Cinemaware Out of Touch; No One Surprised

I feel like I shouldn’t be giving advice to potential Kickstarter creators. But I suppose that by pointing out things that I feel they do wrong, I could already be doing so. So fuck it, here’s a freebie: don’t make a video like Cinemaware’s Kickstarter pitch.

With all the authenticity of a G4TV show, Cinemaware presents you with your “host”, Sasha Jackson. Her title is “host” for a reason: she has absolutely nothing to do with the game. She’s a pretty face who is only there to get teenage boys to pledge. You don’t see a single person relevant to this project until 5:47 into the video. You get two random German guys talking about how much they loved Cinemaware’s games over 20 years ago before that.

Which actually brings me to another point: don’t make your Kickstarter pitch over 9 fucking minutes long. The only people who are going to watch the whole thing are people like me. And you don’t want people like me watching your video. Because then this happens.

But Cinemaware miscalculated one thing: teenage boys don’t have the $350,000 they claim is necessary to get this game done. Whoops. That’s how you fail at Kickstarter: not knowing your audience. If you want to sell your game once it’s out, then fine, go put your British Barbie on television to talk about it. Maybe you’ll get those teenage boys interested enough to get their parents to give them money for it. That’s not going to happen with Kickstarter. This is just another example of a company treating Kickstarter like a super preorder than a donation for a worthy cause.

You can fill in the rest at this point: they don’t need $350,000 to make this game, this isn’t some indie startup struggling to get their first game out the door, etc. They spend most of the time talking about how much praise they got.. in 1990. This is a well-established, if a little out-of-date, company, and there’s no way they need to rely on crowdfunding to make a game. It doesn’t even seem like Cinemaware really seems to give a shit about the title; they’re outsourcing development. You’re giving Cinemaware money to give to someone else to make a game. And it’s the same company that made Wings for Game Boy Advance. They didn’t seem to have a problem funding that one without Kickstarter.

So this is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation: if the previous incarnations of the game were so good, there should be no problem with funding for this, so you don’t need a Kickstarter. If they weren’t, and there’s no interest, then you don’t need a Kickstarter – the game won’t sell anyway. Lo and behold, what you end up with here is a complete failure of a Kickstarter.

I didn’t specifically select these pictures to make a point, by the way. This is the extent of their concept art – the same fucking shot over and over again.

And then, the whimper of a dying Kickstarter.

Maybe next time you’ll think before making a Kickstarter for an air combat game ending on 9/11. No Jihads for you and your team.

I’m just kidding, you’re not a terrorist. You’re just stupid. That’s not as bad.

But it’s close.

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4 thoughts on “Cinemaware Out of Touch; No One Surprised

  1. “Maybe next time you’ll think before making a Kickstarter for an air combat game ending on 9/11. No Jihads for you and your team.”

    Cracked me up.

    I’ll be sure to have you vet my video when I produce a Kickstarter, before posting in for the world. You know – so you can lambaste me in private.

  2. So true – I knew when I saw that video that it wasn’t going to succeed…for the same reason the Pitfall game didn’t work out. (Although it has 48 hours left for some kind of miracle.)

    Also, Cinemaware should have done “It Came From the Desert.” I think that would’ve been a better pick for a Kickstarter game. Would have had more audience than an airplane sim.

    And the German dudes…such a strange decision to include them! Clearly Cinemaware needs to hire a VP of Common Sense.

  3. […] does a great job of showing how even established companies – not just naïve nobodies – can totally botch a Kickstarter project. Cinemaware, an old school game company, attempted to reboot their Wings series for the original […]

  4. […] problems with Kickstarter that pop up here. I’m getting a little déjà vu myself. Back to “don’t make your Kickstarter pitch over 9 fucking minutes long”. At least this time you only have to wait a minute and a half to see anyone involved with the game. […]

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