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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When Kickstarters Get Kicked in the Ass (Part 1)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution

Not that I have a Part 2 or anything planned, but you know, I don't see why not.

Apparently, over one year ago during the Republican presidential primaries, a man named Daniel Williams came up with the idea to influence people's votes by creating a Ron Paul-based videogame, deemed Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution. This would be a platformer, and it'd be funded by Kickstarter. Here's an interview with Mr. Williams:

The video includes this brilliant image that I guess RT made because it doesn't represent the game at all.

Super Ron Paul Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. sprites are going to see a lot of coverage on KoopaTV this week.
The game was supposed to be released in June 2012, which is around when there wouldn't be enough primaries for Ron Paul to possibly amass enough delegates to win the primary. However, the game soon missed even that useless release date, and to this day, it isn't done. Obviously you should note that the presidential election finished a long time ago. This made the Kickstarter backers quite pissed off.

Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution Facebook comments scammed
There's a reason why I linked directly to the Comments page of the Kickstarter in the second paragraph of the article.

Now, the game actually does exist in demo form. It just sucks. A lot. You can play it here, but look at that awful control scheme. I tried playing it twice. The first time the game froze, and the second time I actually beat the Texas stage and just got bored at Nevada because the game sucked so much. Even Alex Jones making a cameo wasn't enough for this Sonic-inspired platformer to be fun. There's even a thematic disconnect because the real Ron Paul believes in the non-aggression principle but the goal of the game is to punch supporters of other candidates until they support your way of thinking.

Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution gameplay
In this game, you lead your supporters, including Mr. T, into a ditch.

So where did this Kickstarter go wrong? Mr. Williams explains in an update on January 2013:
The game has been on hold for a while now because I started running into all sorts of issues with the engine and browser compatibility. I ran out of funding rather more quickly than I had anticipated, and now intend to fund the game with my own money.

I'm in a pretty decent place now, where I am making enough money to hire the help that I need to tackle this project, and expect to resume development immediately in February.
I realize all of my mistakes in not being more forthcoming, or offering full disclosure. While I proceed with development, I will open up with a project schedule on the main site, http://ronpaulroadtorevolution.com, to keep everyone in the loop.
This is despite making more than double the money goal and Ron Paul not running for office ever again. If one looks at the main site, there is still no project schedule to be found. All indications say that Mr. Williams committed fraudulent behaviour against the liberty movement, or he's amazingly incompetent. He achieved his fifteen minutes of fame, and failed to follow up once the spotlight was taken off. This is a repeated pattern that we'll observe over and over again: This is what happens when marketing gets ahead of the interests of proper project management done by businessmen who actually know how to budget, have fitting scope, and can manage resources effectively to get a project done from beginning to end. Now all Mr. Williams is left with is a piece of crap and many angry project backers.

The concept behind Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution is an interesting one. Educate the populace on a topic and convince them to take action. Alter their very lives forever! They call this a "serious game", and I think they all universally suck right now. I could be wrong, but we got other "serious games" about stuff like global warming. At least Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution is supposedly made for "classic gamers", unlike other "serious games" which are designed to be uninteresting and not fun. Disturbingly Mr. Williams developed levels so difficult he can't beat them. Maybe that's why development is taking so long: He's taking so long to play-test and beat his own game!

Maybe if we pretended those were poker cards, we could play Sexy Poker! Oh baby, it's getting so warm, I gotta take off some clothes!

The problem with the genre is that if you're playing a "serious game", you KNOW you're going to be fed social-engineering somehow. That's WHY you're playing the game. All that does is feed your confirmation bias. What you gotta do, if you want to socially engineer, is to subversively put the message in a mainstream title, like Irrational Games did with the message "Ayn Rand future sucks" in BioShock. People don't play BioShock to hear that message (beats me why they play it), but they receive it anyway. That's completely different than playing something like Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution. The gameplay is terrible, so only people who like Ron Paul to begin with would play the game.

Even though it's free.


Ludwig disclaims that he agrees with the social-engineering that Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution is supposed to give out. If you friend him on Facebook, you might see that he Likes all sorts of Rand Paul 2016 stuff. Go ahead and comment here about any of the topics touched upon in this article!


For the Kim Jong Un version, click here.
For the version featuring Keiji Inafune and Mighty No. 9, click here.
For the version that has Pagies in Cagies, click here.

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