Oh sweet Jesus, Kickstarter. Where do I even begin?
If you don’t know what Kickstarter is, it’s basically the newest thing on the internet that’s cool to hate, replacing Bronys, which in turned replaced Otakus and Furries. The idea is that someone starts one of these and pleas their case, going into detail of what they’re trying to fund and asking people to assist with some money and offering awards for certain amounts of money donated. How it relates to gaming is that a lot of game devs are trying to bypass the cruddy publisher system by trying to fund their games with it, which they saw Double Fine do awhile back to amazing success, asking for $400,000 to help fund an adventure game and ending up with $3,336,372. We gamers really love Tim that much. Oh, and the OUYA indie game system one got up to around nearly eight million. So if you make a good case and people see something good in what you wish to fund, they’ll help out.
Also related are when internet personalities related to gaming do this, such as the already mentioned Penny Arcade and James Rolfe (the Angry Videogame Nerd) advertising one done by his friend. Stupid shit tends to follow just mentioning these…and for the life of me, I don’t get why. Now I’m not saying kickstarters can’t be abused, but people seem to be thinking that every kickstarter is instantly a scam for no logical reason.
Let us start with the AVGN one. The story is one of James’ friends started a project fixing the bugs in the infamously awful Cheetahmen II and then wanting to make this fixed version buyable with actual carts, which cots a ton of money to actually make possible, so he made a kickstarter WITH MUCH SERIOUSNESS AND CHEETAHMEN FOCUS to try and make this silly dream a reality. If you didn’t care, you simply didn’t have to pay anything and could just ignore it. Then James advertised it. Can you guess what happened next?
It wasn’t long before everyone started complaining that somehow James was scamming everyone and stealing their money…even though he said in the description THAT NOTHING FROM THE KICKSTARTER WOULD GO TO HIM OR HIS WEBSITE. The most logical comment is that James got ad revenue from the video poster, WHICH IS ALMOST NOTHING. So basically, nobody can actually read where the money is actually going to and don’t care about the project, just that a person on the internet they irrationally hate is advertising it. See, I get having a bone with someone like Spoony (even he admits he’s an ass), but James is one of the most humble people on the internet and isn’t even asking for anything here, just doing a favor for a friend.
That somehow means he’s going to steal your soul.
The Kickstarter that Penny Arcade started, on the other hand, is a tad stranger. The general gimmick is that they want to sell out to their fanbase and not advertisement groups to keep their website and con workings running, giving them more time to focus on new content. They want to go back to how the site used to be run entirely on donations to help make the site run smoother and have to deal with the business side less by putting more control they have over their site back in their hands.
Needless to say, shit started, but with how strange this one is worded out, I get why the shit storm followed. See, the language is a bit weird, self-aware and a tad comedic (just look at some of the rewards for backing). It’s not entirely clear what the goal is at first until you look over it a bit better, and it came down to wanting to remove ad services and then try and make improvements to the site with extra donations. This seems pretty silly for such a large number for something so minor, so I get why people would not want to fund it. However, the internet lost its collective shit when this one went up and almost never had a good reason for doing so, because if you read the thing, you see they outright say their reasons for what they’re doing.
So instead of all the endless complaining, what would be the better solution? Ignore the damn thing.
It’s a fundraiser; no one is forcing you to do anything. This isn’t the case of people scamming people out of their money, its people asking for money and showing exactly what they plan to do with it from people who have been in the public light for a long while. They simply see what their fans want by letting them vote with the dollar, or in James’ case, just advertising a project he thought was cool for a friend. This isn’t like someone lying about a kid in the hospital in a quick rich scheme, it’s a silly dream project to make Cheettahmen II playable and another to work on site improvements and own more of the site without ad issues. These aren’t things that tug at the heartstrings or are obviously manipulative, so why do people treat it like that’s the case?
Simple. People love to hate, we all do. Eventually something gets hated enough that it becomes the cool thing to hate, and it usually comes about because someone did something bad enough to actually make a case, but everything that followed ended up being mass stupidity. We see this exact same thing happen constantly, and it’s made worse when major personalities get involved. For every actual complaint, we get a stream of idiots who know nothing on the actual subject just hating because that’s the cool thing to do. It’s obnoxious, especially because I love the idea of Kickstarter.
Gaming publishers can be bastard covered bastards with a creamy bastard filled center. It’s not very different from the movie industry, which has been creatively bankrupt for a long while. It sucks the creativity out of the medium, even lying about what little creative things they produce to get more sales (let’s just say that Tim Shafer is still pissed at EA for how they forced Brutal legend to be advertised, what with nearly killing his studio in the process). Kickstarter is an easier way to ask the public what they want and can allow smaller developers to fund their dreams. Sure, there will always be scammers out there, but the possibilities that developers get with this work around could be amazing one day. Hating the site just because it means that someone is somehow “selling out” or some other BS excuse is obnoxious. Don’t flush away promise because of a turd in the punchbowl.