Kickstarter reserves the right to cancel – or “suspend” as their graciously call it – any campaign they deem as not adhering to the rules. Kickstarter is lax with these rules, taking action in only the most extreme of cases.
When a campaign is suspended its funding is permanently halted. If we take the word of those who have had their project suspended, Kickstarter gives little to no warning that your campaign is at risk. They don’t tell creators why their campaigns were suspended, nor do they communicate with them after the fact. In the most extreme cases like Plane Simulator 2001 and Should I Bother With this Game, the titles give you a good idea on why Kickstarter took action. But with Kickstarters like Flat Kingdom and Chumba World, it’s a lot less apparent.
All this murkiness is because Kickstarter doesn’t publicly disclose why they suspend the projects they do. Suspended campaigns get nothing more than a banner atop it’s page that states the campaign has been suspended with nary a “thank you, have a good day” in site. What makes matters worse is that Kickstarter doesn’t curate projects before they go live, something the company is for some reason proud of, stating:
“We never curate projects. It doesn’t matter if we don’t think a project will succeed, or if someone on the Kickstarter staff doesn’t like it. We would never reject a polka album just because we don’t like polka. (Note: We have no strong opinion on polka.) If you heard Kickstarter screens projects, that just refers to the quick check we do to make sure each project meets our rules before it launches.”
It sounds good, until you look over the suspended campaigns and see they don’t do a timely job of doing those checks. Multiple Kickstarters that ended up getting suspended met their fates mere days or even hours before the funding deadline. In these cases, some detective work must be done by the community, lest the developer is a scammer and comes back with another campaign later that Kickstarter misses.
We took it upon ourselves to inform you of every single videogame related Kickstarter that’s been suspended, and do our best to tell you why. We’ve reached out to Kickstarter as well, and asked them about some of these suspensions.
MYTHIC: The Story of Gods and Men – Little Monster Productions
Suspended April 28, 2012
We’re kicking things off with a somewhat farcical one. Little Monster Productions is a company that didn’t (and still doesn’t) exist outside this Kickstarter page. Somehow, a backer named Mark Something discovered that the campaign was using stolen artwork from DeviantArt, mostly from a user named Genzoman. His drawings of Anubis and Ra were taken, given some kind of weird brown filter, and passed off as concept art for the game.
Another link by Mark purports to be screenshots of Little Monster’s “office,” photos he found on the now defunct Facebook page for the “developer.” He says the photos were also stolen, this time from a place called Burton Design Group. Funny enough, the link now leads to a Japanese bra site. At least, I think that’s what it is. I’m too afraid to run it through Google Translate.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this situation is when Little Monsters claimed they haven’t received any copyright claims, so it must be fine. They also declared “the game itself is well in progress and is NOT a scam of any kind.”
Later that same day, Kickstarter shut them down.
BattleHeroes – DM Games or Toonuva Games
Suspended June 19, 2012
“Sweet,” commented Salvatore Latona. “My donatin [sic] brought it up to $666.00! It is an Omen!”
Little did Latona know how right they’d be.
The page for BattleHeroes is a low key and un-assuming one. It’s well laid out with a lot of pictures and tidbits about the game. It’s a hack and slash game where you play as the hero, and you have to defeat some evil demon from hell. The trailer isn’t great, only a video of the art assets on a red background and some generic music.
This makes the fact BattleHeroes somehow raising $9,662 with 17 backers somewhat odd. That’s an average of over $568 per backer, for a game that’s somewhat generic in how it’s presented. This is the first campaign backed for 13 of the 19 backers, a high ratio for these early days of the site. It doesn’t help that the developer called themselves DM Games in their description, but Toonuva Games in the trailer.
8 of those 17 backers are in the same city, Burlington, Virginia, as the developer. Also all 10 of the campaigns Toonuva backed are in or near Burlington. That’s not a crime or anything, only something worth pointing out. Maybe they’ve got a lot of creative friends in the area, and friends willing to help.
The Call of Arms – Brent Junker
Suspended August 23, 2012
Apart from the fedora and the obvious fact this is a terribly put together campaign, The Call of Arms used stolen assets in their pitch video. What were the stolen assets? The entire game.
In the initial pitch, nothing is shown of the game except for some generic assets and a few paragraphs of empty text. The first update though shows gameplay footage that’s clearly from a game called RaiderZ. It was discovered by a backer named Real, who posted the original game in the comment section.
Junker posted what he called “proof” that it was his game, but the videos have since been deleted from Youtube. The Call of Arms was shut down not long after Real posted gameplay footage of RaiderZ, showing it to be the exact same game.
Chumba World – Virtual Gaming Worlds
Suspended February 8, 2013
Chumba World looks like an interesting game. However, it does break Kickstarter’s rules in a pretty big way. It’s a game that’s all about building, running, and playing in casinos. The initial Kickstarter pages seem to have pushed the casino elements pretty heavily, however, anything related to gambling isn’t allowed on Kickstarter.
Creator and developer Virtual Worlds Gaming CEO Laurence Escalante told VentureBeat that Kickstarter reviewed the project several times before allowing it to go live. However, after four days, they decided to remove it due to its gambling themes. Escalante tried to tone down the gambling elements, promising that it would only use fake currency, but Kickstarter was having none of it.
Chumba World eventually became Chumba Casino and is now widely available to play online.
GMOD – Olympus Games
Suspended May 10, 2013
GMOD sounds a bit like Garry’s Mod, doesn’t it? Well, that’s why it was taken down. Also the developers were lying a bit.
Developer Olympus Games claims they don’t know why the Kickstarter was suspended, stating they think it was because of some “Lifetime Membership” reward tier. They say that those kind of rewards aren’t allowed by Kickstarter.
However, Valve has a different story. Ten days before they made those comments, VG24/7 ran a story about Valve and the creator of Garry’s Mod saying the name was too similar. As a result, Valve had the Kickstarter taken down. And, as random internet users so often do, the GMOD developers wildly escalated things. They threatened to sue Valve over the name, to which Valve said they’d happily defend themselves in course.
Remember this was ten days before Olympus Games made the “Lifetime Membership” statement.
It’s kind of amazing how quickly this escalated. There have been document cases in the past in which Kickstarter has used another option when dealing with IP disputes. Sometimes, Kickstarter will temporarily hide a campaign from public view for 30 days. The creator will have that long to remove any instance of the name from the campaign, and continue without losing any time on the campaign. This is exactly what happened to the card-game Steamcraft, which had the same name as an RPG that was previously on Kickstarter. The guy behind the card-game changed its name to Brass Empire, and he was allowed to continue.
For whatever reason, possibly because Valve hasn’t used Kickstarter before, that didn’t happen here.
Virtual Laser League – Clockwork Game Studios
Suspended May 16, 2013
It’s easy to look at Virtual Laser League’s Kickstarter and assume it’s a scam. The project has only 16 backers, yet over $23,000 pledged toward it. All seven of the comments come from the creator, thanking random people for their “generous” donations. Three backers come from Cleveland, and three more come from a place called Chagrin Falls, both close to Macedonia, Ohio where Clockwork Game Studios is based.
The developer, Taylor Radigan, then created two more Kickstarters later under his wife’s name, who claims to live in Cleveland, where three of the previous donations came from. Despite raising that much money on the first campaign, and the third campaign getting featured on Destructoid, the other two raised $15,000 in total.
The Quest: Rise of Emodo – Complete Earth LLC
Suspended June 13, 2013
Complete Earth has made three different comments stating they have no idea why their campaign was suspended. They promise they ran an “informative and honest campaign” and will continue work on their game. The Quest was less than $5,000 away from its goal with days to go when it got the hammer.
It’s hard to say what happened, but if I had to guess, it’d be the fact that 178 backers pledged a whopping $31,224. That’s around $175 per backer. This is also the first project 100 different users backed. That’s an awful lot for a Kickstarter that doesn’t present any gameplay, and has a pitch video with generic stock photos and music. To give that some context, the average backer of Shenmue 3 (which raised over $6.3 million and has been anticipated for years) donated $91.
In their quest to prove their innocence, developer Complete Earth have been up to something interesting. They’ve created a business called Earth Sparks, a “next generation” crowdfunding platform which will launch sometime this year, and will feature Rise of Emodo as its first campaign. Good luck with that.
Areal – West Games
Suspended July 22, 2014
The Areal Kickstarter is still rooted in mystery and controversy to this day. Launched on June 24, 2014, billed as a spiritual successor to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Areal seemed to be in good hands. Several people from GSC Game World, developers of the acronym simulator, came together under Eugene Kim and formed West Games, who were developing Areal. That was the claim at the time at least.
However, several former employees at GSC Game World stated otherwise. At the time they claimed those at West Games never worked at GSC or developed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Later, they clarified that West Games was working on an ill-fated online Flash version of the game which would have been released between development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2, which also never released.
Technically West Games were right, they worked on S.T.A.L.K.E.R, they just didn’t clarify it was an online flash version. Because of this, West Games was ready to defend themselves in court, hiring lawyers and attacking any website that wrote ill of them, calling sites like Forbes and VG247 “unprofessional” and “biased.”
The bigger problem, depending on how you look at it, was that West Games were using concept art and footage from S.T.A.L.K.E.R to sell Areal, and calling it their own work.
I’d be remiss to not disclose Cliqist’s own semi-involvement in this affair. Ahmad Khan, a sort of Kickstarter Detective, was instrumental in bringing this to light, speaking to the developers in the comments and finding information about Eugene Kim. After exposing Kim, Khan wrote for Cliqist from 2014 to 2015.
Bottles Night Out – Jackmove Games
Suspended August 6, 2013
On the surface, Bottles Night Out looks solid, and there are no immediate signs of wrong-doing. Bottles Night Out is a videogame drinking game, which is the only reason I can think this one got suspended. 35 backers pledged an average of $59, which might be a tad high but not too stunning. There are no stolen assets, and there are no offensive images.
However, a quick Goolge search for Jackmove Games reveals a stunning secret. The company is not located in Austin, Texas like their profile claims. In reality, they’re based in Omaha, Nebraska. If you check the community tab on the profile page, you’ll notice that of the 19 backers, each come from different cities. The other 16? They’re all from Omaha, Nebraska too.
You could make the case that these are friends and relatives of the developer, however that doesn’t explain why Jackmove lied about their location.
Jackmove Games migrated to Indiegogo, where apparently only four people were willing to donate $605. According to their Facebook page, the app launched in March 2014, somehow having enough money to be released months after it’s Kickstarter was canceled.
The Black Hound AKA Seymour Butts – Einherjar Productions
Suspended August 13, 2013
Where do I even begin with Seymour Butts? It’s something that can only be described as what happens when you take away an angry, immature teenager’s fireworks and give him a megaphone to tell everyone how angry he is.
It came to Kickstarter as a visual novel called the Black Hound, created by a web comic creator. When it became obvious The Black Hound wasn’t going to get any more than a measly $86, creator Einherjar Productions turned the campaign page into a rambling mess of homophobia, sexism, racism, jealousy, and general mouth-frothing insanity you can only find on the internet.
The crux of this “argument” is that no one supported his game because it wasn’t feminist or LGBT friendly enough like other successful visual novel Kickstarters. That has to be the only reason anyone supported those other games, because the art is so terrible. Einherjar then says it was all a scam from the beginning, somewhat undermining his own point, in some Sam Pepper-esque “social experiment.”
This is definitely getting its own article on Cliqist soon. Until then, I’ll leave you with Seymour Butt’s parting lines.
“So with those two you got the G and T out of LGBT. Looks like I’ve just found the real ticket to success. I won’t just go back in time and make a webcomic, it’ll be for lesbians and bisexuals. Come 2013 I’ll run a Kickstarter for a visual novel. Maybe I’ll throw in some feminist stuff for appeal. I look forward to my Scrooge McDuck money pool and being able to pay Bill Gates to shine my shoes.”
Elementary, My Dear Holmes – Sam Chandola
Suspended September 6, 2013
According to the comment section of Elementary, My Dear Holmes, creator Sam Chandola created several fake accounts to back the project himself. Sam Chandola claims that several friends and family members backed it, and offered an interesting rebuttal.
“While it’s true that a lot of our family and friends chipped in, I am by no means discounting the allegations brought up here. […] If those pledges are removed and it brings us below the goal and we don’t make it, then so be it and that is fair and square. We did spend money marketing and promoting this project and it will be a very bad hit for us, but we want as little to do with all of this as anyone else.”
That was the last comment or update he ever gave on the project before it was suspended.
Chandola later gave another statement to Polygon, stating he personally contacted Kickstarter about the suspicious accounts. He was hoping those accounts would be suspended, but instead, it was his campaign that got the axe.
Realms of Goldesia – Aarianna Publishing
Suspended October 17, 2013
Several commenters suggest that a user in the comments used a fake profile to defend the game and the creator from criticism. There isn’t a rule against this on Kickstarter, but those fake profiles could have also been used to fund the Realms of Goldesia. There’s no real proof of these fake accounts belonging to the developer however.
A post from someone who claims to have worked with Aarianna Publishing on Realms of Goldesia claims that the company sent out a ton of spam emails to backers and other random people. However this isn’t against Kickstarter’s rules either, as long as the emails didn’t demand more money or sell any prohibited items. They did however say that the company listened to marketers too much, which ties in with what the developer says in the comment section. They say they’re “reworking” the Kickstarter after listening to marketers too much, and not focusing on making the campaign about the game, or something.
One of the big selling points of Realms of Goldesia is that it’ll support the Oculus Rift. The developer also claims they have 75 Oculus development kits that will be used in development. But Palmer Luckey, the inventor of the Oculus, wrote on Reddit disavowing the claims. He also stated no one within Aarianna had any knowledge of Oculus Rift’s shipping deadlines or insider information.
Another backer under the name Joseph Perez claims that he and all the other backers received an email from Kickstarter, something I haven’t come across at all in doing research for this article. He claims Kickstarter states the reason for this project getting shut down had nothing to do with the Oculus Rift claim, but because “characteristics of the creator’s account overlap with the characteristics of backer accounts that pledged to the project.”
It’s hard to say how much of all these claims are true, and how many are fabrications. This one may warrant its own article, but it’s clear something bad was going on behind the scenes.
Block Battlefield – Jordan Lee Jones
Suspended February 4, 2014
Block Battlefield allegedly uses assets from the Unity stock store. It’s hard to say if they were purchased or pirated, but that’s the likely reason why it was suspended. If not that, it could be because of the total lack of information about the game. There’s a grand total of two lines dedicated to talking about what the game is supposed to be, and the Risks and Challenges section is a classic example of how not to write such a section.
NEW GAME “FEARLESS” COMING SOON !! AKA Project Christine – Rodricus Ware
Suspended May 23, 2014
This might be the most embarrassing case of a “developer” getting caught red handed yet. Project Christine started as a game called Fearless, a somewhat generic military action game set in the future. However, commenters including Juan Rubio and 3KOF quickly discovered that this “game” being pitched was an indie movie that Mr. Rodricus Ware was trying pitch as his game.
Ware tried to silence criticism by threatening to report the commenters, but they were having none of it. Then, and this is where it gets funny, Rodricus not only removed the stolen material, he completely changed the Kickstarter from the ground up.
Removing any mention of “Fearless,” he converted his Kickstarter into Project Christine, a campaign designed to raise money to create a compartmentalized gaming PC. Everything in this version was stolen as well, this time from Razer. Unfortunately for Rodricus, he couldn’t do anything about the comment section, or the URL that still referred to the project with the original, ridiculous title.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Kickstarter to swoop in and shut the whole thing down.
Plane Simulator 2001 – Josh Arnold
Suspended July 15, 2014
This one speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Created for the sole purpose of causing offense, any amount of attention given to Plane Simulator 2001 will give “Josh Arnold” exactly what he wants. I’m going out on a limb here and I’m going to say this one was canceled for being offensive, and also not real to begin with.
This person dared to return to Kickstarter a month later with a real go at it. Good Game – The E-Sports Bar failed after a month of funding, getting absolutely nothing. A fitting punishment.
Knuckle Club – Kilobite
Suspended July 31, 2014
This one is another amazing story that deserves its own article. To make a long story short, the developer, Maksym Pashanin, was illegally squatting in an Airbnb. He was allegedly involved in illegal online gambling and already successfully ran one scam Kickstarter, Confederate Express.
All kinds of detective work was going on in the comment section, including tracking Maksym and his brother, Denys, across the globe Carmen Sandiego style. The two have since pretty much disappeared, and needless to say no one ever saw Knuckle Club or Confederate Express come to fruition. Once again, a lot of this detective work was done by Ahmad Khan, who would go on to write for us at Cliqist.
As for the project itself, it looks legit. The screenshots and video seem to be genuine, unique assets made by Pashanin, just like with Confederate Express. You could almost argue Pashanin deserved a second chance. The game looked real, there were no stolen assets, the Airbnb thing happened outside of Kickstarter and game development entirely, and Confederate Express might have been a genuine failed attempt.
You can’t make that argument when you see the list of developers at Kilobite though. The studio is supposedly made up of several people: Stacey Dillon, Marc Wilson, Kate Burke, and others that have either never worked for Kilobite or don’t even exist. That dog probably isn’t real either.
My Friend Jeff – Perth Lang
Suspended August 20, 2014
Jeff, the friend of some people, tragically lost his DOTA 2 account to some hackers. They took everything, losing hundreds of real life dollars of inventory items. His friends decided to do what they could to help by starting a Kickstarter campaign.
Posting grainy, blurry photos of Jeff wearing a hat and promising amazing rewards like being Jeff’s friend on Steam, Friends of Jeff thought they’d easily meet their $100 goal. But Jeff will never get justice or his time back. Kickstarter shut it down due to it being a “charity.” RIP, Jeff’s DOTA 2 stuff.
Buy Me a Capital Pilot – Matt Smith
Suspended August 21, 2014
When people joke or complain about Kickstarter being “hipster welfare,” this is the kind of stuff they’re talking about. It’s some random dude who went on Kickstarter expecting people to buy him some in-game asset in EVE Online. Maybe it’s a joke, but who can say?
Yes, some guy really wanted $500 to buy some capital pilot in EVE Online. It’s as unbelievable as the fact that someone donated $5.
Operation Bioshield AKA Dayz GoonsPlayground Epoch Server – Chanty
Suspended September 18, 2014
For whatever reason, this campaign was once titled Operation Bioshield, yet changed its name shortly after launch to Dayz GoonsPlayground Epoch Server. You can find someone advertising the server on Steam days before the Kickstarter under the same name, so the name change is strange.
What hurt Bioshield was a lack of information. There’s only a short paragraph detailing the server, something about admins, and that you’ll get to make friends. There’s nothing about what the £300 goal is for.
The reward tiers also offer some kind of store credit for a “donator store,” listing how much each donation tier is worth in the store. It’s hard to tell exactly what this means since the website is now down, but offering financial incentives is against Kickstarter’s rules.
Lost Homeland – Gabriel Baquerizo Jimenez
Suspended October 15, 2014
There’s no obvious reason why Lost Homeland was suspended. It’s possible that the developer was using stolen assets, they look pretty generic, but I can’t tell. Even then, the developer completely disappeared after it was suspended, the developer didn’t leave any updates or comments about it, and the Steam Greenlight page is completely devoid of information as well.
In conducting research, I came across a graph created by an Infinitap Games forum user named LobsterSundrew. This graph is made up of charts taken from Kicktraq, but also another unnamed source. It shows a huge number of backers on September 30, days after the campaign started. Its suspicious in so much as Lost Homeland had relatively few backers before (and after) that date, and the number of first time Kickstarter users is pretty high.
On the other hand, the actual amount of money earned from that day isn’t much, and the campaign was still well short of its goal anyway. The developer has seemingly vanished, having last posted on their Facebook page last October about a completely different game. Their website is also down, and just like MYTHIC, it’s been replaced by a weird Japanese massage website.
Flat Kingdom – Fat Panda Studios
Suspended December 1, 2014
This is another Kickstarter that looks good on the surface. It was close to its goal, and everything seemed to be going fine up until it’s suspension.
There’s a comment by a backer that points to what happened, which is a link on the developers blog allegedly stating why the project was shut down. However, the blog post has since been deleted.
After some digging, I was able to find a Spanish website talking about the Flat Kingdom. According to this site, the man behind Fat Panda Studios, Gerardo Garcia, used his own money to fund the campaign. The blog post was supposedly him admitting to this, which is why the commenter who shared the link said “I’m glad they recognized their mistake.”
However, the company isn’t as noble as you might think. They removed that blog post before launching an Indiegogo and renaming the game to Flatman. This time, Garcia dropped the Fat Panda name completely, and was asking for twice the money. But this fooled no one and the campaign walked away with only $2,351. (Ed: As pointed out in the comments, the Indiegogo campaign was actually run before the Kickstarter campaign. Apologies for the error on our part.)
Chemo Blaster AKA ReMission – Justin Mason
Suspended Sometime Between Jan 16 and Feb 15
Chemo Blaster, or ReMission as the artwork calls it, was not only suspended, but it was taken off Kickstarter completely. It’s currently the subject of a copyright dispute, and you can’t even view the page. The only thing you can find about the game other than its thumbnail image is the brief description.
“This game will be designed to blast all bad cells in the body saving good cells by completing different levels through gameplay.”
If you do a reverse image search though, you’ll find a game called ReMission 2, featuring the same artwork and the same general idea. It was made by a charity organization called HopeLab and as the title suggests, it’s a game about fighting cancer. It’s intended for kids and young adults and is available for free online, but aimed at cancer patients. It was developed by doctors, game developers, and even young cancer patients.
According to Justin Mason’s profile, he was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 11 years old, which is why he wanted to make this game. But he’s not listed as working with HopeLab and it doesn’t seem like he ever has.
I emailed HopeLab for clarification, but got no response.
Gaming for Life – Branden Ritchey
Suspended January 13, 2015
Gaming for Life is a campaign by Branden Ritchey hoping to collect some money for… something. He doesn’t actually say. There’s something about how he has a Youtube channel and he wants to go back to school. There’s nothing being offered, nothing being developed, nothing.
The rewards are a joke, including a thank you email, a Skype call, he’ll add you to his friend list, and the $1,000 reward is that he’ll send you a random T-shirt and he’ll drive to your house and high-five you.
This isn’t a Kickstarter, it’s a badly run Patreon for a bland Youtube channel.
Help NOGAMES get good at DOTA 2 – NOGAMES
Suspended January 23, 2015
This project is exactly what you’d expect given its name. Two guys want to raise money under the pretense of making themselves better at DOTA 2. Given the heavy use of DOTA 2 and general online multiplayer lingo on offer, I’m not sure if these guys are serious, or if it an attempt at a joke.
As per Kickstarter’s rules about projects having to create something to sell and give to backers, this project was shut down quickly, as far as Kickstarter’s standards anyway.
Bring Back BC! – Markus Bates
Suspended March 6, 2015
Bring Back BC! is what happens when someone gets Change.org confused with Kickstarter. In a long, rambling wall of text, creator Markus Bates goes into intricate detail about both pre-historic dinosaurs and Lionhead’s canceled game BC.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Peter Molyneux once was in charge of Lionhead Studios, where he made the Fable series. One of their games, right after the first Fable, was a game called BC. It was to be a game about dinosaurs and cavemen that sounded a lot like Sony’s new game Horizon Zero Dawn come to think of it. Needless to say fans were excited, but like with any other Molyneux project, the scope go so far out of hand it was fast becoming a money sink and had to be scrapped.
“The point of this Project,” Bates assures us, “is to raise enough money; in order to raise enough eyebrows, particularly eyebrows at Lionhead Studios/Microsoft. So that they can see there is a demand for this awesome ambitious game to be finished.” You can put one big [sic] on that whole quote. Point is, it was clearly a scam, and I truly hope you don’t need me to explain how.
Help us play Mario Party on the Gamecube! – Seth Penn
Suspended March 9, 2015
The title says it all: some guy and his friends are asking for money so he can buy Mario Party 7 on eBay. Penn goes into detail about how some eBay’s can be scams and how intense bidding can be. He and his friends are trying very hard to be funny with pictures of themselves staring into the sunset, and subtitles contemplating the meaning of life. That’s really all there is to say about it.
Should I Bother With this Game? – Leroy S. Jenkins
Suspended April 10, 2015
This is what happens when crowdfunding platforms don’t have any kind of pre-screening or curation.
Should I Bother With this Game’s Kickstarter campaign appears to be somebody’s attempt at satire, but the sheer tone deafness of it makes it border on self-parody. The creator, whose name I won’t justify by using, says there are too many terrible games on Steam and anything can get on Valve’s store these days. To capitalize on this fact, the creator is saying he’s going to bash together a game using $1,000 from Kickstarter and sell it. You see what I was getting at earlier?
Arkham Knight for steam – Breeze Dorling
Suspended April 20, 2015
You might have guessed this Kickstarter was going to be a dig at WB Games and Rocksteady for making Arkham Knight on Steam so broken and un-playble. But it’s not even that… is clever the right word? No. It’s not even that… that. It is just some guy asking you to buy him the game. If nothing else, this might be the most quotable campaign on the list yet.
“No I do not own a Xbox One nor do I plan 2 get 1 cuz I do not need 1 or can affod 1 due 2 it big so expensive. I`ll be sticking with my 360 thank you.”
“here’s the rub….I really want this game for steam but I’m broke. My cousin put $35 in my steam wallet (he owed me) to buy the game but i owed somebody so i have $22.54 left in my account.”
“i assure you Iam honest and fair”
Omni Point Online AKA TBA – 7DE Studios
Suspended April 22, 2015
Omni Point was once a Kickstarter for an MMO. The still active IndieDB page describes it as some kind of online version of No Man’s Sky. It was supposed to feature massive worlds allowing the player to travel anywhere at any time with space exploration and combat. It looked pretty ambitious for the funding goal they were seeking.
You’ll have to look it up on IndieDB because the Kickstarter page has been totally scrapped, renamed to TBA, and given a pitch video that contains the letters TBA sitting in a river. Every bit of information about the game from written details to screenshots have been removed, and only two sentences remain.
“Details about our project will be given to those who contribute to the backing of our project. […] Their is no risk, if we reach our goal all details about our project will be given to backers.”
There are no comments and only one update. Omni Point was up for 13 days before being suspended. According to Kicktraq, all $101 donated to the project game on 4/20 (no I’m not kidding), yet the developers posted an update after three days stating “We’re getting there little by little.”
It’s easy to assume that 7DE Studios got angry at the fact no one was donating to their Kickstarter, so they pulled a less dramatic version of Seymour Butts. But I have to wonder if this is another Project Christine situation where the creator suddenly changed everything either to hide something or as a prank all along.
Starting up a gaming channel – Mittenz
Suspended April 22, 2015
Starting up a gaming channel is so bad I can’t tell if it’s a troll or not. There’s almost no information, yet there’s still a massive wall of rambling text in broken English. The rewards are total garbage. $5 is simply labeled as “Wow that’s a gold name for you” and the $10 pledge is the same, but with platinum instead of gold. And no, there is no explanation for what that’s supposed to mean.
There are no videos, and the only image is a generic thumbnail with a bunch of console’s logos. There’s no way to get any idea how good or interesting these guys are, and no indication of what kinds of games they’re going to be playing or what kind of videos they’ll be making. Here’s my tip: if you want to see good gaming videos, look no farther than Cliqist’s Youtube channel. Not that I know those guys, I’m not affiliated with them in any way, just saying.
Help me get bloodborne collectors editon! Please 😀 – Blake Marriott
Suspended April 27, 2015
This was a busy week for Kickstarter, wasn’t it?
Blake Marriot is another in a long line of trolls who were hoping backers on Kickstarter would buy a game for him. At least he makes it interesting, unlike Matt Smith’s Buy Me a Capital Pilot campaign.
“My name is Blake Marriott, and I have a dream and a vision, I am an up and coming game developer, and for a future project I need to get my hands on as many video games as possible, however unfortunately at the moment I can’t afford the one I’m looking forward to most :(“
He’s got a dream AND a vision, he’s up AND he’s coming.
“If you are willing to stand with me against the tyranny of the continuously raising prices of video games, and march on corporate companies who don’t care about us little people anymore then take up arms with me my brothers and sisters! And together we can take back the mountain! Ahh crap…”
If you are willing to stand with me against the tyranny of trolls launching crappy Kickstarter campaigns, and march on crowdfunding corporations that don’t care about us little people anymore then take up pens my brothers and sisters! And together we can write angry emails! With pens, apparently. Ahh crap…
Waste Your Money On Kickstarter: The Game, The Kickstarter – James Bellend
Suspended May 11, 2015
As you can imagine, this is another case of trolling. It’s Seymour Butts all over again, but not as offensive or unintentionally hilarious. I’d call this a tragic story of someone who backed a campaign that either failed or turned out to be a scam, but James Bellard only backed one project, a project that launched two days before his own.
It’s impossible to say what kind of point Bellard is trying to make, but it fails as both satire and a silly joke because it’s so uninteresting.
James did comment on the suspension, both acting shocked and not at all surprised.
“It seems that potatoes salad and no phone are fine, but… I guess I took the joking farther they allowed. We’re canceled.
Little do they know that they’ve played right into my hand. Thanks to them, my kickstarter has succeeded in its goal of failing.”
I’m almost impressed by his smugness.
Playstation Trophy Guinessrekord – Alex
Suspended May 15, 2015
Playstation Trophy Guinessrekord is written entirely in German. Even still, it’s obvious what this Kickstarter is about. Some guy wanted to get the Guinness World Record for most Xbox achievements but couldn’t, so now he wants to get the record for most Playstation trophies. For this, he needs to buy “every game on the market” and extra hardware to play some of them, which will cost nearly $35,000.
Magic’s stream dream fund – Spencer Prichard
Suspended April 20, 2015
You know the deal by now. Some guy – Spencer Prichard in this case – says he wants to start live streaming game, dumps a wall of text in the description without actually saying anything about his plans or what he needs, throws up a single generic imagine, asks for a ludicrous amount of money, and calls it a day.
This time around though the story is spiced up by what is likely a make believe story about Mr. Prichard asking his girlfriend to marry him and needing money to fly up to live with her and rent an apartment.
Giv me muny 4 teh drugs – Iblockdoors
Suspended June 9, 2015
Despite the interesting name, this is the same thing as Magic’s stream dream fund, complete with its own fascinating story. This time around the wannabe Youtuber/Streamer, Iblockdoors, says he wants to use the money so he can “blow Charlie Sheen levels of coke off of a strippers tits, while simultaneously getting head from another,” and other charming activities you can probably read about in bad Two and a Half Men fanfiction.
Perhaps the funniest thing is that Iblockdoors put a legal disclaimer at the end stating that he isn’t going to do all that stuff so anyone who does donate “won’t be held liable under law for any sort of crime.” The final cherry on top is the very next sentence saying he’s likely to end up in court anyway.
At least with this rambling fecal stain you can see what point the creator is trying to make. He has it out for people who play videogames professionally on Youtube and Twitch. Yeah, he’s one of those kinds of people who doesn’t understand that people will pay for things they like. Crazy world, huh?
One last quest! Celebrating accomplishment! – Miranda J. Anzaldi
Suspended June 12, 2015
This one’s a kind of touching story if true. Two brothers grew up changing foster homes 6 times, and one brother wants to buy the other a nice graduation gift in the form of Final Fantasy XHD Collection for the Vita. What a touching, sad story…
Until you look at the creator Miranda Anzaldi’s Kickstarter history and see this was the second Kickstarter, created two weeks after her previous failed. That one was to create piano covers of Final Fantasy songs. After One last quest was suspended, she created another three months later for a bee sanctuary. No, I’m not kidding.
Maybe this is real, and if so, that’s terrible. It’s a shame the world is such a terrible place, but this kinda thing isn’t what Kickstarter is for. Kickstarter doesn’t allow charity campaigns. Even if they did, there’s nothing on the page except another wall of text and a stolen image from Final Fantasy X.
Panzer Dragoon Gaiden – Panzer Dragoon Prodigy
Suspend September 2, 2015
Panzer Dragoon Gaiden is a fan game based off the original Panzer Dragoon games. As you can imagine, Kickstarter doesn’t take kindly to anyone putting up unapproved fan games. You may remember a few years ago Hive Division were days away from Kickstarter their Metal Gear fan show until Konami reversed course last minute and forced them to shut it down. Same thing happened here, although its likely Kickstarter shut it down before Sega ever got a chance to threaten them with a lawsuit.
Also, there are only two images, both of which taken from the original Panzer Dragoon game with this game’s logo crudely plastered onto them. Resident fashion model and Cliqist editor-in-chief Greg Micek wrote about Panzer Dragon Gaiden when it first came out, pointing out all the (many) flaws. I’m a little more willing to call it a scam though, considering this thing doesn’t show up anywhere on the internet outside this failed Kickstarter.
Brett’s Battle for What Could Be – Xbox One Could be Mine – Brett Lubansky
Suspended September 3, 2015
This one isn’t even a fraction as interesting as the title sounds. It’s just some guy, and his dog apparently, asking for you to buy him an Xbox One and Madden. The guy is trying to pass himself off as some heroic martyr:
“Each year it gets harder and harder to shell out the money for the new game, but I’ve continued to faithfully do it. I’ve now come to the realization that EA Sports has taken my faithfulness, and tried to take advantage of my loyalty, by giving me a watered down version of the game to force my hand to buy an xbox one.”
You know the drill: is this a joke or some attempt at making a point, guy wants us to buy him a console and a game for free, Kickstarter needs to curate it’s projects, etc.
Classic Sonic Sega Genisis on EXE – Carlos Sandoval
Suspended September 23, 2015
This is the same case as Panzer Dragoon Gaiden, except this time it was Sega themselves who had it taken down. The page has been completely removed, replaced only with a notification stating the project is “the subject of an intellectual property dispute.” As a result, Kickstarter fully pulled the plug on behalf of Sega. Maybe Carlos Sandoval thought misspelling ‘Genesis’ would save him.
New Era: The Legend – Ryan Meng
Suspended September 25, 2015
New Era: The Legend has a great, enticing opening line. “I know that most people (like myself) don’t like to read that much stuff, it’s game it supposed to be fun, so I’ll do my best try to make this as easy as possible.” How could you not support a game like that? I can write whatever I want here because I know none of you don’t like to read that much stuff after all.
But if you do like to read, you might like to know New Era was suspended because it features stolen footage and images from a Chinese game called either The Royal Dragon or Dragon in the Day depending on the translation.
This is also “developer” Ryan Meng’s second attempt at this very same Kickstarter. The first was created over a week earlier, and canceled eight days later before being relaunched. This was likely in an attempt to get New Era back at the top of the “new campaigns” tab and drum up more interest, since the first didn’t get a single backer. Meng does mention this, saying:
“It’s kind of hard to let people back your project, we made a mistake last time, the rewards was not enough compare to what you pay, we trying to make it right this time”
Thanks for clearing that one up.
Forest Heart – Pedro
Suspended September 28, 2015
Forest Heart is the culmination of every terrible thing I’ve written about so far. There are no signs that point to why the campaign was suspended, and since Kickstarter won’t tell anyone, we might never know. The developer, for their part, has scrubbed any and all mention of the Kickstarter from their various social media accounts, which forces us to ask if they did so because they’re hiding something, they’re embarrassed, or if it was even then to begin with. They haven’t even logged into their profile since one day after the Kickstarter was launched and 16 before it was suspended.
Looking over the campaign itself doesn’t give any clues. There’s almost no information about the game, the reward tiers are ridiculously overpriced, and the trailer is a speed drawing of concept art of a monster. It’s by all means a bad Kickstarter, but there are plenty of bad projects that Kickstarter doesn’t suspend, so why this one?
This might be another generic case of “projects must be […] clearly presented” rule, but it’s impossible to say after all the digging I could do. This one remains a mystery.
Help me explore Fallout 4 versus real Boston, MA. – Ben Winslow
Suspended November 17, 2015
Ben Winslow wants your money to take a vacation to Boston (despite the fact he already lives there) and compare what it looks like to the ruins of Fallout 4.
That sounds like a great idea, minus the vacation part. He could write an article or maybe a novella travelogue about all the great places in the city, take photos of locations and compare them with screenshots in game, maybe even talk to Bethesda about their experience scouting the town. He could do a video series talking to people on the street and ask them their thoughts on the game version.
Why would this Kickstarter get suspended? Other than Fallout 4 being awful of course.
Because the travel thing is just a façade. All this is is a random guy asking for money to buy himself a PC so he can play the game. Winslow says he wants to make a video exploring the differences but needs to upgrade his computer so he can run the game and capture footage. There’s no information beyond that. There’s nothing about the project itself, no list of locations, what the videos will specifically be about, or even what upgrades he plans on making to his computer.
Envelope Licking Simulator – Rees Quinnan
Suspended November 23, 2015
Simulators are the scourge of modern gaming. Any half-baked game can call itself a simulator and be lauded as “comedy,” and there are dearth of examples. Such “quality” can be seen in Baking Simulator, Grass Simulator, Yohjo Simulator, Kitchen Simulator and more. Envelope Licking Simulator’s comedy stylings won’t be making that list.
This is the only game on this list to be suspended twice, somehow, if the title is to be believed. The developer claims he doesn’t know why the campaign was suspended, but it could be another case of “not clearly presenting” the project. There’s only a short paragraph about the idea behind the game, what could be described as the worst hand drawn image ever, and a series of Risks and Challenges written by someone who’s never designed a game before.
Rainbow 6 Siege I Let’s Play Series – Istvan Nyiri
Suspended December 23, 2015
“Hi my name is Istvan. We (my team and me) wanna make a “Gameplay Series” about the new Rainbow 6 game. We wanna show to you how to be a better player \ which tactics are good to use… so basically this will be an entertainment tutorial series.”
That, along with “No risk at all :)” is the entirety of this Kickstarter campaign. There’s also a video that’s some kind of logo or something. There’s nothing that says what the €150 goal is for, who this “team” is and why you need a team for a let’s play series, and no links to the creator’s other let’s play videos.
But don’t worry, Istvan Nyiri managed to make the videos anyway.
Bring your mobile game to life for £1 – The Meraki Entertainment Group
Suspended December 28, 2015
This is the biggest, most obvious scam on this list by a longshot. The point of this Kickstarter is to take people’s money, with only a £1 funding goal.
Anyone who backs can send the creators a game idea. By the end, the developers will set up voting on the ideas for those backers. Whichever idea wins will be turned into a mobile game. Whoever’s idea gets chosen won’t get compensation or credit, nor will they get any input beyond submitting the idea.
Not only is Meraki Entertainment Group taking your money for nothing, they’re also taking your ideas.
“We’ve been the number one role playing game from Jamaica to Argentina, top ten simulation and strategy games from Slovakia to Columbia, and even appeared in the top overall charts in the UK and US. Not too bad, huh?”
On top of not making any sense, those claims are dubious at best. Not one of their games has received any ratings, so it’s hard to believe the claim that they’ve reached the top of the charts.
The company was founded two months before this Kickstarter went live, on October 19, by three people. I couldn’t find anything relating to two of the three, but the third, William Poole, has a long and shady history of mobile game development.
Poole has released several games and apps (some of their images shown on this Kickstarter) including SoundScape, Voice of a Free Man, Wolves of Wall Street, The Lair, and Slender Asylum, which are all near copies of other games and apps. Voice of a Free Man, for example, is Cards Against Humanity, complete with Black/White contrast. The Lair is a Slender Man clone, while Slender Asylum is similar to another mobile game called Slender: The Asylum.
Worst of all, one of the games pictured on their Kickstarter page is for a blackjack game called Blackjack 21, which wasn’t developed by Poole, Meraki Entertainment, or anyone on the team.
I Dream to Stream – Taylor Clark
Suspended January 20, 2016
Taylor Clark dreams not of a dream or sushi, but for a high end PC to run all the latest games and video software. Oh, that’s exactly what all the other streamers on this list wanted?
In case it hasn’t been made clear yet, Kickstarter is not the place to ask people to buy you a new computer. If you want to start streaming games or doing let’s play videos on Youtube, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Going on Kickstarter to ask for a powerful PC with no experience as a streamer or let’s player isn’t the bottom.
Minecraft Server Network – Luke
Suspended January 26, 2016
It’s not easy to discern why Minecraft Server Network was suspended. Most of these campaigns about running servers are equally awful, presenting little to information and sporting a ridiculously high funding goal. At time of writing, TEoF Minecraft Server and The Learner Server: A Beginner’s Minecraft Server are both on Kickstarter with equally as little information and no one at Kickstarter seems to mind.
It’s easy to once again assume that this campaign falls under the “not enough information” assumption that so many on this list share. Frankly, we just can’t find anything about this project, so all we can do is guess.
Vindication: E.G. – Willie J. Cavalier
Suspended February 16, 2016
Every so often you see a Kickstarter that’ poorly run, an ill-fated attempt to raise funds by a young developer in over their head. It pulls at your heartstrings sometimes, or maybe that’s what happens after you write 10,000 words about trolls and scam artists.
Such is the case with Vindication: E.G. It’s a game that shouldn’t even be called a game because the only thing that exists of it is a 3D model of a woman that looks like Haylee Williams from Paramour. Developer Willie Cavalier says he’s still taking classes, which I assume he means some kind of game development or programming classes.
The page has a scant 137 words of text and a single image of Williams. The rewards start at $50 which will get you developer updates, something that every backer should have anyway. Forest Hearts looks like War & Peace next to Vindication.
Vindication: E.G. was suspended four days after the campaign launched, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a lack of data put forth by the expedition and the creator, which runs counter to Kickstarter’s decree. Sorry, I’m trying to find a new way to phrase that sentence.
It’s just as well. Some young developers don’t know when it’s appropriate to take their game public, and when to seek funding. When you only have a single character model and still taking game development classes, chances are it’s a tad early to go the crowdfunding route.
The SomeGuyGaming PC Project – Jordan Burgett
Suspended February 25, 2016
Jordan Burgett lists developing arthritis as the biggest risk to this campaign. Let that set the tone for the rest of this entry.
The SomeGuyGaming channel is… some guy asking for money to buy himself a gaming PC for his Youtube channel. For those keeping track, that’s #54874654 of those so far. Let me reiterate, doing this is against Kickstarter’s rules as best I can tell.
“Projects must create something to share with others – Kickstarter can be used to create all sorts of things: art and gadgets, events and spaces, ideas and experiences. But every project needs a plan for creating something and sharing it with the world. At some point, the creator should be able to say: “It’s finished. Here’s what we created. Enjoy!”
While it’s true the money is for a gaming channel, thus creating videos, the Kickstarter itself is only for raising money for a PC. You create things with a PC, sure, but that’s a “Chicken or the Egg” argument Kickstarter clearly doesn’t want to have.
This project isn’t even intended for the person who created it. Jordan Burgett is not SomeGuyGaming, he’s SGG’s friend who made the campaign for him. While there’s technically no rule listed about that on Kickstarter, the company makes it clear they don’t need to list every rule.
“These rules don’t cover every possible use of Kickstarter, but they explain our purpose and perspective.”
Could you imagine the kind of stuff we’d see if Kickstarter allowed random people to make projects for other people or companies, without those other people involved?
Ultimate Nerd Box Subscription Box – Jason Urban
Suspended March 15, 2016
With Loot Crate and other services that offer boxes of crap being all the rage right now, it makes sense that someone would come to Kickstarter with
the exact same a similar idea.
The very, very obvious problem with Ultimate Nerd Box is that it’s clearly being run by a single dude who doesn’t have the resources to send out thousands or even hundreds of box full of expensive collectables every month. Yes that’s what Kickstarter is for, but $5,325 for a first run of 500 boxes isn’t nearly enough. That’s a little over $10 a box, and even if Mr. Urban found a great deal on cheap collectables, he wouldn’t be able to sell enough to make profit because most of those boxes would end up going to backers.
Also the page is full of memes and MS Paint doodles, which hardly makes it look professional.
This one likely got suspended because it violates Kickstarter’s rules. You can resell pre-existing items on Kickstarter, which is what this or any other subscription box essentially is.
Mujahideen, Us Or Them! – Jamie Aldridge
Suspended March 25, 2016
The only game on this list I had the “pleasure” to write about before, Mujahideen, Us Or Them! is a narrative driven game in which you play as a member of ISIS. Your goal is to infiltrate Europe and recruit and train suicide bombers to attack large cities. It might sound tasteless or even offensive, but it’s a piece of art, and it has every right to exist.
What’s less easy to stand by is the timing. The Kickstarter launched a day after the bombings in Brussels, which ISIS took credit for. With that in mind, you have to take another glance at this campaign. Not much is said what the game will be other than the brief story set up. There are no screenshots or trailers for the game, merely a drawing of a man in front of a city with the game’s logo. The man running the Kickstarter, Jamie Aldridge claims to have 10 years’ experience as a developer, but I was unable to find anything about that online.
Mujahideen, Us Or Them! was suspended either because of the lack of proof that it exists, the discrepancy in Aldridge’s listed experience, or maybe Kickstarter wanted to avoid a controversy.
Minecraft Server Network is the epitome of Kickstarter’s biggest problem. Why this Minecraft server Kickstarter and not the hundreds of others? Why can’t they tell us why these projects were suspended? The people running it clearly didn’t know what they were doing, but how often do we say that to ourselves about other projects and wait for Kickstarter to act, only for them to do nothing? Why doesn’t Kickstarter check the campaigns before they’re allowed to go live? Why does Kickstarter allow the suspended campaigns to remain visible, despite the offensive content some of them have?
These questions can only be answered by Kickstarter, but their long history and refusal to talk to anybody will likely mean we’ll never get any answers. You may remember about 7,000 words ago I mentioned we reached out to Kickstarter, yet I never followed up on it. We contacted Kickstarter support, hoping to ask a few questions about specific campaigns, but also some general questions about the process taken by Kickstarter to suspend them. We received only a two sentence reply:
“We appreciate your interest, but it’s our policy not to comment on any actions taken by our Integrity team. Apologies for any inconvenience that causes.”
The sound of silence echoes not only around Cliqist, but also on Kickstarter itself, in the houses of any potential users of the site, and even around the developers whose projects were suspended – if some of these creators are to be believed.
Plenty of campaigns on this list deserved to be suspended. But it’s only a matter of time before an innocent developer gets their project suspended and they’re left to pick up the pieces of their ruined reputation, if that hasn’t already happened. All because Kickstarter either genuinely confuses themselves with, or has weird aspirations of being, the NSA, employing a degree of silence that makes everyone involved look like shady overlords.