Some Kickstarter campaigns are so infuriating you feel like you have no choice but to scream at the top of your lungs every complaint you have in the hope the creator will hear you. Unfortunately, the 10% of the internet that isn’t comprised of cat videos and porn is mostly angry dudes yelling, which doesn’t always work out. Luckily, we’ve devised an ingenious plan to work around this by making our episode of Clang a Crowdfunding Analysis Time video, or CAT.
Look, I don’t know what that intro was either, but I just woke up despite it being 4 in the afternoon. I had to take my dad to the airport at 3 A.M. then go back when his flight was canceled so I have to do it all over again tomorrow. My internet connection is fluctuating like a thing that fluctuates a lot, and this article is seeming like a worse idea the more I write it.
Anything to have to write another word about Neal Stephenson’s Clang.
Yes, back when crowdfunding was first starting to gain traction in the gaming community, international best-selling author Neal Stephenson decided he needed to get a piece of that. Sorry, realize his dream of creating the first good sword-fighting game as he would phrase it. You can see where my cynicism comes from when you realize how much of this Kickstarter was dedicated to advertising.
Indeed, the whole Kickstarter page reads like one big ad. There are links to the short stories that fill out the “lore” of Clang that were exclusively published by Amazon and 47 North. More egregious however are the constant paragraphs and updates dedicated to talking about the Razer Hydra and Sixense technology, which you can be forgiven for thinking Stephenson formed some kind of religion around.
The Razer Hydra is a motion controller for the PC, which means Clang was being built entirely around motion control. The team at Stephenson’s company, Subatai, made it perfectly clear that they were going to ignore the Kinect, Move, and Wii in favor of this controller that nobody owned.
“[…] we are big fans of the Sixense technology as embodied in the Razer Hydra controller. The engineering team at Sixense has found a way to make an extremely high-resolution, low-latency controller by making ingenious use of simple and inexpensive components.”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Hydra is featured in some of the update videos (more so than actual gameplay in some cases) and there are no less than four updates throughout the years letting backers know when the Hydra is on sale, and that the founder of Razer will back the campaign if a certain amount of people like and favorite that update announcement.
But that’s not all. Watch the latest episode of Clang to see a man who’s at once condescending, ignorant, and incompetent. Someone who’s willing to “take the blame” for this Kickstarter failure while simultaneously blaming everyone else, from game publishers going out of business, to Kickstarter’s “hidden catch” which is actually the entire point of Kickstarter, to the backers for not understanding what they were backing.
If you’re a fan of Stephenson then you might not be after watching this video.