There are games that go silent and there are games that go silent without anything real to show for itself. While some of the crowdfunded games that have gone dark have done so for a reason, and sometimes they finally give a reason for going incommunicado, the scientific educational game for mobile devices Tornado Maker is one that has had almost no contact with its backer base. While I’m usually lenient towards a lack of updates and I give the development team the benefit of the doubt, what’s been going on with this one sends up several red flags. And a prime example of caveat emptor (“buyer beware” to the layman).
In preparing for this piece I combed through the entire pitch, read every non-backer only update, and perused every comment to see what the deal is with the void left by Tornado Maker. And what I found was, at the most optimistic, a game in a state of limbo while the core app is still being worked on. At it’s most pessimistic, though, this looks to be a case of a Kickstarter taking the money and running. The reality seems to fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.
I don’t have any solid facts as to what happened to Tornado Maker, but the reality of it is that there hasn’t been a single update in a year. July 17, 2014 to be exact. And the number of updates since the campaign ended has been sporadic at best. Of 23 posts to date the majority of them have been during the month that the Kickstarter was running. And even then the vast majority talked about weather patterns and news stories about natural disasters and almost nothing about the game itself.
A good campaign needs to talk about the product in question. Which is nearly nonexistent in the two-and-a-half years that Tornado Maker has been in development. Assuming there has been much work to begin with. With the exception of the pitch and the latest update there have been no screenshots to speak of unless they’ve been posted to outside sources. And unless either of the two “backer only” updates covered any of this ground nothing really has been said about how the game plays.
Another thing that stood out while reading up on Tornado Maker was just how close the race was. I’m no stranger to seeing a last minute race across the finish line, some campaigns even grabbing the majority of funding in the last days, but this one ran literally down to the wire. With just a few hours to go it was sitting at 90% funded. Nearly $7,000 poured in four hours before the deadline. It’s not unheard of but it is certainly very rare. Especially with so little to show for itself.
Backers are generally willing to wait for a good product, but even the most patient person has their limits. Looking at the comments section the last time the developers at Outthink spoke with its fanbase was in November 2013. That’s a year and a half ago. Even with backers complaining about this being a money grab they’ve remained mostly silent. Even if Tornado Maker isn’t a scam project and a way to earn a quick buck with nothing to show, there are plenty of reasons to wonder if this is another black mark on Kickstarter’s portfolio.
Have any news or updates regarding Tornado Maker you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line!
Know of other Kickstarter projects that have just dropped off the map? Want us to do some digging and see what’s going on? Comment below, or shoot us an email and we’ll start nosing around.
Read more Kickstarter MIA articles right here for more sad crowdfunding tales.