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Crowdfunded Schlock: How to Spot a Bad Kickstarter

I’ve got to be honest. Doing the Kick Ass Kickstarter series is incredibly difficult. Why is this? It’s actually quite simple. 75 – 80 percent of the stuff you see in the gaming section for Kickstarter is absolutely atrocious. They are uninspired, ripoffs, and downright shovelware at times. The difficulty with this is that it gives great Kickstarter games that do need legitimate help a bad name. It’s hard to talk about how good one game is when it’s surrounded by 50 games that are broken, unplayable, and downright bad. It’s a shame too because I love a good Kickstarter. Today we’re going to discuss some of the major issues with Kickstarter games.

Bad Lego Football Game
Lego Football? Pass. Just like Seattle in the Superbowl.

Play-Doh Games: “Where’s the rest of it?”

Perhaps the most obvious examples of bad crowdfunding games are what I like to call the Play-Doh Games. These are the kind of games that look like a two year old crafted some horrid characters with the Play-Doh they were given. These games will be nothing more than a poorly cropped set of screenshots. Usually made by 15 year old wanna be game developers. They think they’ve got the next million dollar game on their hands so they demand a ridiculous amount of funding. Problem is that there’s no gameplay, no sound, and no actual game. It’s nothing more than just a couple screenshots that were made using the Unity Engine. These things will never get more than a couple dollar donated by friends or family. Thankfully.


Eco Spirits Kickstarter
No guys, this is not pokemon. How could it possibly be that?


It’s one thing to take a game and be inspired by the classics. It’s another to do nothing more than rip off their formula and call it your own. There are a plethora of games that are very clearly re-skins of classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, the Mario Brothers, and more on Kickstarter. These games may even be fundamentally sound some of the time However, they also have about as much originality as an Amy Schumer stand-up act. Inevitably, these games will get some level of funding but they rarely get to 100% of what they need. These are games that lack polish, have very little to add to the formula timer adventurous for fledgling game developers. Luckily their numbers are dwindling as Kickstarter has started to crack down on these.



Ouya Kickstarter
The original Kickstarter that promised too much.

Promising the World

Then you’ve got games that seemed to promise to out-do everything play tidal that is ever graced gamers. They promise things like real time strategy, in fighting games with state-of-the-art graphics, MMO elements, celebrity voice actors you name it. The games sound like they’d be phenomenal even if they were to include only a quarter of the stuff they suggest, but then you look at the donation goal. They want 500,000 dollars to make the game! For one, lot of money for a Kickstarter. And second of all, there’s no way that all of that could be included in a budget of only, 500,000 dollars. These will raise monumental amounts of money, but they also wind up nowhere close to what their goal is. It’s all right to aim for the moon, but you better hope you’ve got enough fuel to get up there.


Full Service Kickstarter
Wanna guess what the theme of the game is? They’re all “massage” specialists.

Shitty Visual Novels

This one might be a preference thing, but i’m really sick and tired of all of these visual novels on Kickstarter. The amount of times where some anime romance game filled with stock characters and no discernible gameplay, originality, or depth is visible get funded annoys me. Not every game has to have a tremendous amount of depth. But the amount of teenage girl wish-fulfillment material on Kickstarter is kind of crazy sometimes.

These will be games that just have still images of a bunch of same-faced anime hunks vying for your attention. And then when you see the games on Twitch, the people playing it just skip all the text to see the next images! All they care about is getting to the “romance” scenes in the game. Because if we’re being honest, the games turn into soft-core porn very quickly, which is what they actually are half the time. Porn games. Inevitably, these games wind up making ridiculous amounts of money and get 5 to 15 times what they’re initial goal was.

Mighty Number 9 Kickstarter
Mighty Number 9 had the potential to be great. And it wasn’t. It actually sucked.

How Could this Kickstarter Possibly Fail!?

A lot of what ails Kickstarter can be summed up with what has already been said. Games that are just flat out bad ideas. But then you get those games that are totally different. They’re original. They’ve got something about them that just screams next Big Thing. These could be Games inspired by the past but put a new spin on it. Or they could be completely new ideas with wonderful art direction, solid demos available, and a lot of support from the developers. These games will have very realistic standards for Their donation goals. They’ll continuously update people during the campaign. The game just looks fantastic. You think to yourself “How could this game possibly fail!?”

And then the game gets funded. Then the game gets made. Then the game gets released….

And it sucks. And you swear you’ll never touch a Kickstarter project again. Until you do.


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