Code Hero Dev Takes the Money and Runs

#1 Posted by CLinendoll (121 posts) -

originally posted on

Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's something fishy going on with a game-related Kickstarter. It seems like Code Hero, a programming tool/game from Primer Labs, was funded nearly $170,000; and nothing has come of it. Time to lawyer up!

Launched nearly a year ago, on December 26th, 2011, Code Hero was to be a game/tool that also taught amateur programmers how to make a real actual videogame. The video presentation on the page was slick, and 7500 people bought into the premise of this unique project. The Kickstarter had a goal of $100,00, which was nearly doubled by the end of the drive, ending up at a total of $170,954. That's...a lot of money.

Physical rewards were due to be mailed out in February of 2012, and were never sent. That was also the month that Code Hero reached its goal. As you might be aware, it's highly unusual for a successful Kickstarter to send out rewards as soon as the funding goal is reached. Some pledges were as high as $1000: these tiers centered around delivering Code Hero to schools as an instructional tool. In total, 18 backers pledged over a grand towards Code Hero, with 2 backers donating...gulp...$10,000 or more.

Since the end of February, updates on Code Hero's Kickstarter page slowed to a crawl, with the last update posted on 09/03/2012. This update promised an Alpha launch of Code Hero, which missed its scheduled release window at PAX Prime. Before that, an update posted on July 4th reaffirmed backers that their rewards were coming, and not to worry.

It seems that in the past few months, creator Alex Peake has gone radio silent. And Code Hero's backers have been getting more and more hostile. The comments section of the Kickstarter page has exploded to over 400 comments, with some backers threatening to file a class-action lawsuit. Backer Dustin Deckard has set up an email address at in hopes of gathering names for the lawsuit.

Social media pages set up for Code Hero have gone dark, as well. The last post on is a retweet from early September and Alex Peake's personal twitter @lxpk has been dormant since the middle of November. The Code Hero Facebook has also, you guessed it, not been updated since late summer. Several posts have been made by users requesting feedback from the developer about Code Hero's current status, none of which have been replied to.

But, for what its worth, you can still buy access to the alpha. For $13.37. Get it?

As we all know, Kickstarter does not provide refunds for undelivered projects. How do you guys feel about this? When will people learn? After all, this isn't the first time this kinda thing has happened.

Further reading:

Code Hero on KickStarter.

Primer Labs

Can you smell what Christopher Linendoll is cookin? He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.

#2 Edited by StarFoxA (5256 posts) -

This seems like such a bizarre situation to me. I think there's more to it. From reading comments on various sites, it seems like people have played a build of this game at PAX recently, so it doesn't seem like someone would build a partially complete game and then run. There are two sides to every story.

Edit: Found this. Sounds like people jumped the gun a bit, starting with that backer you mentioned.

#3 Edited by CLinendoll (121 posts) -

@StarFoxA: I agree. But PAX was 4 months ago already. And backers have said they have not received their promised prizes, nor the updated Alpha.

Edit: Wow, that musta went up just as I was writing this earlier today.

#4 Posted by envane (1188 posts) -

i was one of those donators that chipped in $10k this is such a hassle to me , i needed that money to get back to planet k-poch

#5 Edited by StarFoxA (5256 posts) -

@CLinendoll said:

@StarFoxA: I agree. But PAX was 4 months ago already. And backers have said they have not received their promised prizes, nor the updated Alpha.

Game development takes a long time, and I'm not sure how big this guy's team is. I think sometimes people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to indie development studios, because they don't have the resources allotted to larger studios. It sucks that it's taking longer than he originally predicted, but it's not unexpected.

He should be more communicative though.

Edit: forgot a not

#6 Posted by CLinendoll (121 posts) -

I'm glad this guy has finally responded, too bad it took people getting upset and threatening lawsuits.

#7 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

@CLinendoll said:

The Kickstarter had a goal of $100,00, which was nearly doubled by the end of the drive, ending up at a total of $170,954. That's...a lot of money.

But it's not double. It's not even in the right direction!

On a serious note, this doesn't necessarily mean that he scammed people out of their money intentionally, although from the looks of it, something is definitely amiss.

#8 Posted by toastface (125 posts) -
#9 Posted by BaconGames (3775 posts) -

The true unintended consequence of the Kickstarter structure: people get nervous when there are no updates despite the fact that development could easily be going full steam ahead on it. It goes to show that it's still a nascent platform if people don't have enough data points to reassure (or not) themselves.

#10 Posted by EVO (4027 posts) -

It seems with Kickstarter that the projected dates of release for physical rewards and whatnot is based on the funding goal. When funding exceeds that goal, the scale of the project increases and naturally the development times reflect that.

How well the developers communicate this with backers, though, is the problem. I think the best thing for developers to do would be to not promise a release date at all, or at least make it more flexible. Sure, people would probably be less likely to back a game they don't know when they'll receive, but the inevitable shitstorm when a game doesn't make it's release date is far worse.

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