Scrolling through the ‘discover’ tab on Kickstarter, you don’t find much brutal honesty.
Names allude to grander themes and straplines often promise ‘a whole new type of [X]’ without actually saying what it is.
Super Pretentious Indie Dungeon strips away the hand-wavy promises and gets to the point. It’s pretentious. It’s indie. It takes places inside a dungeon.
Also it’s got nostalgic pixel graphics, 8-bit music, and roguelike platforming.
Taking away the mask, SPUD is actually a work of satire by Steve Malubro. It’s the mean average gameplay elements from every indie game that launches on IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, Gambitious or whatever new platform sprouts up in the next four days.
The project page treads tired cliches of warriors and wizards, over promises, and admits the developer doesn’t know how to program (Malubo, however, does).
But, this isn’t just a public stunt akin to the increasingly less funny projects popping up on IndieGoGo. There’s going to be a game at the end.
“It is absolutely one of my goals to make SPUD a fun game to play,” said Malubro. “I briefly considered creating a stylistically horrible game, but I felt that wouldn’t be fair for the potential backers of my game. As a result, if SPUD could be considered innovative, it is only so in a collaborative sense in that many different gameplay mechanics from other titles have been lifted, tweaked, and merged. The result is, hopefully, something fresh yet tried and true.
“I would not, however, expect a genre-smashing smorgasbord.”
Malubro isn’t hostile towards the idea of crowdfunding or the many failed videogame projects in recent past. He sympathises with backers.
“Look at the creator, see if he/she is credible, look at the quality that person’s work if you can. Never throw down your money on empty promises, especially projects that do not have either gameplay footage or unclear concepts (like mine!),” he said. I see so many Kickstarters so often that obviously are not going to succeed, and I would not want my satire to become a reality by quitting the project.”
That said, much of the onus is on the creators. As we saw with the Yogventures debacle, popular figures take money from a huge number of people without a sensible development plan.
“Know what you are getting into. Make sure you have a clear and honest evaluation of your abilities and your commitment to success. And never ever try to make something just for the money,” he said. “Do it because you want the project, not the profits, to become a reality.”
Super Pretentious Indie Dungeon has five days remaining on the clock. You don’t need to back the project to get the game – it’s going to be available to free. Despite seeming like a joke, the message included in Malburo’s game is serious: we need to do Kickstarter better.