Banned From Kickstarter
I tried to set up a Kickstarter project so that anyone who liked the idea of a public, mobile, indie, street arcade could help out with some of the material costs to get the thing off the ground, especially with the hard deadline of January 28th’s Move-In Day quickly approaching.

Apparently, not just anyone can throw up a campaign on Kickstarter, it has to be vetted by their staff first. So I submitted my project proposal worried more about how quickly they would get back to me than if they would accept the project, especially seeing how they’ve approved funding for games, museums for games, movies about games (twice!) and even parties for games. And who wouldn’t want another Winnitron in the world, let alone in the Bay Area, the birthplace of arcade games.

Sure enough, after a day and a half, I got a reply back indicating that they were excited about the idea, they just needed to have a clear goal and a timeline. I wrote back explaining the two-tiered plan.

The first goal, Phase One, would be to slap together a barebones, working arcade cabinet with whatever spare parts we could find (from our closets, friends, craigslist, amazon, etc) and have it running the custom game and rolling down the street for the march and move-in on the 28th, one week from then.

The second goal, Phase Two, would be focused on adding a level of polish to the machine, to make it something everyone would be proud of owning—swapping out the off-the-shelf joysticks with professional Sanwa or HAPP sticks and buttons, upgrading the hardware if needed, getting a local artist to paint the panels and adding a nice, backlit marquee. This would be completed one month after the end of the fundraising campaign.

So I sent that off, and waited to hear back. Meanwhile, we were already paying for things out of our pockets in order to get the bare necessities soon enough for Phase One. Another day goes by, and I get some bad news.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the right fit for Kickstarter. [...] For video game projects, we look for games that are being designed by the creators. I misunderstood and though you were designing your own arcade game. We see a wide variety of inspiring ideas, and while we value each one’s uniqueness and creativity, Kickstarter is not the right platform for all of them.


I could have said that the creation of creation of a new game, specifically for this event and this arcade cabinet are essential to the project. Essential, as in, ‘one part’ of the project itself. And that the designer and creator of the game are just as much a part of this project. I could have argued that it’s kind of ridiculous that Kickstarter would approve a project, the creation of a videogame, that contains absolutely no material costs, but deny a project, the creation of hardware to contain and play said videogame, that has plenty of material costs (wood, pc, monitor, controls, battery, inverter, etc). But I don’t have the time to do that. Move-In Day is in less than a week. So we’re going to do this the old-fashion, DIY way.

Here are some buttons you can click to donate to the OAK-U-TRON 201X: BANNED FROM KICKSTARTER DRIVE via WePay or PayPal:

BUT WAIT! That’s not all! This wouldn’t be a Banned From Kickstarter drive without FABULOUS PRIZES!

  • GIVE $5 OR MORE and receive set of OAK-U-TRON 201X and RPM Collective 1″ pins!
  • GIVE $20 OR MORE and have your name written into the OAK-U-TRON 201X’s credits sequence!!
  • GIVE $50 OR MORE and receive a hand-numbered poster documenting the OAK-U-TRON 201X in action on Occupy Oakland’s Move-In Day!!!
  • GIVE $75 OR MORE and receive an OAK-U-TRON 201X T-shirt!!!!
  • GIVE $100 OR MORE and receive a hand-screenprinted ticket to participate in an OAK-U-TRON 201X tournament on site, in Oakland, California. You get to keep the ticket whether or not you can show up for the tournament!!!!! (limit: 64)
  • GIVE $125 OR MORE and receive a coffee table photo book documenting the creation and life of the OAK-U-TRON 201X!!!!!! (limit: 20)
  • GIVE $200 OR MORE and have your name etched onto a metal plaque BY A LASER BEAM and bolted to the OAK-U-TRON 201X!!!!!!! (limit: 5)

(Note: if you do not have a WePay account, sign up using this referral link, and if you ever receive money from WePay, we’ll get $20 FOR FREE! If I can confirm the $20 came from you, i’ll add it to your total)

WePay is preferred, but if you must use PayPal:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get my donation reward even if the project doesn’t reach its donation goal?
Unlike Kickstarter, YES! For two reasons:

  1. Since I have no way of holding donations off until the goal is reached nor returning them if it isn’t met, you get your prizes regardless!
  2. Economic incentives for virality are the last refuge of capitalist scoundrels.

Who will own the machine?
The OAK-U-TRON 201X will be donated to the Occupy Oakland Social Space upon its completion, thus it will be collectively owned by anyone who gets involved and participates. I will take responsibility for maintaining the machine.

Will the OAK-U-TRON 201X be open to the public?
Of course! Even if it didn’t have to follow the guidelines for the Winnitron Indie Game Arcade Network, the the OAK-U-TRON 201X will be free and located in a public place.

What if you raise too much money?
#firstworldproblems? In the event that the OAK-U-TRON 201X: Banned From Kickstarter Drive manages to cover all costs after the final, Phase Two portion of construction, the rest will be set aside into an ANARCHIST ARCADE RESERVE FUND for the purpose of maintaining the OAK-U-TRON 201X. If the reserve fund has such a surplus that all foreseen maintenance costs should be covered, the maintainers may choose to use the funds to build a second unit, subject to the same conditions as the first (free, publicly available).

What happens if the Occupy Oakland Social Space gets closed?
In the event that the OO Social Space gets evicted, shut down, or otherwise closes, the OAK-U-TRON 201X will be relocated to another public location TBD temporarily until Occupy Oakland secures a permanent location for its Social Space.

What happens if the OAK-U-TRON 201X gets confiscated or smashed by OPD?
If the machine is confiscated by the police, I will take responsibility for claiming it, and moving it to a publicly accessible back-up location. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many times that police treat Occupy’s belongings in custody about as well as they treat arrestees. If the machine is damaged or destroyed, and there is enough money in the ANARCHIST ARCADE RESERVE FUND it will be rebuilt as a testament to Occupy Oakland’s resiliency. If such funds are not available and cannot be raised, the remaining portion will be used to give the OAK-U-TRON 201X a proper Viking burial.

What’s up with Kickstarter?
While I think this was a bad decision, I’ve got nothing against Kickstarter personally. They enable funding for a lot of great projects. In fact, you should all go donate to the Glorious Trainwrecks Pirate Kart right now!


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