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JS Joust & Co Sportsfunded By Its Friends

It appears to be global law that most every Kickstarter success story must now involve the phrase “down to the wire.” And so the same must be said of Sportsfriends Featuring Johann Sebastian Joust. The four-game indie collection today went down to the wire with hours to spare on its $150,000 campaign, after an extended, Twitter-based flash mob did its best to cajole the world into backing an apparently struggling effort. Congratulations to all involved – may you all hold your Moves aloft in neon-hued celebration.

I’m very glad Sportsfriends got a second wind and made its target as it contains several most excellent game concepts from several excellent developers, and is definitely a concerted effort to do new things rather than suckle knowingly on the teats of the past (Oh lord, did I really just write that?). That it had a bit of a tough time and won out apparently only as a result of social network begging perhaps raises an awful lot of discussion points, though.

What held it back until all that heavy, and sometimes annoying, campaigning in the final hours? Is it that local multiplayer games are too far distant from what the mainstream wants? Is it that all these games already existed in some form so it was that much harder for the very casual observer to grasp why they should fund them? Is it that the set’s cult frontman, JS Joust, has for whatever reason been locked to indie gatherings and in-the-know cliques rather than shared especially publicly, so its legend was not quite as mighty as presumed? Is it that the whole thing just wound up preaching to the converted – as the relatively low (sub-4000) backer headcount might seem to suggest? Or was it that it was unfortunate enough to be a small name launching its Kickstarter at the same time as some very big names indeed?

Or all of the above. Or something else entirely. Again, honestly I’m glad it’s happening but I haven’t enjoyed some of the Twitter-based campaigning over the last couple of days – more because the line was IT IS YOUR DUTY TO DO THIS AND IF YOU DON’T SOCIAL MULTIPLAYER IS DEAD FOREVER than because of the sheer quantity of retweets and other plugs. If the world isn’t taking notice of the message, find a new message. Or perhaps a new audience, which I think was the root problem here – Sportsfriends didn’t seem to circulate terribly far beyond the social sphere it started off in.

Now it’s funded and will be released, it gets a second shot at that. And, while obviously I’m more about the PC version, if Sony know what’s good for them they’ll be helping to market the PS3 version as good reason to buy some of its Move dildoes.

A few hours yet remain on Sportsfriends, so you can still back it if you want early release versions and other goodies.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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