Kickstarter Game 'On Hold' Two Years After Raising $US53,000

Kickstarter Game 'On Hold' Two Years After Raising $US53,000

In July of 2012, a man named Jay Pavlina raised $US53,509 on Kickstarter for his game, Super Action Squad. Two years later, the game is "on hold" — and Pavlina is saying that his Kickstarter was "a bad idea in the first place."

It's yet another cautionary tale for anyone who regularly backs Kickstarter projects in hopes of supporting an amateur game: be careful. Your money could be going to someone who's in over his head.

"I made a fan game, so I thought, 'How much harder could it be to make a real game?'" Pavlina wrote on his blog last night. "A lot harder, it turns out."

Pavlina, who launched the Super Action Squad project after making a popular flash game called Super Mario Bros. Crossover, blamed his team and his inexperience for this project's failures. (You can read the whole blog post here.)

"Knowing what I know now, I would never have launched a Kickstarter for this game as my first project," Pavlina wrote. "It makes little sense for a team with little to no experience that has never worked together to try to make a big game. It would be much better to focus on something small and simple. After getting experience releasing small projects, we would be able to work our way up to bigger ones."

And if you're a backer who wants your money back?

"I do not know exactly what to do for backers of this project," Pavlina wrote. "Feel free to give us your suggestions. People that invested a lot of money should contact us to see what we can work out. We are very reasonable people, and we want to help everyone to feel as satisfied as possible, but we are also limited in our capabilities. Please do not expect miracles, but understand that we will make an honest effort to make people happy. Don't hesitate to contact us if you want to try to work something out. Please understand that it is impossible for us to offer a significant amount of refunds right now, but we expect that to change in the future."

This is the double-edged sword of Kickstarter . For every Broken Age or Shadowrun Returns there's a Super Action Squad. Buyer beware.


    You're not entitled to anything back. That's the danger of investing. Especially when the deciding factor for what you invest in is less "they have a solid business plan and a product that is feasible" and more "OMG SHINY!"

      Exactly, it's an investment, not a preorder. The lack of a solid plan is the reason I didn't back Broken Age when it was going by its working title "give Tim Schaefer money and he'll do... something"

      Nice of them to say they'd try and refund people, shows they're good people but it's definitely not required.

        Same reason I refuse to buy PAX tickets a year in advance when there is literally no timetable information, no panellist information, and (as I recall) not even a locked down date...

      I agree. Investing is a ALWAYS a gamble. Doesn't matter if it's shares, real estate or a videogame. I think a lot of people have "Investing" confused with "pre-ordering".

        It's more donating then investing. With investing you have some ownership, and atleast expect a return.

      I agree totally with this. Where it gets unnecessarily murky is that Kickstarter requires (yep, requires) project managers to fill all reward tiers or offer refunds. I get why this is the case, but it's obviously totally impractical and often impossible.

        Yeah that's the thing, it seems like the Kickstarter terms go against the very nature of the business model because they explicitly state that project managers are legally required to deliver on all reward tiers, so if a tier includes a tangible final product backers are entitled to delivery of said product or a full refund (though Kickstarter does absolve itself of responsibility for securing the refund in such a case)... To whit:

        Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?
        Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.

        So in reality it's not really merely an 'investment' for most backers at all.

        Last edited 21/03/14 10:13 am

          I've been thinking about this, and maybe breaching the Terms of Use just means you can't create any new projects on Kickstarter (which would make sense), but is not a true 'legal obligation' in the sense that we understand.

          I'm gonna have to do some reading, I think. This has piqued my curiosity.

            You could be right there, even the fact that these rights seemingly transcend national borders could obfuscate real world legal obligations.

            If you read on, it just seems to get more contrary too (full FAQ here - A couple of points down, Kickstarter states:

            Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative ideas. Many of the projects you see on Kickstarter are in earlier stages of development and are looking for a community to bring them to life. The fact that Kickstarter allows creators to take risks and attempt to create something new is a feature, not a bug.

            The whole idea that the service empowers creators to 'take risks' surely suggests that not everything proposed will come to fruition, right? And yet as far as a backer is concerned there is no risk, because if they don't get what they paid for, they can demand a refund...

            EDIT: I suppose the argument could be made that the inherent risk is in getting the project funded in the first place and that from there on in it reverts to a traditional paid product/service agreement, but again that just doesn't seem to jibe with the whole Kickstarter philosophy.

            Last edited 21/03/14 11:14 am

    Kickstarter isn't a guaranteed purchase, I think too many people make the assumption it is. As long as he's worked on the game and done his best to produce it, if he has a legitimate reason for not being able to put it out has he actually done anything wrong if he can prove the money went to realistic expenses?

      This is so logical it made my dick hard.

      See my comment above... By the Kickstarter Terms of Use, if a backer paid for a final version of the game they are legally entitled to delivery of their pledge, or a full refund.

      What puzzles me (and @shane) is that this seems to go against the whole idea. of Kickstarter in the first place. I've always viewed Kickstarter pledges as 'investments' and not guarantees, and that's the way it should work, right?

        So this means kickstarter sees their investments as actual purchases. Because if youre entitled to a refund thats exactly what it is. If you invest in a company and it goes bankrupt and under? Tough luck! Bye bye money! Wow those t&c's for legit creators are.....worrying to a degree.

          Exactly. I mean, I can understand why Kickstarter would want to absolve itself from any potential for litigation from unsatisfied backers (ie. to shift the blame to creators) but it seems like they've gone too far in the opposite direction by explicitly stating that backers have legal recourse to pursue creators that don't fully deliver on their proposals.

            It is the way it is because payment providers have to treat these transactions like they are purchases. Crowdfunding platforms don't get to just make up the regulatory context under which they exist. They have to shoehorn into existing e-commerce models best they can because that is how their payment providers are regulated.


            That is why people can do things like file chargebacks. If these were donations that wouldn't be allowed. The reasoning behind how crowdfunding TOS's are written is rooted in the payment providers. It's a key point that 99.9% of people don't understand about this space. Amazon Payments doesn't underwrite Kickstarter, they're underwriting the individual creators. THAT is why their TOS reads the way it does. It isn't Kickstarter skirting responsibility. That isn't to say you aren't right. You are. The fact that crowdfunding project creators bear legal liability is antithetical to what crowdfunding is supposed to be.

          Well actually, a company going under isn't just "Bye bye money" if you're an investor. I'm not a lawyer (or administration practitioner but have been through a couple of Involuntary Administrations) but it's a super complex and messy process and essentially, as long as the company has assets to be sold off, the major investors will recoup some of their costs. Staff and the lesser creditors are usually the ones who get screwed because the debtors don't have enough assets to liquify in order to pay everyone back.

          Last edited 21/03/14 1:38 pm

            So lessor investors such as the ones who dont invest say 10k should be prepared to lose their money just incase.

    Redux dark matters was a horrible experience.. Delay after delay and then the guy has the nerve to ask for more money for tracking when posting items… THO he made double his pledge!
    To hell with shit starter.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Kickstarter is perfectly fine if you approach it with a rational, realistic mindset, manage your expectations appropriately, and don't just throw money at every project that comes along promising the world.

    I watched the Kickstarter video these guys made and it set off all kinds of alarm bells. I'm not in any way surprised this game didn't see a release. I'm actually more surprised it was even funded to begin with.

    They had a very low budget with a small team of inexperienced staff, most of which were working full time jobs already. They openly stated they were doing it in their spare time between work. $58,000 may seem like a lot of money, but when you're employing a team of 8 people it isn't going to stretch very far.

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