Step 3: Become a millionaire at 21.
Sometime certain online games will strike the right chord with gamers and gain a significant following. One such game is Torn, a text-based (though with some graphical elements) online game that has earned its 21-year old English creator, Joe Chedburn, 1 million dollars. Actually, it's earned him a 1 million pounds according to the Telegraph, which is really 1 million-and-a-half dollars by current exchange rates. This guy's doing all right, he is.
The game's intro video gives you a basic idea of what it is like. I decided to give it a try, and was pretty impressed. You can do a lot: buy weapons and armor, commit crimes, get a job, get an education, train at the gym, read the newspaper (where it looks like real players can even advertise), go to the casino, and more. There are a lot of interesting ideas in Torn; it appeals to the the part of me that used to play MUDs for hours a day. There is even a radio station (with DJs) called Torn Radio that plays anything from Twista to David Cook.
Torn's gameplay partially revolves around statistic bars that are used to complete actions. For example, to complete a crime you have to have a certain amount of Nerve, while to go to the gym you need Energy. Once you are out, you cannot complete certain actions until these stats regenerate.
Torn is free-to-play, but players can drop $5 a month for a bunch of extras including faster Energy regeneration, a bigger Energy bar, and, of course, a cosmetic enhancement of a star next to your name. Enough people have chosen to pay this fee to earn Chedburn a cool million. If you'd like to add some more money to his overflowing coffers, or just want to check out this creative game, play it at http://www.torncity.com.