Millionaire Wants Your Million Dollars To Make His First Game

Meet Ellwood "Bunky" Bartlett. He's a practicing Wiccan, a retired accountant, and the winner of Maryland's Mega Millions jackpot, which netted him $US42 million back in 2007.

He also wants your money to help make a game. Using crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Bartlett is asking for $US1.1 million to create Your World, a massively multiplayer online game "built by gamers for gamers funded by gamers."

Described as "all of the good things in Second Life, World of Warcraft, Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic and the like all rolled up into one game," Bartlett's Kickstarter project has been the object of much derision on Twitter today, where some have mocked its lofty goals and error-riddled language. There's no concept art or even much explanation as to how the game will run. It only promises to be "nothing like what is out there."

But if Bartlett is a millionaire, why does he need Kickstarter? I tracked him down to find out.

"A smart investor has partners," Bartlett told me in an e-mail. "I will be investing as well. This also helps me to see if there is actual interest in the type of game I am proposing."

As of this afternoon, Ellwood Bartlett's Kickstarter page had earned $US1 of its $US1.1 million goal.

I asked if he's ever worked in game development before.

"I have not, but I never owned an investment company or a pizza shop before, but I do now," Bartlett said. "I am the idea man. I think it, get other investors, and hire the right people to make it happen. Been playing games since Pong. I know what I like and what others have said they would like. I will hire those needed to make it a reality."

Bartlett is certainly enthusiastic about this project. His ideas might not be fully formulated, but you can feel the passion and excitement in the description on his Kickstarter page:

[N]o this race against that race. We will be a world of cooperation. We will work together to create a place we all will love. We will still be able to battle each other in Olympic type games, but we will not pit one race against another. We will still have outside forces for us to join together to defeat, but we will not be killing each other. You will surrender to your Victor, but not die. Only the outside forces will be able to kill you and do damage to your equipment.


I hope you will fund this game so we all can have a game we will play for years to come!

Of course, the chances of a first-time game producer hitting a milestone like $US1.1 million in 50 days are extraordinarily slim.

Almost as slim as winning the lottery.

Your World [Kickstarter via @GamesBrief]

AP Photo/Gail Burton


    I can't help but think this is going to fail. But good luck to him for wanting to try...

    he looks like he plays a lot of WOW, u can tell from his triple chins XD

    He looks so, SO creepy.

    Also doesn't seem to bright, either. lol

      Hahaha loops!

      I tried reading the Kickstarter description and gave up after a few lines. It's pretty badly done and there's really no proof of planning behind it (as mentioned in the article, no concept art etc. just a bunch of words)

      It's a head like a pear.

        Why would you say that? Now all I can see when I look at the picture is a bloody Pear!

        Damn his head looks like a Pear....

        Its amazing...

    Im sorry, but the idea of a multi-millionaire seeking crowdfunding is an absolute joke. Wether or not people will be excited about his game depends on its quality and not on the number of backers; how does someone backing a project equate to interest in it, when there is no specific goal set, no story, no concept art.

    He is obviously not short changed to be able to back the project himself. Hell, if you truly believe in your project, invest $300,000 get something tangible together, even in the form of hiring concept artists, writers etc, to piece something together.

    The Crowdfunding track is one for struggling developers or independent developers.

    I myself am seeking crowdfunding for an IOS/PC based project, and whilst I've received the go-ahead from the crowdfunding site after an initial proposal made with an idea, however I have refrained from posting my request officially till i finish some concept art im working on..

    ...or do i really need to wait?!?


      "the idea of a multi-millionaire seeking crowdfunding is an absolute joke"

      If he won $42 million AND now owns an investment company etc why the hell does he even need kickstarter? Tim Schafer's project is only at $3 mill right now, if this guy kicked in that much of his own money into his own project he would still have (roughly) $39 MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS LEFT.




        It's hard to be eloquent when it's such a large amount of money.

        What a goofball!


    "Also doesn’t seem to bright, either. lol"

    yes he does seem dim,
    $1.1 million I think he doesn't know what expenses there are.

    Ummm NO.

    Though I'm sure the pitch is not so bad - it's the gy delivering it that I don't trust.


    "Ellwood Bartlett

    I have been a gamer for over 30 years. I have played everything from Pong to all the current MMORPG games."

    He has played ALL of them, OK? GIVE HIM SOME CREDIT. ALL OF THEM.

      You know what.. you make a fair point. Why hasn't Guinness contacted him for their gamer edition of world records yet?



    Sorry, he won $42 MILLION 5 years back and he wants people to give him money? I think there are more worthy recipients.

    Also, tbh i don't think the gaming world needs another cookiecutter mmo. As everyone I know in games says, "every single gamer has game ideas, they're useless. Build a prototype, write a 10,000 word Game Design Document, then you've got something to work with."

      Interesting. Everyone that I know in games just says "Ideas are like assholes". They're a crude bunch.

    Hot sauce!

    If I won the lottery I am sure I would love to get a game made based on the things I am passionate about. But like hell I would crowd source. He is right, you should have some other investors in large projects - but this is not an investment. No one from kickstarter is making money out of this - instead you might get a free tshirt, a game and your name on the credits. That's pretty different.
    If I were him I would invest in some concept artists/writers and a programmer to make something a little tangible and then bring it to another game studio and offer half the funding/profits for them to make it.

    There were "good things" to Second Life???!!

      The trolling!

        I guess the flying penis incident too.. yes.

    Shut up and take my money... and, um, ... actually, just shut up.

    What? No I'm not bitter about not being the guy who won millions.

    Described as “all of the good things in Second Life, World of Warcraft, Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic and the like all rolled up into one game,”... There’s no concept art or even much explanation as to how the game will run. It only promises to be “nothing like what is out there.”

    I love a consistent pitch.

    His face looks like a pear. With a wig.
    But seriously. Get some tangible goals and art, before even asking.
    Or be Tim Schafer.
    How much does it even cost to make an MMO? Alot more than a million dollars I assume. This isnt going to work.
    The only alpha games I've put money down for are ones that show proof of concept.

      Well... THQ are 5 years into the development of their Warhammer MMO and looking for an investment partner to finish it off... I think it's safe to assume that it's cost them a lot more than $1m so far...


    /wipes tears from eyes

    Thanks kotaku, i really needed that!

    Imagine the army of concept artists he could afford to hire. However I think this guy is more into collage work.

    "built by gamers for gamers funded by gamers"

    No thanks, I want people who actually know what they're doing to build my games.

    I don't think you just wake up one day and be aware of what's required to make a good videogame.
    And even if he does get this MMO together, who the hell is going to play it? What type of MMO can you make for a million bucks?
    I don't think WoW has much to worry about. Let him have his fun, I say, because it's going nowhere.

    "Oh Hi, I saw the popularity of the Double Fine Kickstarter, and now I want to jump on the bandwagon, too, but instead of having years of experience and a good reputation, I have nothing but this giant face and chin. So you'd better give me $1,100,000."

      Well shit, I'm sold. I'll send along my bank details and you just help yourself to what you need.

      Know any Nigerian royalty I can give my hard earned cash to as well?

    1.1 million would be nothing in an MMO budget.

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