Ever heard of “Game Jam”? No? You’re not alone. According to IndieStatik.com though, it was essentially the “Titanic meets Pompeii” for Maker Studios, Polaris and Pepsi. Well more the Polaris/Maker contingent … Pepsi still has that negative PR from Michael Jackson getting lit on fire hanging over their heads.
Apparently it was a recent merging of game developers and YouTube gamers for a giant contest series about the programming of videos games. Suffice to say, it all pretty much fell apart in a day and wound up costing the sponsors something like $400,000. I am going to be as succinct and yet accurate with this as possible to spare you from the brutality of jumping over to actually read the IndieStatik blogger’s article on this. It reads as if some emo kid decided to effect his best Tom-Wolfe-by-way-of-Jack-Kerouac-stream-of-consciousness vibe during a 10th grade creative writing project. Maybe some pulp noir was thrown in there too; I’m not gonna go back and check. There’s an unintentional Bulwer-Lytton prize in there somewhere though.
Long story long, CaptainSparklez, “Angry Joe” Vargas and others were involved in a pricey little gaming show that fell apart when some flack from Pepsi started manufacturing the drama of a reality show to spice up something that, from a viewing standpoint, is actually less fun than watching paint dry. He banned everything but Mountain Dew and water from the set and got fussy over what the programmers could wear and how they looked. He also tried to manufacture feuds and insulted women-kind by insinuating that they are a liability in the programming world.
Allegedly there were some contract issues before any of this took place (screencapped from the original story), so already the set was a tinderbox. The fire sparked after everyone involved subsequently formed a unified revolt and the sexist, Kardashian show-esque Pepsi guy was sent packing. “Game Jam” died shortly thereafter from lack of enthusiasm on most everyone else’s part. And until something changes, “that’s all she wrote”.
Look at that: neat, tidy, effective. Still, one can only wonder what “Game Jam” might have been had the proper indie components been allowed to manifest and overly-aggressive corporate sponsorship hadn’t overturned the applecart. I wonder if a parable for YouTube at large can be formed from this? You know what? Of course it can. But then, a cautionary YouTube parable could also be evoked from that Michael Jackson/Pepsi incident. The last time an alleged child molester got burned, he came back from the dead and murdered kids in their dreams. Think about it. Or don’t.
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Here are some other dramatic stories from the world of Maker: