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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Glorious Leader! and North Korea Are Kickstarting!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - And we learn more about Moneyhorse LLC.

News concerning North Korea and Sony has spiraled out of control in the past two weeks. Thanks to the North Koreans, we know that Sony's executives comprise of hypocritical Obama-funding racists, and thanks to the North Koreans, we know that Sony is also made up of a bunch of irrational cowards since they are canceling "The Interview" movie in theatres.

However, what is interesting to me (not that that's not interesting) is that they have also brought out those shady guys from Moneyhorse LLC and their game, Glorious Leader!, out of the development hell it was hiding in. You may remember the game from when it got media coverage in May 2014. Or you might remember our "interview" we published two weeks ago where I declared:
"It's safe to say that this was either a hoax or a pathetic attempt at publicity."
Which is not necessarily wrong, but they just launched a Kickstarter two days ago. We do not endorse backing it, and here is why.

First off, let's examine some things. Their website is STILL "under maintenance". Their Twitter and Facebook both have the same two updates: One on December 12 showing a screenshot, and one on December 17 announcing the Kickstarter.

It's been this way since May, and that "more information" didn't exist until a day ago.
On Facebook they have replied to the angry comments in response to that they even have a Kickstarter. One such reply is,
"i'm sorry you feel that way. We decided to keep a low profile while developing the game due to some threatening emails and physical mail we were receiving. Now we are at the point in development where we need funds to complete the game at the level of polish we owe our fans. I hope you will take that journey with us."
You should be able to tell this is obviously shady. Physical mail? They don't have a physical address. They used a WhoIs proxy in case you try to WhoIs their pathetic website. They also don't care about their e-mails, seeing that they never replied to KoopaTV's. Of course, they gave out an e-mail of a Jeff guy.

Looking over to Steam, here is the answer to the pricing:
"we have arrived at $4.99 for the basic game. That will include updates. we might make a collectors edition later on with some special stuff for a little more, but anyone should be able to enjoy this for under $5."
$4.99 being under $5. Over at Steam, they also consider the Kickstarter to be the "final push".
"Hey guys, thanks for your patience. We have been hard at work and have made lots of progress on the game. It's time to add a few bells and whistles to finish her off and to bring some more fan-desired content in."
This is absurd on its face, and if you look at the Kickstarter, you can be able to tell why. First off, the video is the same as the one from May. By itself, that doesn't mean all that much, although you could interpret it as "They haven't done anything worth showing over this period of time."

Glorious Leader! game kickstarter poster
This is a pretty cool poster, I'll admit.
Moneyhorse insists that the game is not a "reskin" of games like Contra, and then lists some "features" that apparently differentiate it, such as:
  • 7 levels (consistent with May's trailer)
  • Bonus missions (With a screenshot featuring Sony, but it's really "Whatever you dream up.")
  • Powerups (active offensive ones, and passive buffs.)
  • Unique weapons (never-before-seen weapons such as the flamethrower, spreadshot, and machine gun!)
  • Enemy mooks
  • Boss fights
  • Gamepad support (we assume it's not the Wii U GamePad)
  • Unlockable characters
  • Difficulty levels
  • Cutscenes
  • Unicorns
Let's be clear: None of those are unique at all to the genre (not sure on unicorns), and are entirely standard and uninspired. The project is self-described as satirical, but you should keep your satire to the game and marketing materials, not as reasons to get the game. As in, if you're going to say this is what differentiates the game from other games, then they better be damn different!

One of the stretch goals is PlayStation 4 support (that's the only console besides PC on the page). Well, wouldn't it be amusing if they made a bonus level where you destroy Sony, and have that appear on a Sony console?

Here are the risks and challenges, which illustrate another reason you should not back this up:
"Game development is hard. Things change, problems pop up, deadlines shift, developers get assassinated at the request of disgruntles world leaders (hopefully not) . But like the DPRK, we will not fail. We have learned much from that mighty nation and we will persevere!"
That is not assuring. These are the guys that we know nothing about and have a track record of disappearing and lying about the one deadline (before 2014 ends) that we were given. Also not assuring are the rewards. I mean, those suck. They're almost as bad as the Choice: Texas ones.

The contradiction of Glorious Leader!'s Kickstarter rewards
Aside from their rewards being unappealing, especially from a cost perspective, they are also contradictory.
So how come you can get the game for $5 when it's out (either May 2015 or April 2015... remember, this was supposed to be out at the end of 2014) but you have to pay $10 here? That's not standard Kickstarter practice.

So we finally get some information on the company:

They're.. in Atlanta Georgia? ...That's... local.

Apparently they are "industry veterans", and it's registered under "Jeff Miller", presumably the same Jeff from the e-mail we saw in the Twitter tweet. And they still show their website like it has anything useful on it. I really do believe that the "security threats" are full of garbage, and they haven't touched the game since they announced it.

You can make great, satirical games (we sure did: play Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!!) and have those games actually be creative and worth investing in without feeling screwed. And if you cannot design a Kickstarter where the potential investor feels like they are safe giving you money, then you're better off trying to get North Korean funding instead. Relying on sensational themes in sensational times (it's no coincidence this popped up now, given current events) to try to dupe people of their money? I hope that fails.

Ludwig follows a policy of not personally contributing to any Kickstarters, despite endorsing specific campaigns in the past. If you would like to publicize your project through KoopaTV, feel free to make an arrangement with KoopaTV and KoopaTV will examine the project.

One such Kickstarter Ludwig endorsed was Maestro Interactive's and their game, Luna's Tale. Unfortunately, it failed.
On the other hand, Moneyhorse is doing exactly what Ludwig wished the videogame industry could do back when Ebola was ravaging the world.
While "The Interview" wasn't as interesting to Ludwig as this Kickstarter, it interested fellow staffer Vortexica greatly.
This Kickstarter got canceled.


  1. A couple quick questions:

    1. You say "thanks to North Korea" a few times in this post. Given that you also state that "Mari0" is the antagonist in the Mario series, it wouldn't be shocking to suggest (given the tone of your intro) that you also think that the North Koreans are the protagonists in the global narrative. Is this correct or incorrect? Please detail your reasoning why.

    2. In this article you state that it was Sony that pulled the movie from theaters, when in reality, it was the theaters themselves which stated they would not be showing it. After many big-name theater companies did this, Sony stated they would be cancelling the showing of The Interview in theaters, since it seemed impossible to carry on. After several smaller theater companies said they would show The Interview, Sony decided to go ahead with theater showings. This suggests Sony was making a logical business choice rather than backing down. Given that the author of this article seems pro free market, why would he discredit a business for trying to cut losses on a venture which, at the time, seemed fruitless or nigh-on impossible?

    1. 1. ...Come on I only said it once and both in the same paragraph (the same SENTENCE, actually), with the second time to match parallel structure.
      Anyway, that would be incorrect. We do not like North Korea at all, and if you would like an article with a very clear anti-North Korea slant, go ahead and read this:
      We don't like the North Koreans in the same way that Bowser hates that plumber but also Fawful at the same time. Let's put it this way: If North Korea ruled over the world, we wouldn't be able to have this website. Or be able to have all the kinds of art we produce.
      (I see you come from NSider or something. Hmmm I wonder who you could beeee.)
      North Korea has done nothing positive in the world so they clearly can't be protagonists.
      Just because I'm giving credit to North Korea for actions they want credit for doesn't mean I'm endorsing them!

      2. I would discredit Sony because taking North Korea's threat seriously is irrational. They don't have the infrastructure to do 9/11-style terrorist attacks. Obviously, based on how Sony is heavily marketing the movie's distribution at this point, they clearly believe a looooot of people want to see it now. Proclaiming decisions and then going back on them almost immediately after is not admirable business, which is why I also bashed Microsoft after going back on Kinect.

      Last note: ...did you read past the first paragraph or did you only find that part interesting?

    2. Sony wasn't the one who reacted to the bombing threats (assuming that's what you are referring to... If you are referring to the cyber threat, I would say they've proven competence on that front)... It were the larger theater companies, such as Carmike, that responded to bombing threats.

      While we're on that point, North Korea could carry out attacks as they claim, just perhaps not on the scale on 9/11. They've proven the ability to use clandestine agents to infiltrate first world countries (take a look at assassination/kidnapping attempts in Japan, South Korea, and France). It wouldn't be too farfetched to suggest that NK could carry out a small amount of bombings on US soil if they dedicated time and resources to do some.

      I skimmed past the first paragraph. Credit where credit is due, you do the homework when it comes to games.

    3. According to this article:

      If you read between the lines, notably...
      "In the wake of the threat, Sony yesterday gave theater owners the option to back away from the film, which is set to open Christmas Day."

      Well, isn't that a reaction to the bombing threat? If they didn't give those owners "the option", then, uh, who knows what'd happen, actually.

      I'm not an expert on movie theatre economics. Same article links to this article which says Department of Homeland Security said the threats weren't credible.

      I dunno what intelligence the movie theatre owners had access to. Likely little to none.


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