(Topic ID: 92436)

John Popadiuk update thread……MAGIC GIRL, RAZA, AIW…..

By iceman44

5 years ago

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Topic index (key posts)

23 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #20523 Link to legal documents with allegations & responses Posted by DennisK (3 years ago)

Post #20526 Third amended complain document Posted by c508 (3 years ago)

Post #20532 Summary of complaints & responses in legal documents Posted by DennisK (3 years ago)

Post #20626 MG is now ready! Posted by TecumsehPlissken (3 years ago)

Post #20631 Scott Goldberg mail on MG completion Posted by TecumsehPlissken (3 years ago)

Post #21819 Information on webpage dedicated to Magic Girl Code Features. Posted by applejuice (3 years ago)

Post #22024 moderation notice Posted by Xerico (3 years ago)

Post #22304 Photos of every page of the Magic Girl manual. Posted by vidgameseller (3 years ago)

Post #22584 Lion Saw feature information. Posted by applejuice (3 years ago)

Post #22710 Very detailed review from a game owner Posted by ShinyNick (2 years ago)

Post #22817 Details on the origin of the driver board Posted by Borygard (2 years ago)

Post #22957 Comparison photos between a MG 'prototype' and another shipped MG Posted by spfxted (2 years ago)

Post #23045 Pinball News first look review. Posted by Pinballs (2 years ago)

Post #23392 Ebay Auction for NIB Magic Girl #007 Posted by fattrain (2 years ago)

Post #23611 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by dgarrett (2 years ago)

Post #23615 Interview with Linda Deal (artist), speaking about CV and TOM Posted by toyotaboy (2 years ago)

Post #23754 The Deeproot link. Posted by pin2d (2 years ago)

Post #23946 Result of civil suit against JPOP Posted by rommy (1 year ago)

Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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#3352 5 years ago


2 weeks later
#3847 5 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

I never had any intention of spending 20k on a pin, and Zombies are so over-done at this point... was bored with zombies before TWD was even announced.

Yeah, the zombie thing is reaching the tail-end of its popularity. I made up a zombie tournament format way back in 2011! The first Left for Dead game came out in 2008!

Might as well make Swatch: The Pin at this point.

1 month later
#5371 4 years ago
Quoted from Fulltilt:

Correct. After the initial deposit, he moved away from Paypal.



#5599 4 years ago

No communication, vendors not getting paid, website content getting pulled...

And I'm pretty sure all the popcorn in the world got used up in the Skit-B thread.

This all really sucks. I can think of five friends who are paid in full in these fiascos.

#5615 4 years ago
Quoted from sammiesguys:

As someone who was Predator'd, I would recommend you guys check the dates when you paid and what types of protections your CC offers you if you paid with it. I haven't followed closely so I'm not sure how people were paying.
Those dates and protections could end up being critical if you need them. I have no idea what's going to happen with Jpop, but it's best to be prepared.
And keep an eye on how things go with us (I figure you probably already are). We are the guinea pigs, but it may end up being useful to you, if necessary.
Hopefully Jpop gets these things sorted out and none of the above will matter. Good luck guys.

This is why I jumped out of my chair a couple pages ago. Apparently, initial deposits were via Paypal but then later were by check!


#5681 4 years ago

We are living in interesting times.

#5744 4 years ago
Quoted from s1500:

Trick question:Nobody will pre-order any more. The answer is pay them to DELIVER an already-built & developed machine.

I think in terms of funding pinball startups the pre-order model is pretty much over. In fact, I think crowd-sourced pinball projects (kickstarter, etc) are dead as well.

1 week later
#6011 4 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

Speaking for myself.... "I still want to believe". I want to believe there is hope that this can be completed. So I'm holding onto that.
As much as I might be seen as a ballbuster by John, I'm still a sincere customer. I always just wanted what it was I got into this in the first place for.
I've had some bigger, more philosophical thoughts about this as well that makes me feel sorry for John. I think we all believe him when he says he is there working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. Working hard, not smart.
I started my current business around the same time John started zidware. I compare what I've made in this period, financially, with John basically toiling away for nothing. He's doing what he loves, but I also love what I do. I also love what the money I've made allows me to do (buying pinballs is one of them). He's missing that. And I don't care what people say about his wife being totally cool carrying the family, this can't be a good family situation.
So, despite me being out some cash potentially, John has lost a lot more. Prime earning/working years of his life, and his reputation in pinball history.
So basically I'll keep doing what I can, holding his feet to the fire however I can, but holding onto hope there might be an end, and not exactly wanting to flush the toilet on the whole thing.

No offense, but your description of Jpop sounds very similar to the way Kevin of Skit-B was described by many just prior to when the SHTF, i.e. nobly toiling away for love of the game.

To answer Mr68's question regarding practical suggestions, my suggestion is this:

Don't guess at what's going on behind the scenes. No one knows, and Jpop isn't telling you. Deal with what you do know and make your decisions based on that.

My own opinion is you shouldn't be guessing at all. These crowd-funded projects run on the faith of the buyers so rule 1 of any project of this nature is transparency. The process, status, challenges, achievements, etc. should all be communicated openly and honestly. That one aspect of this project combined with it being years late are enough that if I had money in it I would have already taken steps to recover my money.

What's really scary to me about the jpop situation is I learned many buyers paid some or the majority via personal check. In the case of Skit-B, a few have been successful with charge-backs (particularly AMEX customers) but I think with jpop there may be no other choice but litigation. Additionally, I've not heard anything about the money going into anything like an interest-bearing escrow account. If jpop goes down, it will definitely be pinball's Lehman Brothers.

#6019 4 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

Yes, and if Predator actually had a license, Kevin would be building pins on his mom's kitchen table as we speak.
There is no threat of some outside force, whether that is a movie studio or some Anonymous Group that can kill this. A pretty key difference.
My money is long gone, so all I can do is try and see this through, but I won't be spending one more additional dollar to see it happen. So no money paid to a lawyer to send a letter, no legal action, and no more deposit money sent.
The "hail mary" is John's personal value of his pinball reputation and him gutting through this to the end. Because if he fails and we all lose our money he'll be persona non grata in pinball and I don't think he'd ever live that down.

No, there was never strong evidence that Kevin had the means to actually build the games. That's why I got out. He wanted $2750 but no pics of a workshop/warehouse. No staff. No pics of equipment. A prototype that went down constantly at shows. At that time, the game was already a year behind schedule and communication with the community had dried up to a trickle. Later on it was learned that the margins on the game were extremely small, so paying someone else to build the game was not financially viable.

My point is that the license fiasco was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

But here's the takeaway: there are far more similarities with Skit-b and Jpop than differences. I would suggest that anyone holding on to the license difference for hope consider that.

#6116 4 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

This whole situation is just really sad. If the project goes down in flames and people lose a ton of money, I can envision a future where JPop will no longer even be welcome at shows. To go from one of the most celebrated modern designers to being blackballed from the community would be such a tragedy.

I would say he's crossed that mark already. I think if he goes to a show, there wouldn't be lanyards and beer at the pinside meet-up, but tomatoes and rotten eggs.

#6123 4 years ago

Cliff Notes version for those just joining:

Multi-year delays
Unpaid vendors
Doesn't get along with others
No clear production/build path
Whitewashed communication
Ignored refund requests
In breach of own contract
No programmer
No completed design(s)
Missed reveals
Re-posted media as stalling tactic

#6247 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Like Erik said, I think he wants to remain as oblivious as possible to the walls closing in around him.
People like John are shameless and have no self awareness, and sprinkle in some major flakiness and this is what we get.


Wow, very eye-opening. If there was any shred o' hope on my part that these might get built, your post chucked that shred into a black hole. Then chucked that black hole into a super-massive black hole.

Unless someone does a huge pintervention, this thing is deader than 8-track.

#6491 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

John should just effing do it. What the hell does he have to lose at this point?

His fantasy of control.

#6621 4 years ago
Quoted from PismoArcade:

Yep....and he should put Wes and Vonnie D in charge of finances.

And FrankFurhther as their new Community Manager.

#6828 4 years ago
Quoted from Warbleboopie:

Okay, I tried, you guys are on your own.
1) John has already lied to me.
2) John does not know what an IPO means. I do not know how to umm...explain...how bad this is...
3) John knows so little that he asked for an art sample from me. I offered to run product development for him without taking a salary or even asking for compensation. And he asked me for an art sample.
MIT, bunch of degrees, multiple startup successes, bunch of languages, currently employed with a badass employer, sick Python skills. But I am also a card player and can read people. The read is bad. The read is very bad. You guys all need to get what you can from him in terms of materials and partially finished game with or without software and finish it yourself. He has boards and translates or backglasses whatever he made you need to just take the raw materials and take over the project. Don't worry about his patents, they look like they're trash. If you aren't willing to take over the project yourselves you won't get anything.

Why do you hate pinball?

#6830 4 years ago

Wow, pretty much every lyric applies!

He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man, please listen
You don't know what you're missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

Nowhere Man, don't worry
Take your time, don't hurry
Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand

Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man, please listen
You don't know what you're missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

He's a real Nowhere Man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

#6979 4 years ago

Didn't the Contracts for Magic Girl games have an estimated delivery date around 2013? Has anyone explored the breach of contract route? Depending on the particular civil route, some statutes of limitation are approaching if pre-order money was paid in 2011.


It seems to me the combination of the delay itself, coupled with ignoring requests for updates and refunds, would make it pretty straightforward to win a judgement. In fact, John is so flaky he probably wouldn't even respond or show up to contest it. If he goes BK, you'll be closer to the front of the line to get paid, and likely with far less red tape.

Anyone sent him a certified letter with return receipt demanding a refund?

#6990 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

Thats the easy part and costs $$$. Collecting the judgment is a whole new nightmare. It then becomes a question of throwing good money after bad.

Yes, I did and simultaneously filed a complaint with the Illinois State Attorney General. Nothing but stonewalling since and I now envision him hunkered down in the Zidware Oval Office composing an enemy's list.

Yes, but there are a few people in this for both RAZA and MG. I believe that's 25k? That's definitely worth going after, legal fees or not.

And if the concern is that legal fees for RAZA victims would make the matter impractical, then what about going the small claims route and suing for the maximum amount possible?

If Zidware goes bankrupt, creditors and judgments get paid first.

#6991 4 years ago

Btw, Illinois Small Claims limit is $10,000. One could probably get consultation to prepare the case for under 1k. Three certified letters demanding a refund is under $25. Court costs would be minimal. Maybe another $500 - 1k in travel. According to the Illinois Attorney General, these costs are eligible for reimbursement beyond the $10k.

Then sell or hire someone to collect the judgment.

More info: http://www.ag.state.il.us/consumers/smlclaims.html

#7007 4 years ago
Quoted from Concretehardt:

If John cant see this thing thru and deliver games guess who is gunna get a beat down???? Me... when my wife finds out I lost $4750.00 on a pinball machine my ass is grass! I think my pinball days will be over especially with all the medical bills we have been struggling to get paid lately. I cant wait to have this conversation... Hey honey I just lost a shitload of money on a pinball machine because I am a dumbass!

Best go get that part time job and start earning it back so when you drop the news you can do it with cash in hand.

#7029 4 years ago
Quoted from ChrisVW:

It's depressing that it has come to this.

It certainly is but my advice is you get over it as soon as possible and focus on getting your money.

This whole doom and gloom "there's no money left" from many hasn't been substantiated. Very likely John Popadiuk isn't down to his last nickel, and probably far from it. But what is likely true is that a good chunk of it is gone and a lot of people are going to be left without a chair when the music stops.

#7035 4 years ago
Quoted from txstargazer3:

He wants the tax form and check to be absolutely perfect before he will release them.

I hear he partially un-rolled the tax form but then quickly rolled it back up.

#7163 4 years ago
Quoted from gprotein:

Jpop just posted an email on RAZA blog:

I received an email from an owner this morning, “John call to action, a group (person) is gonna’ charge you with fraud and take you down”. He was nice enough to send along, told me to reply “fast”. In respect to the group, which I hold high, I thought I would repost to our blog only here as it is an honest reply at this time, and what appears on the outside is not always what is happening on the inside. Am working hard here everyday despite all the external pressure coming today and this is my best. Am surprised I have not dropped dead. I will keep doing new reports for game progress, new features, more pictures, flipping, etc. And keep on the website.
Again my apologies as I did not get into pinball now to make enemies by any stretch or become a felon, and am posting here so all can read my words sent just a bit ago. Was trying not to do the “mushy” posts anymore but just show real game progress. Jpop
Thanks for the email. As I mentioned before I have been battling the “pinside” group for months now (since the DP downfall began in public) and it has done the most damage to my work, apart from anything I have missed or do poorly as a business owner. In many cases people (many not owners) have severley damaged my business, reputation and exploding my customer base with their public statements, rants and “toxic” posts. Also been harrased by phone, computer, email, text or incited by posters online, which is a criminal offence today.
All of this sadly has taken away from pinball making time here, as there are only so many hours in the day ( I do still work 7 x14). i do post what I can to the blog and to people’s email. Still get 100+ per day. Obviously my door is always open, and I have refused only 1 person from a tour here ever.
We do have some “viable” negotiations still ongoing (all documented in emails and legally – not fluff) to partner and/or get more funding to keep the company strong and moving ahead. As the “pinside” wave has helped to cause many of my customers to stop support, except for a few and actually has halted some other investors or big orders coming in for new game sales for open games. I feel pinside and a lot of the posters (many in an NDA – many behind fake names) are all liable in some form. Obviously I cannot discuss openly any deals until it’s news, and choose not to bait people with false hopes. There are a few owners that know “all” and I trust them for feedback. Some I thought i could trust but was used. We recently had to “no-reply” to a awful pinball deal (in works for months and looked promissing) that came our way. My attorney and I were genuinely sad and dissapointed. Some of the discussions are now very amazing and all would benefit, but sadly nothing is fast or signed. Luckily since the beginning of the project we have a long trail of development to refer to as record, and the work is really far along and looks good. Been as open, honest, sincere as I can in this now “crowded” and “competitive” pinball world. But yes I am not done, and I “suck” at being on “internet time” for communication. Not new news, I have been told this and agree. My brain is just wired differently as an artist, and i am no social network maven.
Obviously there is nothing I can do to stop people from going after me legally or pressing charges at any time for anything in America, personally or in business. I have that same right to go after my critics or anyone. But certainly anything big would shutdown all work here immediately, as my time would be needed for legal items I am sure and to protect the work and pinball IP which is substantial. I probably could not afford either to hire lawyers needed. Never been sued or charged in the past “for anything”, lead a quiet (somewhat) peaceful career, so I have no experience at all, other than the attorneys make out fine financially and not all attorneys are to be “trusted” as I have learn firsthand.
Also was told, in person, a group of owners wants to force a close of my business, buy the assets at auction, and then resell or license to a larger group. My response was that if these “Wizards” have a positive deal ready, in writing, to now show the hand, tell the group (under NDA) and not wait. Could be a longterm “win-win”. My goal is to complete these pinball machines and of course listen to all ideas to move it along in a good fashion.
I have copied my advisor on this as well, as a “very good” friend and legal guru since day one. My goal was to make good pinball machines for people, the pinball community that have supported me with kudos and funds my whole career, but it has not been the journey as I thought. But ultimately I understand I am the guy at the top and accountable. I do not have all the “correct” answers today, I am very sorry but still 100% on it as I speak.

#7169 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Pretty sure if you can find a post that's more worked up than that one it's probably in this thread too.
I think I probably wrote that post after talking to people who were personally getting the run around from John and just couldn't stand seeing friends and people I respected getting the shaft over and over from this guy. Yes, I do feel a little sorry for him.

JPOP is a few balls short of a multiball. I don't feel sorry for him at all. I might feel sorry for the guy who over-promised on something for $50, or maybe even $500. When you take a million plus of other peoples' money, you just have to goddamn deliver and be a professional. To be flippant with that amount of cash, not have a plan to deliver and not discipline oneself to meet schedules and customer expectations is criminal to me. You have a responsibility to a lot of people for a lot of money and there's no excuses. Good intentions don't cut it. Pinside is a bunch of meanies, doesn't cut it. Claiming to work 14 hours a day doesn't cut it. Only delivering cuts it. He shouldn't have wandered over to the deep end of the pool.

I wouldn't pay him to build me a hamburger.

#7176 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

He was estimating shipment and delivery in 4th quarter of 2013.
True, I don't think he's committing fraud, but he is in breach of contract. If he can not deliver pins in a reasonable time (I mean some time soon) than he's totally misrepresented his capability.
What is a "Breach of Contract"?
A business contract creates certain obligations that are to be fulfilled by the people or companies who entered into the agreement. In the eyes of the law, a party's failure to fulfill an end of the bargain under a contract is known as a "breach" of the contract. Depending on the specifics of the contract, a breach can occur when a party fails to perform on time, does not perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or does not perform at all.
What Happens After a Contract is Breached?
When a breach of contract happens (or when a breach is alleged), one or both of the parties may wish to have the contract enforced on its terms, or may try to recover for any financial harm caused by the alleged breach.
If a dispute over a contract arises and informal attempts at resolution fail, the most common method used to resolve contract disputes and enforce contracts is through lawsuits and the court system. If the amount at issue is below a certain dollar figure (usually $3,000 to $7,500 depending on the state), the parties may be able to use "small claims" court to resolve the issue.

In Illinois, Small Claims goes up to 10k.

Breach or fraud is debatable but the bottom line is still the same: no money and no game. Regardless of which it is, you should fight for you money the same way: tooth and nail. If he's truly just a good guy who got in over his head, then history will be a kinder judge.

#7178 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

I'm not an artist or a genius nor claim to be, but I think given 5-6 month of 70 hrs of work a week, the time since Expo. I could probably build a shooting pinball machine with ramps and magnet tricks. Basically he's talking about what would be equivalent to a year of 'normal work' When people say they work 36-40 hrs a week, they call that a full time job, so someone working 70 hrs a week is basically working 2 full time jobs.
Now, true my game would not be anything special, but it would be playable. Now take that time and add the 2 years prior John had to lay the groundwork. (if you believe he's working 2 full time jobs, that's 5 years of possible time by a master pinabll builder with 30+ years in the industry, you would expect to see a playable game or three by now).
I'm not saying Ben made it look easy, but Ben destroyed all the "building pinball is hard" excuse doesn't fly. I know it's hard, but John, you are the one that wanted to do it, and you are the one with 30+ years in the industry. If Ben can do it in half the time, I don't know what's keeping John from making his pins.

Actually, it's closer to four years.


#7366 4 years ago

Everybody knows...

#7545 4 years ago
Quoted from gweempose:

When John expanded into the adjacent space, it made sense since it was going to be used as an assembly area for the games. Now that so much time has passed and a single game hasn't been built, it was clearly just another utterly foolish decision in a long line of foolish decisions.

He probably used the same logic as people who buy exercise equipment: "if I buy the Flexmaster 9000, surely I'll get in shape". Then of course, after using it once and the euphoria of the new purchase subsides, it gets forgotten.

#7546 4 years ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

BTW...I never, never, never have been paid in full for a project before it was completed....customer always holds minimum of 10-20% until I'm done! and customer happy....just how normal bus works...
That's why alien was a reasonable approach for me. Minimal deposit, not a penny more until my machine is being built ( per Andrews terms)....seems reasonable to show commitment to a machine I want....my deposit certainly didn't buy his C&C machine, factory, Staff, materials, engineering, art, etc.
Just my way to show my seriousness/ commitment, and he can gauge production on #s as such...a 180 from what has been displayed in "Boutique" land ( starting to hate that term)....mark

Skit-B claimed to do the same, which was the only reason I jumped on-board. It was 250 to reserve a spot, then when your game was on the floor being built, about half, then the rest when it was ready to ship.

About 18 months later, he asked for the half, but there was no evidence he had the means to build machines, nor that mine was being built. That's when I dropped out and got a refund, because I realized if I stayed in at that point it was a pure gamble with several thousand dollars. Nope, too rich for my blood.

Not suggesting this will happend with Andrew but just saying that line has been played before.

#7722 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Agreed. Video or bust! What's the hold up? Takes minutes to upload a YouTube. I could take a video of writing this post and follow up with another one in 5 minutes showing me writing it.

Fine, here is a MG video.

#7791 4 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

I'm sure the limited numbers are about as reliable as the promise that Ben would come to your house.


#8052 4 years ago
Quoted from ChadH:

What would you get out of this? The KISS slide show from MGC 2014 and some Magic Girl animations?

You'll find his patent application for "Spherical ice-based object residing in extremely high-temperature environment".

#8053 4 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

his advisors will likely tell him not...

How delightfully optimistic of you.


#8393 4 years ago
Quoted from Ronnie1114:

There is a game.

Yeah, and it's called "Pre-Order Roulette"

#8777 4 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

I wonder what, if anything, of what he's doing now to hustle these games out couldn't have been done a year or more ago?

He was busy watering his garden with Brawndo.

#8938 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

pinballnut3 hits the nail on the head. Each show you go to eats up multiple games worth of profit, not to mention time.

That was a red flag for me with Skit-B. Why are they dragging the game, which is already behind schedule, to every show under the sun when it's already sold out and has to be costing them a couple thousand minimum per show to do so? And on top of that, it went down at almost every show! Each show appearance was hurting their reputation.

The most optimistic conclusion is incompetence. The realistic conclusion is they're stalling for some reason.

#9781 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Are you prepared to spend 10k on a legal retainer? I should say "waste"
Try and find a lawyer that will represent you on a % basis. Come on, let's get real here. There is no choice

This is not legal advice, but...

You would not need to do this. Small claims in Illinois goes up to 10k. Someone sued and won a judgement from Skit-B in small claims. It's a very straightforward breach of contract, no lawyer needed: he's exceeded all dates in the original contract and he's admitted in the recent email he can't produce the machines. Open and shut.

At this point, it's every pinhead for themselves. Jpop will likely go bankrupt and you want to be at the front of the line with a judgement claim, and not in the crowd hoping for loose change that falls out.

#9877 4 years ago
Quoted from rommy:

Pinside has played a part in all this. It has helped facilitate two of the largest scams in pinball history. Something should change.

Actually, Magic Girl was first offered back on RGP. We should blame Usenet?

I don't mean to belittle what many of you are going through but the exact same thing happened in the Skit-B thread: calls that mods should somehow 'vet' anyone who wants to sell something via pinside to ensure legitimacy. Now that the castle has crumbled, people look for someone - anyone - to blame. It's human, but it won't help you get your money back (if that possibility exists). Jflop is the one to blame.

#9893 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

How do you know? Do you think he will sit back and take default judgments? I don't think so.
Doesn't cost much to file general denials and guess what, it will probably come from whatever is left of our money. How do you like that one?
And if he does take a default judgment he's thrown in the towel and has nothing. He is being sued personally, prepare to spend a bundle going after him

That's what several people said about Skit-b. Someone finally went out to Michigan and sued Kevin Kulek in small claims and won.

Personally, I'd rather go down swinging than justify doing nothing.

#9991 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

So here's my concern, how in fact DID he spend so much money?
Since I no longer give a damn, consider this: Pinball designers got six figures 20 years ago when things were good. Did John pay himself this? He sure loved to talk about the old Williams days like a jock who got fat reminiscing about the high school football team.
Take a salary like that, times four years, add in the SS, medicare, unemployment etc that would go along with it (likely paid by the company before his salary, not afterwards like self employed) You could be at half a million pretty quickly.

I would guess that's part of it, as well as spending money frivolously. He might have overpaid on rent, contractors and so on, as is common when using other peoples' money. He threw up web sites left and right. Patented and trademarked everything under the sun. Trips to shows. Developing ideas ($), such as the pinball school, but never converting them to revenue streams.

I think there's still money there, but he knows it's end game time and the lawsuits will come, which is why he stopped paying vendors and started running out the clock. Whatever acorns are left he's been storing for the winter.

#10065 4 years ago
Quoted from bounoun:

IF the working prototype ever gets made it better be the best pinball machine ever created. I dont see this happening.

You don't go from bombing a project and producing nothing, to the best machine ever created. What? Is Bagger Vance going to magically appear in Jpop's shop and tell him, "We got to get your flip back!" That kind of stuff only happened in 80s movies. The fat kid is not going to dunk on the jock and get the cheerleader in a power-rock montage at the end.

#10159 4 years ago

This is goofballs.

First a ridiculous letter by Jpop, with ridiculous terms, then an immediate extension of the deadline a few days later.

This is already a sign of a lack of competence.

#10402 4 years ago

Pulling directly from the Skit-B playbook, we're now in the "finger-pointing" stage of grief.

#10592 4 years ago

It's a difficult thing for people, who bought in on emotion and faith, and now have to make the transition to examining the nuts and bolts of a potential solution, to figure the viability of it. Just don't forget who is to blame.

#10596 4 years ago
Quoted from Drano:

I fully agree.
I don't blame the licensees in the least. As many have said, having options is better than none at all.
I'm simply curious how 'real' this option may be and how much insight Mr. Brandes and co truly have into John's state of affairs.
I think we all know that Pintasia doesn't HAVE to do any of this and that this entire situation rests squarely on JPOPs shoulders

How "real" is this offer?

You have to assess your own risk. Ask yourself the tough questions. Can they do this? If so, why? What is the proof? What is the track record? If they fail, what guarantees do they provide?

Then you have to decide if the risk is worth it for you.

#10806 4 years ago
Quoted from roc-noc:

My 3 payments for Raza where all by check.
My 1 payment for AIW was by PayPal in 2014.

If you, and any others, paid via paypal using your credit card, you should immediately file for a charge-back. Many victims of Skit-B were able to get full or partial refunds this way.

You'll need to open a dispute with paypal first, but if the pp dispute fails you can then take it to your cc company.

People who paid with Amex seem to have the greatest chance of success.

#10837 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I'm curious, since some people have said they don't want any part of MG at 16k with 199 of those, and don't want a stripped down 10k version, is there anybody in the group that IS willing to go for the 16k version of MG?
Not talking about the current paid up MG people, the RAZA and AIW folks?
Maybe after all the dust settles there will actually only be 50 or so 16k MG's made if Bill can pull it off.
How about the resale market and product support?
How much of the pinball market is automatically removed as a buyer now and in the future for resale just because Jpop did it?

16k is about double what the current LE or JJP goes for. Without rarity, or the inclusion of a 1k/night hooker, and considering the taint of the Jpop pedigree, I don't see a market for this game.

#10879 4 years ago
Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

199 is the hard max limit as it gives everyone a chance, if they want, from the other games to transfer.
If demand isn't there for all 199 they won't make them.
Could only make the original 19 if interest isn't there.

Then the game will have unknown rarity. If the rarity is unknown, it's not a factor in the purchasing decision, just the merits of the game itself. Is the game itself worth 16k?

#11092 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

I don't think anybody is seriously questioning your desire to want to make rights out of the wrongs. Don't take our skepticism as any indication we want you to fail.

I question it. Everyone should question it. Not on the negative assumption that they're out to screw you but because it's always the prudent thing to do. Basing judgments on desires and intents is what allowed this situation to reach the point it did. People thought Jpop and Kevin had their hearts in the right place, so they stopped asking the tough questions. Now a new party says their heart is in the right place.

In fact, the only way this thing will get off the ground is if people DO ask the tough questions, and get satisfactory answers.

Quoted from Skins:

I have heard this question asked directly of Bill several time here as of late. He has yet to answer it. In my experience, there are very few reasons why a direct question isn't answered directly. The lion's share of those reasons aren't to the benefit of the person asking the question.

This is a good example.

#11149 4 years ago
Quoted from Russo121:

Man, I just read this whole thing and this makes the whole skit-b nightmare seem like a bad day at the hairdressers.

Particularly when you consider that most paid by check so no charge-back protection, and that in some cases the dollar amounts are 150 - 400% that of Predator. Guess Jpop thinks on a grander scale of fuckery than Kevin...

#11198 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

I think the question everybody should be asking is:
"What are the exact terms of your deal with Zidware?"
"You appear to have most of the assets of that operation, and there are 100+ people who paid for what you have in your possession, that you owe an explanation to on how you got it?"

#11216 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

It's funny how this thread has over 11,000 posts, and really no one has even spent a moment speculating about the rules. How the game will shoot. Anything that's the actual "pinball" part.
It sort of tells the whole story really.
I guess we'll find out soon enough either way.

That's how Skit-B went down. Earlier on people did discuss features and gameplay. As the project began tipping tipping tipping NOSEDIVE people stopped talking about whether or not it would be any good in favor of whether or not it would even get made.

Notice, also, no one is talking about post-sales support. If you have another JJP lightboard scenario, what's the outcome?

I think people have the sense this is a hail mary but I'm not sure if they realize how far back the goal posts have moved. Right now they look pressed up against the nacho stand in the upper deck.


#11229 4 years ago

No doubt G

Quoted from jwo825:The line art is amazing. Heck, everyone can agree that ZombieYetti is amazing. But, what the hell is up with the color palette on these games? Did John limit it to colors you could find in a box of sidewalk chalk?

Yeah, it's sort of Cirqus Atomic Zombie Adventure.

I don't think he's using the RGB palette. Looks more like the LSD...

#11256 4 years ago
Quoted from sturner:

I believe that was the local police and the reason was that no one in the State of Michigan had filed a complaint. The FBI would handle the out-of-state claims.
There is no harm in filing a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General (https://ccformsubmission.ilattorneygeneral.net/). Enough complaints would spark an investigation and for Illinois' many flaws, they are decent at going after consumer fraud. This does not cost anything but perhaps some time.
Also many of the people who are out money are out under $10,000. They can file in small claims court and don't really need a lawyer for that.

Currently, as of this moment, there is no case against Kevin either through local PD or the FBI.

However, some local MI people have now stepped up so it's possible the local investigation may move forward again.

#11353 4 years ago
Quoted from deeproot:

There have been numerous posts in this thread regarding deeproot®, its business model, operations, funding (or supposed lack thereof), and/or financials. None of these posts are correct. None of the posters have any connection with deeproot®, any knowledge thereof, and are making assertions that are defamatory and false. deeproot® and deeproot® alone has the ability and sole legal right to make assertions of fact on its behalf. Other than the posts made herein by this account (deeproot), we do not choose to do so at this time. Regards,


#11354 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:


Damn you.

#11389 4 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

I, literally, had to recently take about five days off this thread for my own sanity . . . and it is actually my job to read it . . . this thread sometimes makes me feel like I just ate some bad mushrooms.
Some of us moderators are going to need counseling services before this is all said and done it seems.


#11833 4 years ago

hahahaha I recognize this Sabrina Wei woman. I did the sunday pinball school at PAGG and she was in my group. I taught her how to nudge and slide save.

#11849 4 years ago
Quoted from sturner:

So is that really the person in those stories/videos because the Pintasia person seemed to imply it was not?

I believe so. In my pinball school class she said "we came all the way from Canada". That's what tipped me off it might be her: Canada, Asian Name, Female, Pinball, Pin a Go Go. That venn diagram has very little intersection...

Plus I heard from someone about the JPOP rescue deal at the show, a few days before you all heard about it here.

I only saw the FHRM or whatever vid, but that's definitely her.

#11886 4 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

Well, here's something that'll cheer you guys up. Something that was crowdfunded and finished!
» YouTube video

The greatest of all time. ALL TIME

#11917 4 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

These are not personal attacks. These are documented facts, and warnings to the pinside community to NOT hand their money over to someone with a history of fraud, or at least being closely associated. The fact that it has to be explained repeatedly like saying "don't take candy from strangers" is very tiring, and I have now experienced having to painstakingly explain the obvious red flags and bring them to the forefront first with Predator, then with JPop and now with Pintasia. Each time is a huge battle against people who refuse to believe there might be something wrong.


Associated with a ponzi and now supposedly an investment banker?

I think this thread just activated 4x facepalm scoring.

When people don't want to face reality, facts become insults.

#12049 4 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

Tedder associate Sabrian Wei working on resume - OffshoreAlert
http://www.offshorealert.com › Forum › Old Message Board
Little history on Sabrina Wei. Director of International Heritage which was a Ponzi scheme that faced action by the SEC. Its leader Stan Van Etten was featured ...
Did you know she was a part of another ponzi scheme as Director of International Heritage?
I mean this is a serial history of ponzi schemes, not a one-off. How did you select her as a business partner? Did you see her resume?

Exactly. This is a damned if you did, damned if you didn't scenario. If Pintasia did know about her involvement, it throws serious doubt as to their intentions and credibility. If they didn't know this about her involvement, it throws serious doubts as to their competence. Broken english/bad grammar replies and a botched reveal with ridiculous legal terms also add to this fire.

Now we're also getting the "sorry I've been working 18 hour days and don't have time to respond to these things". Now, who do we know that used that line a lot... Again, damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you don't have time now, where is the time going to come from when these things are being manufactured and they require 5x more time?

What you all do is up to you, but as an impartial outsider, I know I'd be running far, far away from this and pursuing my own avenues for restitution. Pennies on the dollar is still better than losing thousands more. None of the moves I've seen are confidence-inspiring, and in fact, the opposite. They don't paint a picture of a group who can get the job done.

#12097 4 years ago
Quoted from dgarrett:

Geez Honch - Bill is a good guy. He has a good reputation. Pinside has become RGP. Most of these posts are negative. Ive only counted about 3 of the last 100, that at most said, hey we might have a shot lets see what unfolds until June 30.
The ponzi scheme theory is BS. That's the truth.
A ponzi scheme takes new investments and promises a bigger return that is possible - you all a promised the the same return - a game - no more, no less.

Exactly, and I said as much in the Vonnie D thread. I mean, Vonnie D dabbled in synthetic narcotics and is facing a 20 year stay in the big house but what does all that have to do with building pinballs? Nothing. And Vonnie D is the best chance we have of seeing Pinball Gremlins get made. I just wish people would listen to what Vonnie has to say and stop all the negativity. What he did in the past has nothing to do with the present.

#12233 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinballs:

Jpop is not going to get away with this scot free. The money is only partly why we're litigating... What Jpop has done is appalling! I think we're all aware what the chances are of recouping our money from this gentleman.
I may have lost $20k, but I can live without it. Never invest what you can't afford, and all that. But it also raises the point- having lost $20,000 thanks to Mr Popadiuk, why would I give a toss about another $500 loss?
To paraphrase Mick Jagger- "I wanna get some satisfaction". Bring it on.

Yes, and there's also the possibility of exposing his lackluster accounting and business practices, which if not in line with corporate requirements, could expose his personal assets to compensate creditors. Would those things pay everyone back? No, but they would put John in a studio apartment sleeping on a futon.

#12236 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

Take John to the NW show, and have a charity Dunk Tank he has to sit in.
All proceeds go to the MGRAZAAIW relief fund.

Five minutes after your post, Jpop filed patents for water and gravity.

Dunk the Dummy, indeed.

#12258 4 years ago
Quoted from zombieyeti:

Sooo, on a positive note thought I'd share this as I reminisce through what files I still have access to
I actually did each character and element separately as vector art knowing john might move things around or pull pieces for reuse. Was quite an undertaking to keep my process as natural as possible. I first did this on KISS and finally perfected it here so I wouldn't loose anything in the translation... Was pretty proud of it anyway...
Carry on...

I dunno... it's good but I prefer photoshop stuff.


#12309 4 years ago
Quoted from zombieyeti:

I appreciate the support man
I do and I do
Zombieyeti.com - portfolio (in need of updating)
Zombieyeti.bigcartel.com (prints and stuff)

Really cool stuff, nice!

#12310 4 years ago
Quoted from TaylorVA:

Zombie yeti is also on IG and is pretty active. I co-hosted a One and Done podcast last night and the theme was positive things in the hobby. Of course we had to bring Jpop up but the silver lining is having an artist like Zombieyeti now on the pinball radar. Amazing work and hope we do see it on a real production game soon.

Custom translites would be cool for many games. Or maybe some re-themes. It seems to be forgotten these days but way before Donnie did Metallica he did Hellacopters and the original Metallica re-theme of Earthshaker.

#12555 4 years ago
Quoted from Frankster:

Is it just me, or is Pint-Asia apropos? A pint of blood, going to asia. Laughable almost.

Annnnnnd.... ignore button.

#12561 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

Good point - all I know it what Bill is telling here in this thread. I don't expect the contract to be published on pinside. Why does Bill/Pintasia need to disclose the details in public? Proof will be in the game shown at NW show, and what Bill can provide us with re: info on a manufacturer deal and vendors getting paid. Actions are the only things that matter.

Why? Because people have been SCREWED.

So someone comes along and says, "I just want to help pinball", and people ask themselves rightly, "Why should I trust these people? What's in it for them?"

Who in their right mind would take on the massive task of starting up a pinball manufacturing business, something which almost killed JJP, out of the goodness of their hearts? Oh, and then there's the little problem of a member of their staff being tied to numerous ponzi schemes.

Yes, actions are what matter. So why don't they take the ACTION to disclose the deal or confront the ponzi scam allegations head on, not just a weak ass "well, I didn't know about that"? The fact they aren't even willing to be fully transparent about their relationship with the guy who SCREWED the people they hope to be future customers? That's a big problem and if doesn't send your red flags and alarm bells waving and clanging, call your local tech cause your bullshit alarm is obviously broken.

#12639 4 years ago
Quoted from pinballrockstar:


I bet if zombieyeti made a "Jpop makes me hurl" shirt it would sell a lot. Like a guy with a pinside cap barfing into an empty MG cabinet.

Don't do it, though. Would hurt your future employment chances.

But it would sell a lot.

#12799 4 years ago
Quoted from sevenrites:

I'm having trouble understanding how all of the personal attacks people are waging against each other here are helping to get this issue any closer to being resolved.

Same EXACT thing happened with Predator. People feel powerless to do anything against Jpop so they vent their anger on each other.

#12803 4 years ago

Pretty epic posting by the Iceman. Holy crap.

Iceman you should change your avatar.


#12815 4 years ago
Quoted from jarjarisgod:

Terrible idea. Pinside wouldn't be the same without Ice's occasional drunk posting binges.

It should just tag your posts with your current BAC. Then before you hit 'Post', it says, "Dude, you're wrecked. Are you really, really sure? You're probably taking whatever the hell it is way too seriously."

[Post Anyway] [Sleep it Off]

#12979 4 years ago
Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

yeah, that will happen


#12988 4 years ago
Quoted from zombieyeti:

At the risk of derailing this thread - I'm going to try to recoup some of my losses from JPOP and I have permission to make prints and sell art from my work all by myself. (Like a big boy!)
So, not trying to shill here - but I'm selling a signed & numbered edition of 50 AIW prints based on the artwork created for the near final Back Glass. Hang it on your wall like me an weep quietly in a corner of the room!
And I SWEAR I won't interfere or try to sell my wares any further here - just knew some folks wanted it to happen & I made it so
If I clear my debt on these (MG is coming after this sells through) I want to do a free run for owners with any profits past the amount John owes me...

Your url is wrong. It is causing great harm.

#13002 4 years ago

I bought two.

So if someone doesn't get one, that was my douchey prick self. It will be in the raffle at PAGG next year.

#13028 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

I've got the Downfall files, I could make one.

No need to Popadiuk the wheel.


#13030 4 years ago
Quoted from Coyote:

I blame you. I got the message late, and now they're sold out.

Wow. I figured they would sell out but that was like an hour.

#13036 4 years ago
Quoted from statsdoc:

This would be worth waiting for if there is a possibility. Any chance of this Zomb?

If he drew a picture of Jpop and put it on dart boards and toilet paper, he'd make a million.

#13077 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

» YouTube video

"Or who would want a game starring an out of shape, balding ginger?"

Holy shit. Greatest ever.

#13111 4 years ago
Quoted from zombieyeti:

Nope - was ANOTHER machine pitch I was told. Only spent a few days sketching on it - but it must have been 2013ish? I hope it didn't fall thru because of my lack of copper-sexy-field-ness

Maybe. I only managed a semi.

#13114 4 years ago

For those of you haven't read about it yet, several Predator pre-orderers appear to be receiving refunds to their paypal accounts. Prior to this, some were successful with charge-backs through their credit cards, but now it appears that Skit-B is actually processing the refunds. Fingers crossed everyone gets made whole, and though it's not related to jpop, maybe there's still hope of people getting some money back.

#13153 4 years ago


Quoted from rosh:

latest info is that Kevin (and his Lawyer) were NOT behind these refunds. Unclear why paypal has been doing it. His lawyer keeps saying he is still planning on making the games and they are working through the details. If you do believe he will make these games, I have some ocean front property in Idaho for sale that you may be interested in, both Atlantic and Pacific views are still available, but they are going fast, so don't delay.


The refund situation, not that prime real estate you're offering.

#13286 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Learn something every day!
Didn't know that

Yes, all carriers have this. Vtext appears to be Verizons?

Here's AT&T's: http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB63037&cv=820

I have this setup on some critical systems at work, like the battery backup. If it activates, it sends an email to my mobile text number. That way I know when there's a power outage.

#13302 4 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

What's the premise of Magic Girl? Who is she and what is the "story" of the pin/gameplay? How does the Owl play into the story?

Obviously the girl has sex with the owl.

#13600 4 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

My car cost half the price of Magic Girl.

My car cost ALL the price of a Magic Girl. New '07 Sentra was 16k out the door when all was said and done. And you can't hit the drive-thru at 2am with a pinball game.

#13611 4 years ago

We'll see more video later today.

I would suggest if the flips are deliberately weak to crank them up to normal and make at least one video of the game being played that way, or you can expect the same backlash as WOZ got at PPE.

It's like when you show up to a first date wearing a dirty T-shirt. It doesn't matter that you've got a Porche in the garage, there ain't gonna be a second date for her to ever see it.

#13691 4 years ago
Quoted from jrivelli:

I think it's still processing to hd but here's another » YouTube video

Ha! That first player is my buddy snikrap. Sadly, I think he's in for both MG and RAZA.

#13701 4 years ago
Quoted from jrivelli:

I think it's still processing to hd but here's another » YouTube video

Hmm... thanks for this video. I've seen three vids of gameplay so far and not one ramp shot.


#13724 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

He has a half-finished prototype, there's legal action all over the place, his deal with JPop is as "top secret" as Zidware's normal dealings, his first attempt to negotiate with customers was to have them waive any and all liability to proceed further, there are reports he has business associates who have a shady past

"shady past"? Actually, it's shady *present*. Look at the dates on the videos posted regarding the DFRF Enterprises "IPO". It was only about a month ago. This isn't something that went down five or ten years ago, but last month.

I'm honestly perplexed why these revelations have not caused more of a shock here. Is it because people are so desperate to see a game? Is it because after all the failed reveals, lies, etc., one more lie is no big deal?



#13786 4 years ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

I'm curious, alright...Curious why someone that has paid for either of these machines hasn't brought a receipt and law enforcement to claim them. I have nothing financial involved, but view it as a blatant insult to fellow Pinsiders to have paid for a game and have a version " rubbed in their face" at a trade show .
Admit, it is really infuriating to read, as a lot of people invested hard earned money in good faith, and something like this happens.....and it is getting praise? Wtf.....

Outside of the art, it hasn't gotten much praise. In fact, it's been a pretty disappointing reveal.

#13878 4 years ago
Quoted from someoneelse:

Now it seems that someone with the necessary financial potential and business competence has stepped in and is trying to evaluate if the IP is worth going for, if there is still enough interest in the machine, if it is feasible and what it would take to produce the machine. Thus the presentation & the "offer" to the original prepayers.

You had me till here. Nothing this new party's done has showed competence. The offer is poor, the terms are poor, their staff is shady - possibly criminal, their introduction and transparency are poor, and their reveal was poor. What have they done that has you convinced all that amounts to "business competence"?

#13882 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Seriously guys. Where are the RED One 4k videos, with controlled lighting and boom mics? And is it really too much to ask to have David Attenborough narrate the footage? So very disappointed in you all.

Pinballrockstar has a point. Supposedly Bill and co. have already stuck 100k into this. And they want victims and new business to stick lots more in. But it was a 4th and 40 field goal kick with 1 second on the clock to even get this thing to the show. You'd think springing a couple thousand for someone with a decent camera to shoot some good video and put this game in the very best light, would be sort of a no-brainer.

#13883 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

Doesn't there come a point where there is too big a mess that it's easier to start over from scratch? I mean use some of Yeti's art but scrap all the mechanisms and ramp that don't work and design a pinball machine that shoots nice (like AcDc or TOM or TAF). This jumble of mechanisms seems to be cosmic chaos overload.


#13908 4 years ago
Quoted from rai:

I'm dubious on all the 'claimed' money spent. How has $100K been spent on this pin in the past 30 days?

Me too. And that's why nothing adds up: not the moves they've made, needing a team of volunteers, muddy reveal, etc.

Follow the bouncing ball, people.

#13930 4 years ago
Quoted from zombieyeti:

So I'll say something I've stated to a few since I entered into the pinball fray. imagine what could be accomplished if all the people who love and make pinball worked together for the good of pinball? I don't understand so maybe I shouldn't be involved with it at all...
I'm seeing a lot of people discount or forget entirely the fact that without yourself and many others working with Bill - this machine would still be in parts at Zidware.


Don't take it all too personally. Their efforts are very commendable and clearly driven by their passion. I think there aren't many people who question that. Don't confuse questioning the product - the final outcome for which they're being asked to put up many thousands of dollars - with respecting *some* of the peoples' efforts. (Emphasis on *some*, because I'm far from convinced that everything is on the up and up with all involved.)

With so much money lost, the very worst end-game scenario is people get conned yet again. The bloodbath at that point would be insane, and I have no doubt that several here who are honestly just trying to help would instantly be converted to "cheerleaders who convinced me to stay in".

I daresay even you would not be immune. Check out the Predator thread. Now some are suggesting the cabinet maker has some cash and culpability. When these things go south, "proximity is 9/10's of the blame".

People are being harsh on the game and the deal, and they should be. We're not talking about a limited run of 50 prints for less than $50 apiece. We're talking life-changing money for some. The deal and game should be beaten, kicked, and tortured, and if it weathers the storm, it may be worth your money. That's due diligence, not evidence of lack of trust, being a hater or wanting it to fail.

If not, at least be 100% honest with yourself that you're gambling. You're flipping a coin.

#13967 4 years ago
Quoted from sturner:

I know making a pinball machine is expensive, but I am really confused as to where the money went. If this prototype was filled with a bunch of unique features and toys, I could undertand how you'd blow through all that money. But it's pretty bare bones.
Then throw in the fact that he wasn't paying for the programming, wasn't paying for the artwork, and wasn't paying other vendors. Was he just paying himself a 6-figure salary to sit around and play arts and crafts a few hours a week?

No, he *stopped* paying the artists, vendors, etc. It's pretty apparent for the first few years he was paying people.

#13984 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Does anybody here really think Bill is knocking over the pinball Fort Knox! Come on. He's blown $$$ in an attempt to do something fun.

You know this for certain why?

Quoted from iceman44:

He doesn't need the $$ and why he wants the headache is beyond me.

You know this for certain why?

I'm not being negative, I'm honestly asking how you know these things.

#14006 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Seriously, this is making me laugh out loud!
You really can't figure out the profitability of this fiasco at this point. Wow

To me, I don't see a profit. That's the point. That's why I'm asking questions.

I do, and have done, "good" things for the pinball community. I've run nearly 50 tournaments, helped out at every single pinball show in my area since 2009, started a pinball map, done lectures and outreach and so on, all volunteer and "for fun". More, I know many similar people in pinball, including the principals who run the shows.

I'm not patting myself on the back, but illustrating I'm pretty freaking wired in to the part of pinball where people help out of their good hearts, and I can't think of a single one (and I know some very rich ones, too) who would take on a JJP 2.0 for "fun". In short, it sounds "too good to be true". It doesn't add up.

I don't know of anyone who signs up to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars or worse, and commits to a multi-year business endeavor out of the goodness of their hearts. We're not talking about orphans or cancer victims, but pinball games.

This is why I'm questioning your assumptions. You are assuming a significant financial sacrifice on his part that to my knowledge hasn't been validated.

I'm sure it must be seductive to imagine a rich guy swooping in to provide a magic solution to this situation. Suddenly a savior appears and it's tempting to get on board. But I also know that people who have been kicked emotionally and financially in the balls are susceptible to strangers with ice packs. And the moment they take their hands off their nuts to reach for that ice pack, sometimes they get an ice pack and sometimes they get a second kick in the balls.

Now ask yourself this question: why does a guy do things "for the community" or "for fun" have a co-pilot tied to ponzi scams, and who just made a video LAST MONTH for said ponzi scams? "At least they're doing something to get these made" doesn't answer the question.

#14019 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

For F's sake, would you spend a dime on this shitfest? Seriously, I really don't know what people don't get about what Bill is trying to do here. Can we stipulate that Bill has spent something? Yes or no. $10 at least?
For the people that have ZERO at stake, how about giving him a break until June 30th?
I get you love pinball jonnyo, but seriously, you guys question something as it is trying to get started and then bury it before it even has a chance.
Can we be clear here, it's over, so all the thrill seeker looky lou's that are grinning from ear to ear can stick a fork in it.
At least give the man a few weeks to make himself clearer. If he does the right thing, he'll pull the plug, then all of you petty jealous types can go back to feeling good about the situation and suing John.

I know it will put me on your shitlist but there's nothing significant about June 30 as far as the questions being asked. There's no reason the questions about the zidware contract or his staff can't be addressed before then. More, answering those questions to the positive satisfaction of those involved is to their advantage as it would build trust in what they're trying to do. Not doing so breeds suspicion.

I know how I might come off to you right now, and all I can say to that is the same part of my personality that made me want to volunteer running events, volunteer at shows and so on likewise doesn't want to see my fellow players, and especially my friends, get a second bowl full of shit.

#14027 4 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Don't worry, there won't be one. I don't like to eat shit either. Although plenty of others like to watch it from the sidelines, which is a disgrace like Yeti said.
I applaud your pinball involvement, you seem like a really good guy.


Well, I admit I like to watch too. It's like reality tv, but actually real, and I get to participate, instead of just shouting at the tv "don't sleep with him you dumb bitch!"

And anyway, I bought two of Yeti's AIW prints so now I have skin in the game. I pre-ordered after all.

#14046 4 years ago
Quoted from JoelOmatik:

I don't have time to sift through the last ten pages, but did anybody notice what appears to be giant air bubbles underneath the Mylar? The ball looked like it was moving in a "lumpy" fashion around the center area. Similar to flattening air bubbles in a phone screen protector.

Yes, it was an overlay, not a printed playfield.

#14052 4 years ago

Let me throw this out there. A little thought experiment.

Let's say you are, Bill, the head of the rescue effort. You know pre-orderers have been burned and are upset and uncertain. You know they have questions and you know they want to at least see, if not play the game. You also know the internet is watching closely. You have two or three weeks to prepare. You know the reveal is critical, and if not pulled off successfully, it could jeopardize the whole project.

What would you do to prepare for and execute the reveal of Magic Girl?

#14147 4 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

Haven't been on for the weekend, so am a bit behind. However I have to agree with this post, it's like if somebody walked into their house and caught someone looting the place but they were so busy arguing with their wife they just completely ignored him while he slowly slipped out the front door. That is how I see Bill Brandes exiting this project.

When it was fully disclosed that Kevin Kulek didn't have a license for Predator and the project was effectively dead, a surprisingly large number of people didn't get mad at Kevin, but got mad at those who they felt tipped off Fox. "If you had just kept your stinkin' traps shut, we all woulda got our games!" In other words, the legality of it, or that it wouldn't be a legitimately licensed Predator product, or that Kevin had committed fraud against them, didn't matter to them, long as they got there's.

I'm starting to think a variation of this is going on with regards to MG. "Who cares what shady stuff this Sabrina woman might be doing on the side, as long as we get our games?" But, if that's the case, that's an extremely dangerous gamble on what's already a long-shot situation.

#14175 4 years ago
Quoted from dgarrett:

Why not ask Bill these questions, send him a PM on pinside - I don't understand why the several here asking questions, don't ask bill or Pinstasia directly - my understanding is that owners have a direct contact info to do so. If you don't have a $ in the game, why ask about the deal or Bill's profit projections?

Okay, I did.

As for why I'm asking, I'm not sure why I have to justify questions about pinball on a pinball forum, but fwiw, it's not to see the project fail. If you can point me to a question of mine that is "unfair" in this sense, by all means, and if you're right, I'll apologize. I'm not immune to being too persistent occasionally.

But I don't think that's what it is, at least not mostly. I think my questions are fair but simply bring up inconvenient truths which some would rather just put out of their mind.

#14442 4 years ago


#14510 4 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

PDXMonkey has more credibility and respect from me than all of you sideline standing guttersnipes put together. He has gone above and beyond in his efforts to salvage this project for everyone. Things even the owners group on Facebook are unaware of.
I'm not going into detail but he has found out the hard way about trusting someone he thought was his friend.
And someone else posted a long detailed review many months ago in this thread about playing Magic Girl. I may be able to find it but I'm not going to spend all day.
I am proud to say that PDXMonkey is my friend. A new friend that I have gotten to know very well through out this ordeal.

Kim is right. Same thing happened in the Predator thread. Everybody started targeting the cheerleaders, and it's easy to see why. Kevin Kulek, and now John, are nowhere to be found, and people are upset and want their pound of flesh, so they settle for the "next best thing".

No one other than John took your money. Whatever anyone said "seven months ago" was still well past the promised date of these games and after years of nothing but teaser photos. Hell, the first WTF-I'm-out in all this was when my friend told me had to sign a NDA to get in. Let me get this straight: I pay some guy 10k and I can't talk about it? What kind of goofball baloney is that?

Then he raised the number of MGs (a major screw job for the original 13). Then Ben Heck left the project. Then he announced another game. And then another, even after not delivering game 1. And then he tried to a fourth. Red flags everywhere. Then not returning phone calls and emails. None of the chearleaders had anything to do with that.

Some Predator people are now even saying PINSIDE is partly to blame for everything because they somehow legitimized Kevin's operation by giving him a sub-forum.

At the end of the day, you made the choice to send John money and it sucks, but you got duped by John.

#14533 4 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

We definitely need to keep on top of the other new guys and make sure they are on target. TBL should be watched closely, given the warnings we were given by Phil.

I agree completely about watching TBL like a hawk. I told my friend who is in he should hang on to the refund and buy it when it's actually released. Gambling 10k for a rug isn't worth it.

#14655 4 years ago

If Predator was our Enron, this is definitely our Lehman Brothers/2008 financial collapse. Knowing some had $20k+ in this thing is just staggering.

#14748 4 years ago

Debating the bones
Someone is surely to blame
space in the game room

#14795 4 years ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

I personally wouldn't touch or be near anything Zidware related. The juju is bad on the MG game, too much "blood".


#14922 4 years ago
Quoted from retro_p:

"For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: 'It might have been.'"
John Whittier

Of all the pre-orders by check or paypal
The saddest are these:

Um. Wait, I forgot what I was talking about.

-John Popadiuk

#15113 4 years ago
Quoted from Hitch9:

Ok, I probably don't have the right to say disparaging things about the U.S.
In fact I love being neighbors to the US, my son has married a gal from L.A. And lives in Phoenix, so consider my comments as coming from a "brother in law"- not really in the family but close enough.
Something is terribly wrong with the US judicial system, if someone can rob another's wallet and end up in jail, and all the lawyers, or lawyer wannabes on Pinside, keep saying..nope can't touch John, he's free to go. Maybe I'm too naive.
(Running outside now, to get the garden hose, to douse the flames, that are surely coming)

The guy that stole the wallet a) acted with clear intent to steal, and b) removed the choice of the other person.

In the case of Jpop, he never held a gun to your head, and he did work on pinball stuff.

#15123 4 years ago
Quoted from TecumsehPlissken:

I don't think all of his squirrels are running up the same tree

He was definitely a few coins short of a full credit.

#15146 4 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

That thing I'm working on...
BHZA was going to have a lower PF with rotating "stages". 3 scenes on a circle so it's rotate 120 degrees per cycle. (Flipper and ball mech stay put, area with targets move)
Idea was you were working your way through my lair, you'd beat one "room" them move on. Third "stage" was a Zombie Reactor or something you bash X times to win.
Now everyone knows what the porthole was for - to see a glowing light.

Did you ever think it yourself: "I've finished five things and he's half-way through one thing"?

#15164 4 years ago
Quoted from rommy:

There is a strong possibility for jail time. He had intent to make nothing from the beginning and when the facts come out we will all see that. He just wanted to sell the whole whole package to someone and have them build it. That's not what he told me to get my money. He said he would make them HIMSELF. He even offered to come to my house to complete the machine! Turns out - that was all a lie. See that? It's called intent. He never intended to build these himself and the truth will come out . Using a lie to coerce people out of their money is a crime here in the U.S. . If he is convicted of that he will be sentenced and do some jail time. IMHO , three months in jail would be a big deal to john Popadiuk . I relish that thought...
And let's not forget the beauty of Illinois bankruptcy law soooo much better for us and worse for him than say...Arkansas or California.
Please stop victim blaming. Please stop john Popadiuk mollycoddling. We get that some of you are, for some reason (maybe CYA?) , not interested in John Popadiuk being punished. Please respect the victims that want him to be punished severely for stealing from our families.
Let there be a clear message - if you take money for a pinball project and don't deliver We will try to put you in jail.

If you're serious about this, and given the experience with Kevin/Skit-B, I suspect it would not happen without doing a lot of the legwork to compile evidence of criminal intent and then handing that over to law enforcement and the DA, i.e. they're not going to dig for you.

In the case of Kevin, there are several public statements he made about the license. It's clear as day he lied about it and you'd think that would make it a clear case of fraud, but the FBI and local law enforcement decided not to pursue it. I compiled some here:


Good luck if you do pursue it but I only see a civil suit having a good shot at this point.

#15188 4 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

I would think anyone taking this to court should formerly request a refund, to help their case that no refund was given.

That would very obviously be the first step. Send a certified letter, return receipt, demanding your refund or you will take legal action. Set a deadline of no more than 30 days for acknowledgement of the demand and include your contact information, and 60 days per the contract for receipt. More than likely he won't respond within 30 days and you can start the legal ball rolling.

Even if you plan to join the existing class action, this isn't a bad move to make and will just cost you a few dollars.

#15566 4 years ago
Quoted from rommy:

Anyone who can't see the greatness of John Popadiuk has only lost , or perhaps never got issued , their special pinball whisperer earbuds. When these babies Are used, well, let me tell ya , you simply can't hear reason.
I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to ride in the boat. $6,500 for part way there.


#15586 4 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Has anyone asked why you give 500 to this lawyer guy as well as 25% of any recovery? If john goes into chapter 7 there would be a judge or court appointed trustee to make sure, given the exact same circumstances, everyone has time to submit what they paid in and all (if any) recovered would be pro rata back anyway.

The long and the short of it is that lawyers who get paid tend to do better work.

Besides, it is a less expensive option for most than flying out there for small claims if (big if) they somehow got all their money back, and less hassle.

#15591 4 years ago
Quoted from dgarrett:

Larry is a damn good business man. You produce value, and you get paid. John didn't produce, he shouldn't get paid. Simple.

And.... that's the essential problem with the crowd-sourced and/or pre-order business model. Produce first, then get paid. Not, Get paid, then produce. You know, if you feel like it and the stars align and all that.

When sites like Kickstarter first came along the very first question that came to mind was "What if they don't do the thing you're paying them to do?" Everybody acts like it's some sort of guarantee.

"They say if they don't build it, they refund your money." UM...HOW??

I don't know about the rest of you but I learned this lesson back in the seventh grade when I paid a classmate $5 to swipe one of his dad's porn tapes and I didn't get the tape or my money back.

#15608 4 years ago
Quoted from boo32:

I don't think Bill is trying to dissuade people from suing John, I think he is trying to explain how this will likely play out. Anyone who sues John for breach of contract can win the case because the breach is clear and John has no defense at all. The person suing then has a piece of paper at the courthouse saying Zidware owes him money. That person then can begin proceedings to collect on his judgment from Zidware assets and possibly John's personal assets.
At any time in the proceedings, John can file bankruptcy which will result in any legal action being put on hold. Zidware will file a list of creditors with the court and they will be given notice to make claims. Zidware will also file lists of assets and liabilities and the bankruptcy court will decide how to handle the assets to pay the liabilities.
Zane intends to go after John's personal assets, but that is not an easy thing to do. It typically involves significant amounts being paid to forensic accountants. Although Zane may pay these costs, they have to be re-paid from any recovery along with the costs of the bankruptcy. Zane will have to litigate in the bankruptcy court whether or not the Zidware bankruptcy prevents the litigants from proceeding against John personally.
I think that what Bill is saying is that you really only need enough suits for John to file bankruptcy. Then, everyone can file claims with the bankruptcy court. Given that the bankruptcy distribution will be pro rata and applejuice is owed five figures and Cointaker is owed six figures, there likely will not be much left to pay the people who sent Zidware money to buy games.

Let's say someone had 6500 in on RAZA. This is what it would cost a person to go through Zane:

100% recovered: 6500 * .25 + 500 = 2125
50% recovered: 3250 * .25 + 500 = 1312.50

To file suit yourself, you may or may not get assistance from a lawyer to prepare your case, then you need to file/fees and then travel there, since small claims has to be done local. I assume anyone willing to spend the money on airfaire, hotel and rental car would probably use an attorney so as not to get out there and find out the hard way their case is flawed. I think for most, this would also involve burning some vacation time, not to mention a possible additional uncomfortable conversation with the spouse explaining how you need to fly across the country to go sue John and have to skip little Billy's play, etc.

#15610 4 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

This lawsuit would be over (Default) but the rest of it's not over until JPop files for BK. If he doesn't do that, then the efforts to collect on the Judgment starts.
The funny thing is that even with the quote from JPop that you posted, I still have no idea what he's thinking...

You don't "get what" he's "saying" even though he puts things "in" quotes?

#15691 4 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Honestly, Bill doesn't deserve statements like the above directed at him, Pintasia or any of his work.
He did not owe anyone anything. He took a stab at saving the project, he's not going to advertise all the details of what he was doing while he was in the evaluation stage (that continued until he dropped the project).
Bill exposed the 95% lie of JPop and spent a lot of money to get a prototype out to the public for all to see. I think Bill did a great job, I don't know what he spent evaluating the project but what he did was worthwhile. I never felt he was obligated to reveal any private data.
So what if one of his staff members had some sort of legal issue (honestly, none of us are privy to the details of what was going on), I see no reason to drag that lady through the mud on allegations and I don't believe Bill should be found guilty by a combination of association and speculation. I have a staff member who had a DUI years ago working for me: does that mean I have a problem with alcohol?
I for one would have no problem with Bill if he ever is associated with a pinball startup. Heck, that would lend a ton of credibility in my eyes to the project to have him associated.
Getting that crap prototype (or whatever you want to call it) together was a miracle. Good work on that Bill. Thank you.

Sorry, but this is ridiculous. His head of finance is appearing in a video ONE MONTH before Bill's takeover plan, for an obvious investment scam/ponzi. She's billed as the manager of BC for a company that the BC securities and exchange has issued a warning for. That says either a) Bill knows and doesn't care, or b) Bill didn't know, because he didn't do his homework. Either way, you're going to trust your money with her?

For the work he did and money he spent he deserves some appreciation, but if you ignore the red flags his relationship with this person represents it's to your own peril.

#15705 4 years ago
Quoted from kst8cat:

Well they never even got to the point of asking for additional deposit money, so it's kind of a moot point. Bill could have easily removed her and replaced her if they had decided to move forward with the project, and in my opinion most likely would have, but with the game evaluation going as poorly as it did, there was no need to bother with that or even address people's concerns about it.

True that it's all water under the bridge at this point. I was just responding to Tigerlaw's post implying it was not a problem to begin with. That relationship would have been a boat anchor through the whole thing even if the reveal had gone better.

And as another pointed out, I think people are forgetting the initial ludicrous "new deal" with the non-litigation clause and "new math" of converting RAZA dollars to Magic Girl junk bonds.

Point being, thanks to Bill the game at least got seen but don't rush to elevate him to sainthood.

#15712 4 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

In my view (just my personal opinion) 20 minutes of online research is not enough to base an opinion on someone by and there are always two sides to a story. Also, Bill stated this person would have had a limited role to play in the project so I'm not sure why her association would cloud Bill's good name and reputation in a future project.

You can't say, "Here's my all star team who are gonna fix this mess. Go Voltron force!" and then turn around and say, "Well, you know, she didn't have much to do with it and wouldn't have affected the outcome anyway..."

She's the finance person. She handles the money. Look how Kevin and Jpop screwed the pooch on that. I would say her role would have been important. You need a BOM. You need to pay suppliers on time. You need to manage cash outflows so you don't jpop your way to the poor house. Oh, and a nice cherry on top is you have to resist that nagging urge to, you know, just outright STEAL the money the way every ponzi and HYIP scheme has done in the course of human history.

Yes, there are two sides to every story. And when one party goes quiet when it's their turn at story time, they just told you their side.

#15715 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinterest:

I second that.
So - I have no desire to read 300+ pages to figure this out - can anyone please tell me in no more than 5 words per line and 5 lines total what this thread is about?

I could.

#15828 4 years ago
Quoted from inhomearcades:

Is it possible to have someone who is intently following this thread make a new thread when something actually comes of this whole mess?

That is possible.

#15829 4 years ago
Quoted from rommy:

John said he was going to build these games himself. He even said he would come to your house to complete assembly. He promised to make these himself and we relied an that promise when we gave him money . It was a lie. He never intended to build these himself. He represented that he would build these himself and on that basis victims gave him money.
In addition I paid for RAZA , not for MG to be developed and built. The math now shows he never intended to build MG with MG money but that he had to divert funds from victims, in an Ongoing fashion, in order to keep,the lights on. He intended only to keep going. He never intended to build a machine. That means he lied and sold that lie to convince victims to give him money .

While all this is *likely* true, unless you have a smoking gun, or rather, many smoking guns (emails, witnesses, conversations, movement of money to safe havens, etc) this is virtually impossible to prove. The math alone doesn't prove it.

Remember: Criminal = "beyond reasonable doubt".

You may not like what flynnibus is saying but he's right.

#15917 4 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

Sabrina Wei:
1998 - International Heritage Inc (Class action suits - Ponzi scheme faced action by SEC)
2002 - Worked with Al Petty of Telecom 2000. $3.5M in cheques go missing, Sabrina and Al move to Canada.
2015 Worked for DFRF Enterprises, Canada issues investment fraud warning, (RICO case filed in Massachussetts)
Sabrina Wei, 2015: Hired by Pintasia to manage the money. These are facts. Not opinions. Don't play innocent, trying to be cute about your part in this.

He admitted his fault in this regard. Let it go.

#15939 4 years ago
Quoted from beefzap:

I have seen this enormous thread and looked at it a few times but can't read the whole thing.
So can someone do a short executive summary / cliff notes version of the gist of what is going on here?

Consider a speed-reading class.

#15969 4 years ago
Quoted from Pinballs:

Just a thought, but if someone was planning to go bankrupt, why pay their taxes? .

From what I've seen, in bankruptcy your primary residence is still safe.

1 week later
#16164 4 years ago

Was at the bay area launch party for KISS and ran into a friend of mine. In for 10k to Jfail. He's resigned, by his own words, to take the loss, and "stick his head in the sand", and didn't want to talk about it. You could tell it was a sore subject for him. Who could blame him? But both he and his girlfriend said they didn't go in on KISS because they're "absorbing" the losses.

#16180 4 years ago

Just found this. Maybe Jpop should have watched it to learn how to build pinball machines.


#16409 4 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

The fact that Popadiuk is STILL "working" on AIW (apparently) is absolutely mother-effing outrageous! If JPOP manned up and at least apologized and admitted to effing up and wasting everyone's money then we might be talking about a different story...but the man (no, child) is acting like NOTHING HAS HAPPENED AND IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL!!!! It's just crazy! You can't make this shit up!

It's one of three things: Either he's deliberately obtuse, plain crazy, or his continuing to "make progress" on the game is a hedge in the face of legal activity, which is the most likely.

Regarding the last, Kevin (Predator) did the same. It's a safeguard against the "fraud" accusation. Kevin "claimed to be" still trying to resolve license issues and is "still trying to complete the game" in a small claims not too long ago. Showing a "good faith effort" is a strong defense against fraud.

Jesus, this thread, and now with the Jack thing... I only dabbled in the last golden age of pinball in the early 90s, but in 20 years I can definitely say "Yeah, I was there" with regard to the 2015 pinball meltdown. "Sit down, my boy. Let me tell you..."

#16441 4 years ago
Quoted from markdw:

RIP 16k
Has anyone had any movement with Zane yet?

Anyone else notice this? Not an actual game, just a design! Nothing to see here! Everyone go home!

EDIT: hahaha apparently someone did.


#16445 4 years ago

I found an earlier version of that card.


1 week later
#16712 4 years ago

Probably late to the party, but I see Jpop's site is back up in full bullshit swing. I'm convinced his continuing to "work" on the games and the latest slew of updates is a hedge against fraud litigation.

3 weeks later
#17085 4 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

Am I the only one that would love to see him give a seminar at a show? Imagine if he showed up!

Given what a space case he is, I bet it wouldn't be too difficult to stroke his ego a bit and get him to come to a show.

#17086 4 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Even if you did show up on his doorstep, what are you going to do?
Stand there and get shot?
Break in and get shot?
Get invited in and get shot?
Do you think Jpiss has $10,000 in his pocket and is going to give you a refund on the spot?
I just don't get what good thing people expect to happen when they show up uninvited at someone's house.... especially someone who is crazy.

I get the sense that John is the type of person who will casually fuck you for a million bucks, and doesn't see the wrong in that, but recoils in shock at any sort of physical violence. He seems like the type.

#17118 4 years ago
Quoted from Taxman:

Send a few Dominos Pizzas

hahaha this made me LOL.

I had to work a 16.5 hour day yesterday and the boss bought pizza. A stack of dominos. I are appreciated!

#17119 4 years ago
Quoted from CNKay:

Well I came back to this topic as the girls of Pinball was locked up. Now it looks like this one will be soon too. Sad.
I remember a TV qoute. Someone does you wrong don't put matters into your own hands, take em to court.
Was that judge wapner? Peoples court??

The original People's Court had an awesome theme. Wapner was the man.

#17169 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballHelp:

I was involved in a civil case a few years back that got the FBI involved that did result in several politicians being indicted and imprisoned. But that's a rare situation where a civil case actually brings justice... and even then, it really was the result of some rather heavy-duty activist behavior (that embarrassed the feds into having to take action because the civil case uncovered much more than they were able to discover on their own -- again the act of embarrassing the enforcement branch had more to do with with justice than the actual civil case)
There have been situations where I've been wronged and I've let it go. I had one of my servers hacked into many years ago. I got the FBI involved, we identified the perpetrator, they took the case to the local AG and they refused to prosecute. That was that? Well, that's the way I left it. I could have made it more of an issue but I choose not to. But AGs will prosecute if it becomes an "issue" for them. That's basically what AGs do. They *always* selectively enforce the law, because they don't have the resources to prosecute every wrongdoer.
Look at the guy who got nailed for hacking Sarah Palin's e-mail account. Do you think he was really a serious criminal? Some people made a big stink about that so the authorities had to so something about it. Any case, no matter how big or small, can be one of those cases they choose to prosecute IF there's enough of a movement to pressure the enforcement branch to take action. That's what it comes down to. I'm not arguing that there may not be bigger fish to fry. I'm saying, this fish could be fried if people want it fried.

This is true. If anyone with media chops can get the word out there's a chance it could light a fire.

2 months later
#18179 4 years ago

I've been out of the loop for a couple months. I listened to that podcast (and suffered a neck injury from shaking my head so many times). But am I reading this right? He's at Expo?

1 week later
#18278 4 years ago
Quoted from rommy:

Look - this is too involved and went on for too long. He never intended to make a pinball machine. He spent his time figuring out how to scam the next group of suckers, and like mike said - it worked. Over and over it worked. Maybe at the first he intended to sell to,some big company . But by the time RAZA came around he had figured out it was about getting people to send him money - it was NOT about pinball. I learned a lot and I agree this is an indictment of crowd funding in general. The sad thing for me as well is once you look under the hood - coin op is pretty shady. There are people who use coin op for illegal shit and there are people who are the industry that pander to those interests and this general shadiness trickles into everything. I have had an accounting firm refuse to do the books for our corporations because I have this minuscule pinball hobby that I incorporated! I actually felt fear coming from this guy, like he was told to refuse but was now scared to do so because of what we might be involved in. Ridiculous! Between money laundering , tax evasion , and now crowd funding I would say the silverball has been misused many times. But this JPop guy is special. In the end I bet we will find much more method than madness to this fleecing of the pinball community.

Actually, in the "very big" scheme of things, JPOP is a small fish. He's a big fish in our times (because pinball is small-time these days), but when pinball was making huge sums of money, JPOP doesn't compare.

When Bally was cranking out Bingo Pinballs there was huge mob involvement. People got killed. Operators and sites got shaken down.


1 week later
#18332 4 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Finally read up on this all. What a sad story. Though perhaps a very necessary one for the industry and community.
With regard to this being some kind of intentional fraud or not, I don't really get that vibe. He seems delusional and highly narcissistic. People with these traits, when they get into something, both praise and criticism, success and failure, it all adds to the disconnect between reality and the picture of it they have in their head.

You don't get that vibe? In my experience, people who are delusional and highly narcissistic tend to be those who cheat and defraud others. I definitely get that vibe. I'm not sure what people are expecting when they think "evil sonofabitch", but it rarely comes with a cape and twirly mustache.

#18334 4 years ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

There's a clear question of intent or lack thereof, however. Both from an ethical and legal point of view. There's a difference between him (or anyone) intending to deliver something (even if the whole project is to feed their ego) and never intending to do anything and run off with the money.
If you really believe the intention was to make off with the money, then he's a far more incompetent thief than an incompetent and ill-equipped manager and business owner given the alternative. I know which I think is more likely.

My argument has always been that when the situation involves dollar sums on the magnitude as this (a million bucks) the "Aw shucks, guys, my bad" excuse is not available. You have an obligation to have your shit together or don't go swimming in the deep end of the pool.

But ignoring that for a moment, Jpop knew enough that he knew he had to appear to have his act together to sell the thing: non-disclosure agreements, a printed timeline with milestones and deposit schedule, build blog, partnership with Ben Heck, etc. In hindsight, these all paint the picture of a guy who intended to sell an image but had no real plan outside of selling just the image. In other words, he was selling smoke and mirrors and he was very conscious of it.

Now add to that the guy tinkered in a workshop for four years with a team and still didn't produce a single game. Four years to run the numbers over and over and realize "I need help." Help was offered many times and refused, in fact.

To put that in perspective, Skit-B had a mostly working game when they started taking pre-orders. Where skit-b STARTED was further along than where JPOP crashed and burned following 4 years and a million bucks.

Then, after all deadlines had passed and he was obviously in breach of his own contract, when people attempted to contact him for refunds he ignored them. But he always had time to take more pre-order money.

We're not talking about a situation where Jpop left all the money in a duffel bag on the subway. "Jeez, what an idiot! But he didn't intend for our money to get stolen..." We're talking years of misinformation, assurances, and lies, and all with slick packaging to give an air of legitimacy.

So at what point does that kind of gross incompetence, willful ignorance and fiduciary neglect become an outright criminal matter? I think a long time ago.

9 months later
#19257 3 years ago
Quoted from dgarrett:

Come on, buddy. Give the "buddy" thing a rest. Your misrepresentations really are old and piss me off.
The ONLY time I spent with John was 20 hours to help Bill Brandes and pdxmonkey get the damn MG to the NW show. Some appreciated the effort , nobody accused me of being part on Johns scheme or his buddy, except you.
I've got friends who got screwed - and many pinball people here that needed and deserve help - that's it - give it a rest.
I have not seen Or heard from John after that 20 hour blitz - I got no pay - it was volunteer - Bill thanked me in person at Terry's , some here appreciated the effort .
End of story

Speaking of the failed bailout, I'm pretty sure I saw Sabrina Wei at CAX.

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