I Hate You All Even More Part 1: Boon Shill

Few things get my titties in a twist quite like seeing a game idea that I like have a shitty Kickstarter. And boy do my nips need some lotion after reading over the Kickstarter for Boon Hill.

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Might as well bury this.

I like new, experimental ideas in games. And while a game in which you walk through a graveyard has already been done by Tale of Tales, I believe there was no reading of headstones nor speaking with NPCs. So in an interactive sense, this is an expansion on The Graveyard? I can dig that (no pun intended).

What I can’t dig is the idea that it costs $5,000 to make it.

Okay, that’s not a lot of money, wah wah Kickstarter apologist. No, it’s not a lot, but it’s way fucking more than anyone needs to make such a simple thing. This is the kind of shit that people make at 24-hour game jams without a penny. It’s certainly not groundbreaking stuff, technologically. People have made way more complex things in less time than this asshole spent putting his Kickstarter page together. And because of that, the number of free options available to him to create this is absolutely insane. Plug some art in, at worst write a couple of scripts, and all that’s really left is the writing – which creator Matthew Ritter is doing himself. And you know how I feel about collecting a salary from your own Kickstarter.

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But wait! Matthew was kind enough to provide a breakdown of where the funds are going! Let’s see how that goes.

“500-800 dollars – Sound design”

Well, he’s certainly no Craig Stern.While this seems rather modest for the sound design of a game, let’s not forget that this is a fucking graveyard simulator. How much sound design could there possibly be? Some footsteps? Wind? The muffled voice of someone shouting “Let me out! I’m not quite dead!”? I seriously doubt any of these characters are voiced. Because this is the only audio-related listing, I assume that it includes the music, which again helps make it more reasonable. But, yet again, how much music could there possibly be? There are no different levels, no game state changing (exploration/battle/etc/). It’s all just ambient music to accompany roaming around a graveyard. One, two pieces max? It’s probably a bad idea to have music playing in the first place. This is a graveyard simulator, yes? I don’t recall hearing sad violins last time I visited one.

“2,000-5,000 dollars – Programming”

There are so many variables in this part that I can’t even imagine how these numbers came to be in the first place. I’ve already gone over how mind-numbingly simple this project is on a technological level. Paying someone to program this is like paying someone to turn on your television because you don’t know where the remote is. Also, in this hypothetical situation, discovering the location of your remote is a quick Google search away. I’m sure that part isn’t far from being a reality anyway. I also like the $3,000 spread in this quote. “I don’t know, it could be $2,000 for programming, or maybe over double that. Who’s to say?” Nice research.

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"Here lies my dignity"

“1,500- 3,000 dollars – Pixel art”

This one pisses me off more, because Matthew is a pixel artist himself. Now, I’m guessing that this isn’t actually for his own art, but that doesn’t really make it better. The two most work-intensive parts of this game will probably be the writing and the art. But those are both things that you do, Matthew, you dumbass. That’s probably why it’s like that in the first place. If I was going to make a game that was focused mostly on sound design and music, it would be because I do those things, and would want to do them myself. But Matthew has promised one thousand graves to read from in this game. So I just imagine him getting to the 50th one and going “Oh god, I can’t do this anymore! I need to outsource this art so I can get this game done!” The only reason you pay someone else to do what you yourself do is laziness. And again, a $1,500 spread – the entirety of the low estimate. How do you not know what you’ll need for this project?

“500 – 800 dollars – Writing”

I take it back. The only explanation for this is that Matthew is getting his own salary from this, which he is basically admitting here:

“One thousand grave markers are currently planned, each with its own implied backstory. Why not more? Mainly because someone (primarily myself) has to write each and every one of those.”

The entire fucking premise of this game is reading gravestones. In the video for this project, Matthew goes on about how he’s been filling notebooks with epitaphs he’s written since junior high. So how much of this writing has already been done? And how the fuck did you come up with an amount of money that it would cost for you to sit on your ass and write them? And how do you have a $300 range for the amount you are going to charge yourself to write them? I guess with an amount like 1,000 gravestones to write, it’s hard to say up front just how many Lunchables you’ll go through before you finish them all. And Lunchables aren’t free, right? Guess you better get someone to pay for those.

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"I'm getting too old for this shit."

But here is the best part:

“Total Production cost: 4,500-9,600”

Matthew has set the goal for this project on the low end of that estimate. So, apparently, this project could get fully funded, but still be $5,100 under what he actually needs based on these estimates. That is a dangerous game you play, Matthew. Or is it not dangerous at all because you don’t actually need any of this money to make your game?

“So here they are, the Boon Hill stretch goals.”

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Yeah, that’s what I thought. Your first stretch goal is $2,100 less than the top end of your estimate for the basic game. So you’re not even sure you can finish the game with under $9,600, but why not start throwing in some stretch goals at $7,500? Could it be any more obvious that your funding goals are completely full of shit? The second stretch goal is for a cross-platform release of the game. It seems that the sole programmer on this project has one of those beautiful money-to-feature conversion machines. And while it’s unclear whether the base features will cost $2,000 or $5,000, we can be sure that hitting that $10,000 stretch goal for the whole project means a release on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Someone really must tell me where to get one of these magical machines. I’ve tried stuffing money into my PC tower, but it seems to be removing features rather than adding them. I must need the opposite machine from what I currently have. I’ll go find my Macbook and report back later.

Lastly, let’s look at some of the rewards for backing.

“All of the previous rewards, and you can write the epitaph (as long as you keep it semi-classy) for the grave with the name of your choice. Ever wanted to say something poignant for the ages and didn’t want to wait to die? Now’s your chance.”

Remember that $500-$800 for the writing? Well now you’re paying to do it yourself. And remember how the whole idea of this game was interconnected stories and everything would hold together? Well now any random asshole can write whatever they want, so long as they have the money.

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And this is what game development has come to. Some shithead with a concept for a game simpler than Super Mario Bros asks for $5,000, and gets nearly $13,000. Because people are dumb. Had I any faith in humanity left, this would have ended it.

But this is only part 1. Tune in.. sometime.. very.. soon for another Kickstarter that ended a mere 80 seconds after this pile of shit. Probably tomorrow, because I can’t bear writing two of these in one day. It wears on me so how stupid you all are.

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5 thoughts on “I Hate You All Even More Part 1: Boon Shill

  1. The saddest part of this project is that 4 times more people want to explore an 8 bit graveyard simulation, than want to read my comic book. Is that too selfish?

    My next kickstarter project is going to be to fund a cthonic-steampunk-8-bit-open-source- story-driven-sandbox-rpg with miniature stretch goals.

    As soon as I stop wallowing in self pity. Check back in 2017.

    • davidgaames says:

      TAKE ALL MY MONEY FOR THAT GAME ALREADY.

      I think the problem is more the fact that the hype around video game Kickstarters is way higher. Maybe convince Tim Schafer to make a comic book, and we’ll get you some more money. 😉

    • Daniel Morales says:

      Also, he has a solid, convincing pitch – that you have to admit. The video does a great job of explaining his interest in a kind of morbid unusual topic and makes it compelling for the general audience. I agree with David that video games get more hype, but the video is solid. Great pitch.

      • davidgaames says:

        Well, I can certainly agree with that. And if this was a trailer to convince you to purchase the game, I would buy it. But as a Kickstarter pitch, it’s supposed to convince me that this project not only is worth $5,000, but requires it to become a reality. It utterly fails at the second, and that is my sole issue with it.

      • Daniel Morales says:

        I think the other thing that it is taking advantage of is the sudden boom in pixel art games. That definitely gives it an advantage. I’ll be really, really curious to see what the general response to this period of Kickstarter is after 2-3 years pass. How are these games (and the larger ones like DFA and Wasteland 2, etc) going to be considered in terms of the games pantheon? I think that may influence how effective games Kickstarters are going forward. Like if there are a bunch of duds, the general populace may not fund games so easily. But I think they will always be susceptible to a strong pitch.

        I’ll be curious to hear y’alls thoughts about the Girl With a Hat thing that just blew up. The Banjo Kazooie/Mario 64 knock-off. Smells like a stinker to me.

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