Hey! Did you hear? They are making a sequel to Shaq Fu! The tournament fighter centered on the Big Aristotle, often seen as one of the worst games of all time is back for round two! I’ll admit when I heard this news it did put a smile on my face. I’m a huge basketball fan, so I always welcome offbeat titles loosely centered on the sport. Games like Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, Barkley Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, even NBA Live 14! However I became a bit confused when I found out the way in which Shaq Fu 2 was being made. An athlete with a net worth of over 350 million dollars, and a mega mansion that probably can be seen from outer space, needs your help. Yes, Shaq is asking you to fund his game through crowd sourcing.
In typical Shaq style his pitch through indiegogo is witty and endearing. "Alright, I admit: The first Shaq-Fu was terrible." "But now, I got the same people that designed Halo, Street Fighter, and Final Fantasy. Wait 'til you see the graphics on this one." "This time we won't Fu it up." The teaser presents us with an impossibly ripped Shaq (honestly he looks more like a Goomba from the Mario Bros movie) hulking out on wave after wave of ninjas. So yeah the game has a pretty unique art style and Shaq has seemingly partnered up with some decent developers. As just a game, it looks like he’s making the right moves. I'm not here to critique the game though, rather I want to delve into his decision on going through indiegogo.
Like most of these crowd sourcing ventures, the low level perks start off innocently enough until you reach the higher “rewards” which almost always consist of befuddlement and outright audacity. Our first reward is a $15 donation that nets you a copy of the game (albeit digital). That seems fair doesn’t it? As this is going to be a PC only release (tentatively they have stretch goals to go for other platforms), the campaign makes no mentions as to system requirements. Maybe I'm nitpicking on this one but some suggested specs would be useful for would be contributors.
Our next perk is a $25 donation which promises the game plus “all future downloadable content for free for life.” They value their planned DLC in and around $200 (I'm not even going to get into how outrageous that sounds). I get it though, when Shaq says the people who designed Street Fighter he must have meant the accountants at Capcom who shipwrecked that franchise with its incessant DLC! Ironically the next perk completely negates the previous one. Because for $35 you get an additional character and weapon, so in actuality all DLC should have an asterisk next to it. You get all the DLC except for the DLC you didn’t pay for, makes sense to me (EA take note). Still in the realm of sanity our next set of perks range from beta access (nothing like playing a broken version of a game!) to signed t-shirts, posters, and copies of the soundtrack.
Now we’re getting closer to the perks that are laughing at you and not with you. For $300 you’ll have the opportunity to get a piano lesson from Steve Molitz! Okay I don’t know who that is, and you probably don’t either. I’m sure your five minute lesson which no doubt ends in chopsticks will kick start your career into piano stardom! For $75 dollars more, you get the opportunity to mocap your signature move into the game. Actually not quite, as you’ll record your move and then the developers will mocap said more for you. So that ultra rare punch / kick combo that only you do will be featured in a game, and no one will care.
Of course if and when this projects gets funded Shaq and company are going to party it up! For the mere price of $400 dollars, you can join them! That’s right prepare to flip the bouncer the bird, you’re VIP baby. Nothing says I’m living the high life then paying $400 to hang out with a bunch of strangers! Oh of course it’s worth mentioning travel is on you, funny how it always ends up being that way with these things. Also don’t go opening up a tab just yet, drinks are on you too. In all seriousness no open bar? I’ve been to funerals that are looser with the liquor c’mon Shaq.
Next set of perks is a mix between more signed memorabilia and social media nonsense. You’ve got your signed sneakers, basketballs, posters, yadda yadda. Should you really need something signed by Shaq in your life, check out ebay, your wallet will thank you. Oh and if you’re willing to pay someone $600 to follow you on twitter, might I suggest myself (@Phoceeantic)? I’ll tell you what, I’ll cut you a break just shoot me 50 bucks, deal? Unlike Shaq I’ll tell you from the get go, no I’m not interested in anything you have to say. So let’s be fake friends alright?
Okay we finally made it, the kind of perks that will make your parents wonder where it all went wrong. For just $2000 you can be a character in Shaq Fu! Just send a couple pictures of yourself to the devs and voila you're in game. Just be sure to not tell anyone that you paid to be in this; rather, say you won a contest! Better yet,send the developers a bunch of pictures of Kobe Bryant I'm sure Shaq will love to have him in his game.
There’s nothing like paying a premium to see one of the worst teams in the NBA. Thats why for just $3000 you can get courtside tickets to see the Sacramento Kings! What a perk, the Kings! You know they have whatshisface on their team, who's going to be pretty decent... I think. At least they let you choose the game of your choice, are they not merciful?
Tired of your mundane 9-5 job? Well then have I got a perk for you! For just the low price of $6500 or 325 easy payments of $19.99 (plus shipping and handling), you too can work on Shaq Fu! Honestly this was the perk that kicked off this whole rant. They want you to pay them so you can work for them, in what universe does this make sense? I can only wonder, do shackles and a dog collar come with this perk, or do we have to supply those ourselves? Paying to work for a company is a special kind of stupid. But hey, who knows maybe they'll include dental?
We aren’t finished yet because for just $15k you get to hang out at Shaq’s house. In fact, Shaq will even play basketball with you! Who knows maybe if you play your cards right you can make Shaq lunch at his house, after all you’re his guest, be courteous. As for the basketball game, my advice to any sucker out there foolish enough to fall for this, fake an injury on the court and sue Shaq. At the very least you’ll settle out of court and you may just have enough to pay for the last two perks.
The crème de la crème, 25k gets you dinner with Shaq and what do you know the meal is on him! Yet as always, travel is on you! I wonder if gratuity is also included? I’m not sure why dinner suddenly deserves 10k more than lunch but that’s how it goes when you roll with Shaq. If you believe this is an astronomical figure to throw at a man that earns $20 million dollars a year, never fear because the good folks at Shaq Fu 2 thought this through. “If you have six friends with $3600 each then you can group together to get this awesome perk!” Well when you put it that way…
Last but certainly not least, for 35k (just slightly under what someone with an associate’s degree makes in a year) you can hang out with Shaq and all the guys at NBA on TNT. There you can meet Sir Charles Barkley who will be sure to remind you that Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden was made on the developers own dollar. Maybe during one of the commercial breaks TNT will photoshop a dunce hat on you for the entire nation to see!
All jokes aside, perhaps in the end I shouldn’t concern myself with how other people choose to spend their own cash. As the saying goes a fool and his money are easily parted. Maybe I'm in the wrong here but I view crowd sourcing as a way for starving artists or in our case indie developers to realize an otherwise impossible dream. This on the other hand is just another way an ultra rich man will extrapolate more money from you. Shaq has not dropped the next Halo or Grand Theft Auto on the gaming world. This project is entirely within his means to fund on his own dime. If he truly believed in what was being made, flip the bill Shaq. His reluctance to do so and instead asking joe public, the very same public that gave him his fortune in the first place is disingenuous. In the words of Sir Charles, “that's turrible.”
Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn indiegogo:
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