Why Crowdfund a Sequel to a 20-Year-Old Video Game Everyone Hated?

Thursday, May 08, 2014 - 11:08 AM

If you were a gamer at the dawn of the console wars era, then you probably remember Shaq Fu. It was essentially a Shaquille O'Neal branded Mortal Kombat, except it was also unplayable and ugly. Even Electronic Arts, the company behind the game has called it an abomination. So, naturally, the internet has decided that 20 years on, we need a sequel.

Now, at least the folks who are making the game are aware of its reputation. At the top of its Indiegogo page, a promise is made that "this time we won't FU it up!" And the video pitch makes plenty of reference to the middling quality of the original game. 

It's a sequel that even its creators admit no one except Shaq himself was clamoring for. So why make it? And why did so many people fund it? I think that the game actually benefits from a couple of things. The first is a kind of cool trailer for the game, though any gamer worth their salt is automatically suspicious of a game trailer with no real gameplay footage.

But the second and more reasonable explanation is that the internet loves an underdog. It loves chasing after a project that it didn't even know it wanted until the suggestion was made. It loves to fund projects even if it then doesn't go out and consume the product it fanatically supported. And, most importantly, the internet loves nostalgia. Even nostalgia for terrible things. In that way, Shaq Fu ticks all the boxes of a project that the internet would rally behind, even if on its face it seems ridiculous.

The chances that this game will be good are remote. But the internet has funded it anyway. Because it just has to know.

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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