Kicking Things Into Gear…Or Not

Not a whole lot happened today, to be completely honest.

After work, I was supposed to get together with a friend from work to do some writing and editing, but she wasn’t feeling well by the end of the day, so we rescheduled for Friday. This means I’ve jumped off the “Should we go to the rodeo?” fence into the “Not this time” field, but I’m okay with that. It’s about 20 bucks we’ll save towards Gencon ($18 if you consider the coffee I’m going to buy Friday evening). However, I still ended up Hastings. I’m here with a hot decaf sitting next to me, chess players to my left and a really nice barista to my right.

I hope I’m not giving off a sweat vibe. I hit the gym before coming here. Instead of harder, shorter workouts, I’ve been doing some paced, longer workouts while watching Netflix on my phone. Tonight was “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and 75 minutes of exercise. I feel good. No complaints.  I may also have a stray hair or two hanging around because I finally went and got a haircut.

I was going to chatter about some of the things I’ve been doing at work to increase productivity and organization, but then I read about something else, and the only reason it struck me was because shortly before I even knew about this, I was formulating a bit of a paragraph on something very closely related.

Let’s talk about Kickstarter. Specifically, let’s talk about the recent debacle over a game “The Doom That Came to Atlantic City.” Not sure if debacle is the right word. Maybe disappointing mess to a mass of internet is a better description. The above link is the post/update that Erik Chevalier at The Forking Path sent to backers of the Kickstarter, a project that needed $35,000 and earned $122,874 by over a thousand backers.

Here was my initial response:  Aw, I kind of feel sorry for that guy. He bit off more than he could chew and completely screwed himself over. I kind of feel sorry for him. 

The internet, though, can be tricky. After reading more from that greatest source of news ever known as Twitter, I read more about it, including this post by one of the actual creators of the game, Keith Baker.  I also read the comments to see what the general consensus was. The answer? Fraud across the board, and after reading Baker’s post, I’m inclined to agree. The first post, seemingly apologetic, feels rather empty once one of the actual creator’s of the game comes forth with more details, a real apology, and the promise to try to make it up to the backers even though this wasn’t their fault and they will ultimately lose money on this.

I’m sure this isn’t the first time this is happened, and I don’t think it’ll be the last, but it’s sad. When people are victims of fraud, it sucks. It’s a crappy thing to do to someone and it leaves the individuals feeling vulnerable and naive. When it’s done through a Kickstarter, the only comfort is that as a backer, you’re not alone. But you’re still out the X amount of dollars you spent, and the situation becomes a dark mark on a program that I believe has done good things for people.

About ten minutes before reading those posts, I had read two of my own Kickstarter email updates and had been struck by the fact that one of them involved a profuse apology for a delay in printing.  I wondered, “Do people really get upset by something like that?” I don’t know. Maybe they do. And maybe they’re in their right to be as such.

Jon and I have Kickstarted many things, and I can’t think of anything we backed that didn’t happen or that we didn’t get our backer rewards for. When I back something, I always do it with a wariness that what I’m supporting may or may not actually happen. It’s with the knowledge that I’m making a decision that might not pan out for me because stuff happens.

That doesn’t mean I think anyone should just casually throw money at whatever. Part of the reason I don’t get overexcited with delays is that I don’t kick in a huge amount of money to any of the projects (the exception being Reaper, but we felt that the company had a good reputation before the Reaper Mini Kickstarter). If I did, I’d probably have more anxiety over the whole thing.

I completely support that backers of this project are taking action, because dude needs to be held accountable. It just sucks that so many people are having to deal with it. It especially sucks for the creators of the game who put trust in a gaming company to make their work a success, only to be told “Sorry, guys. I screwed up. Deal with it.”

Regarding those Kickstarters I’ve helped fund, I’ve never had a problem. They’ve been very straightforward and honest and have delivered on everything they promised. I’d like to think that most of the people looking for funding are the same way, and that the bad apples are few and far between. I sincerely wish all the backers luck in getting their money back and I hope the creators continue to create and that something good comes out of this for them.


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