Power-drunk Kickstarter users fart out anti-games

Kickstarter has helped bring nothing short of wonders into this world: Oculus Rift, the Omni, a Delorian hovercraft, SUPERHOT—the list goes on and on and on.

But with 3 million pledging $480 million in 2013 alone, there’s bound to be another list as well. It’s the list of not-so-wondrous wonders on Kickstarter, and jokes that have gone way too far. Following the-potato-salad-that-will-not-be-mentioned (okay, except for that mention), there’s seems to have been a rash of calculated bizarreness popping up on our beloved digital town square.

Exhibit A: Potato Salad: The Videogame (and no that does not count as a mention). Simply described as a “game where you can make an (sic) potato salad.” Potato Salad: The Videogame has already surpassed its $11 goal, and is now onto its stretch goal of $50, which would allow the creator to undergo a rigorous product testing process for tasting a variety of potato salads. The only “Risks and challenges” cited on the page is a potato famine. And I’m not Irish, but that joke still kinda feels too soon.

Following along in the trend of things-that-should-obviously-not-be-a-simulator, there’s the legendary Soda Drinker Prowhich is already a product you can actually buy with real money in the real world. This “Sipstarter,” as the creators call it, serves as extra funding for enhancements to their “simulation software.” These enhancements are detailed as including: soda enhancements, soda optimization, and various items off dollar menu at fast food restaurant. After just one day on Kickstarter, Soda Drinker Pro has surpassed its $15 goal by a landslide, with $150 and 19 backers so far.

Finally there’s Void The (again, sic). It’s the simulator to end all other silly simulators because the whole game is just a void screen for your non-viewing pleasure. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a game you can’t actually play because it’s literally nothing, and yet it’s already made double its original goal. And while 20 euros may not sound like a lot of money for this rad and ironic joke, you’ve clearly never been to Europe on a budget.

If these campaigns are meant as innocuous jokes, who’s the butt? Kickstarter and its projects? Backers? The internet in general? God help me, if they are just calculated jokes for the irony-factory that is the Internet, am I another sheep taking the bait? Or maybe these campaigns are really well disguised avant-garde art, and this post only reveals my utter lack of sophistication.

Perhaps a more likely source for the abundance in psuedo-campaigns may be found in Kickstarter’s new and simplified guidelines launched on July 3rd. By introducing the option to “Launch Now,” many creators are no longer required to go through a community manager in order to put their campaigns up on the site. Instead, the process of uploading a campaign to Kickstarter has become more automated. The new system uses an algorithm to assess data points such as “the project’s description, rewards, funding goal, and whether the creator has previously launched a project” in order to determine whether it’s eligible for immediate launch or not. 

So maybe it is avant-garde, or an over-played joke with an ambiguous punch line. To me it feels a lot like rejected 4chan posters gone mad with power and the internet’s megaphone.