I anxiously look forward to the anti-gravity technology JPop will be revealing in MG when it's released. Because anything less than that doesn't justify the NDA he's made his customer sign.
I anxiously look forward to the anti-gravity technology JPop will be revealing in MG when it's released. Because anything less than that doesn't justify the NDA he's made his customer sign.
I am still reeling from the reaming I took several years ago when I was one of the lone voices that expressed concern over the nature of JPop's "business dealings", the need to sign a NDA and non-disparage agreement, the lack of detail of what actual resources he had available to produce a game and not merely design graphics for it? We had some heated Pinside-Style™ fights over the difference between an open, well-documented production team like JJP and the mysterious cloud of who was working with JPop. The fans would hear nothing from anyone skeptical. We were called "haters" and chased off the forums.
I would submit this is not a "Ponzi" scheme like others have been suggesting. A Ponzi scheme implies that some people in the short term get paid off. There never has been any pay off by anybody. The JPop deal was always straight-up gambling.
I'm sorry some people lost money, but I'm not surprised. Very little has actually changed from then to now as far as any of us can tell. There's never been any actual evidence the products could be brought to market. There's never been any details of actual people with business experience and pinball production experience being completely committed and on board to make the project work. Just promises... like the promise that the lottery ticket you just bought might pay off big time by that happy guy on tv.
You people that bought into it... you took a gamble. Had it paid off, you'd be sitting pretty and waxing poetically about how brilliant your move was. It didn't turn out that way. Don't hate too much on JPop. It wasn't hard to see that the deal was very unstable from the very beginning. Some people just let their hopefulness blind them to the reality of the situation. I hope some take some responsibility for that... it was a risky deal from day one. And lot of you viciously attacked people like me who had the audacity to question whether it was a prudent decision, so I'm having a hard time being super-sympathetic when my butt still hurts from being poked by pitchforks many of you were wielding.
In any case, I hope everybody gets their money back, and JPop makes things right. This isn't the first time we've had a "hobbyist" or someone without a team decide they were going to be a "manufacturer." How many times does this have to happen before people start to recognize it takes more than enthusiasm and pre-orders to mass produce pinball machines?
In the wake of the "proposed solutions" for customers, my opinion on this can be summed up in something other than words....
If the "licensee" is really smart, he'd be pulling a JPop on JPop:
1.. Meet with JPop. Tell him you'll take care of everything. "Just sign this document. And pass that prototype over. I'll have 'my people' (sorry, can't tell you who they are just yet, trust me) "immediately get things started on putting the game into production. Don't worry John. We have it all figured out. Here's a picture of the front of a building we'll be doing the work in. Your game and license will be taken care of."
2.. Sell prototype
3.. PROFIT and get money back
Quoted from Hitch9:
Sometimes people's reputations precede themselves. In this case those in the Industry knew things about JPOP already, that pinheads did not. Now the customers know about his "character" or lack thereof.
I'm entering this thread a bit late - I spoke out a lot about this years ago when it first came up, and then recently when I heard things were imploding.
A few questions that run through my mind that I have yet to have answered (and if there are more details elsewhere on this, I'd love to have references and get back up to speed..)
* Everybody is accusing JPop of malicious fraud and throwing a lot of derogatory comments around. I'm curious if the issue is centered around him really intentionally lying or simply being a really horrible, naive businessperson?
I know it seems ridiculous that someone would be so naive as to drag this financial mess on as long as it has gone, but stranger things have happened. And there's a lot of people in this scene that love to sit in their echo-chambers and hear the sound of their voice without opposition. My original concern over the deal was that I always thought John was an artist - a great artist, but what experience did he have running a business? I'm not talking about merely slapping a "dba" behind your graphic design service, but actually managing people, suppliers, accounting, etc.?
So was this some kind of evil scheme from day one? Was it "graphic designer gets in way over his head?"
* Or was it something else, that *some* people who have dealt with him knew about and kept it largely quiet from the general community? Is he some kind of pathological liar who has delusions of grandeur? There does appear to be a trail of people who have worked with him that now aren't, but won't go into great detail as to why?
Ben Heck, what's the story with you? Y'all were collaborating. Now you're not. Obviously something happened. Did you see the writing on this wall awhile back and cut your losses? I know hindsight is 20/20 but do you think there may have been something you could have said or done to help the situation?
When I pre-ordered WOZ, I talked with Jack on the phone for more than an hour. We talked about the design team and his vision and other things. I remember asking him who he looked at to hire, and when JPop's name came up, IIRC, he was like, "um, yea, no, we're not going to hire him.. nope..." implying that there might be some history and bad blood... things that people know that others aren't saying. I don't know for sure, but it looks like some people might have known something and kept quiet.
I'm curious what that something is?
This to me, always seemed like another puzzling thing... why is one of the [formerly] most-respected designers in the industry being outcast by the major manufacturers? What did they know?
Quoted from Rarehero:
Both. He's been lying to his vendors...clearly they thought they were getting paid, but he wouldn't pay up. He's been lying to the buyers..."It's almost done, it's just about here, big reveal coming soon"...nothing. The fact that he was still trying to take money a few weeks ago while ignoring almost everyone else - that says it all. John has a problem with what he perceives as "being annoyed" - completely forgetting that these people are his vendors and customers. He has no empathy or any ability to see around his own childlike emotions.
Wow.. I had no idea it was that bad... been taking a lot of time trying to catch up in this huge trainwreck of a thread.
My nature is to not immediately believe someone can be so ridiculously self-absorbed and sociopathic as to continually lie and take peoples' money. It just makes my skin crawl so I don't want to believe it, but it looks like there's ample evidence. I haven't had any personal dealings with him except awhile back I talked with him about a project and as soon as I mentioned there was no up front money until something was underway, he didn't even bother replying. I guess that's no surprise.
It will be nice to finally see a prototype of the game. Very cool to see people coming together -- amazing what happens when you CROWDSOURCE a project instead of trying keep it top secret.
Let's drift back down to earth for a minute...
This is just a prototype, that in all likelihood is not even 50% complete.
Keep in mind, Gene Cunningham had a fully-working, 100% complete BBB - one of ten, and all the rights to the tech and the MPU boards and other things, and it still took him hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what people paid, and several years, to produce a similar number of machines, and it still bankrupted him.
As others have said, this group is at the one mile mark of a ten mile ride.
Even if the machine was 100% working, I wouldn't put down a pre-order. Not without a guarantee that whoever produces the machine has at least $1M+ committed to production costs on top of what they expect to get in deposits. Anything less is still a huge gamble. Even for people who already have money in the deal.
If this machine ever sees the light of day, whoever funds it will take a loss. Y'all need to admit that up front and say you're going to take the loss because you want to see the machine made. Anything less should be met with skepticism. At least be honest with everybody. They deserve it after everything that's happened.
Quoted from jwilson:
Yeah, when you look at the details, the conspiracy theory part of me thinks that the people involved might just be doing this dog and pony show to get the game far enough along so they can get their own hand-built prototypes done, then call the whole thing off.
Without buying out Zidware and taking on the liability, it's all verbal promises.
I wouldn't call it a "conspiracy theory", more just a "business move." It would make sense for anyone who is over-extended to mitigate their losses. The deal the new group is offering the rest of their kin isn't any "deal" as much as it's a chance to buy into the IP they've snatched away from John at the last minute. It's still the same high-risk deal as it was before, with new players, that aren't giving anybody any guarantees.
But a tiny speck on the horizon has everybody screaming, "Land Ho!"
It will be interesting to see what the legal fallout is of JPop handing off the valuable assets and getting stuck with the liabilities -- obviously he must be planning to declare bankruptcy? The new group isn't doing anybody any favors since they've taken the good stuff and not made any promises to anybody to make up for Zidware's malpractice. I wouldn't call this a "conspiracy" but it does look like they're playing a shell game.
Quoted from BC_Gambit:
I am a fairly grumpy skeptic, but even I am starting to (even if just a bit)... BELIEVE!
Quoted from greatwichjohn:
I was trying to help out for the original Magic Girl owners previously, which isn't common knowledge. I throw my full support towards Bill trying to get these pins done. Which I firmly believe can be done.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
also to all those who moved up to MG collector to help get all those down the line paid back faster a huge thank you.
Quoted from benheck:
It sounds like John has been "divorced" from this project - isn't that what people wanted?
As Bill has probably already discovered, there are people willing to help "as long as John's not involved" and if that roadblock if truly removed, help can come flooding in.
The machines still need to be made. If all the money was spent on "design", what's left for manufacturing? The lion's share of the expenses? This is the 800 pound gorilla in the room nobody's talking about.
If they're asking for another eight grand per person to fund the production, and there's only 17 people involved, how is this machine going to be made? Jersey Jack had 1000 pre-orders and still had to dip into his pockets to get WOZ made.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
Look just bear with me. I don't build or manufacture pinball machines, I restructure to get things done and try my best to make it happen. I would not go into this unless i did my due diligence. Doesn't mean I will succeed, however I will always surround myself with the right people and keep the wrong ones at arms length. Once I have more to share it will be shared with all.
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. Quite the contrary. I'm sure almost everybody wants to see the games made. It's just there are a lot of unanswered questions. I appreciate you taking the time to address what everybody is asking. This probably means you're going to have to deal with a significant amount of cynicism given the circumstances (and I think we all know it's not your fault) -- but this is a hot potato that you've decided to pick up. Thanks for keeping us informed.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
I am one of those who lost his money as well.
You have the prototype and the IP rights now do you not?
Can you elaborate on what your arrangement was to acquire that?
You appear to be the only pre-order customer that has actually gotten something from Zidware, and we're all curious what that cost and what the terms of that deal are?
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.
I really think if there's going to be any trust here, the details of that arrangement need to be made public.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but what we basically know about the situation is something like this?
* Zidware took money from at least 17 people (edit: for MG, 125 or RAZA and an undetermined amount for AIW: thanks RareHero) and hasn't produced anything and has stated they have no intention of refunding anybody
* Zidware will not be producing the games. The only known assets they have aside from office equipment are the prototypes and the IP/licensing. There's talk of bankruptcy, which screws all customers and suppliers.
* A customer has come in and negotiated some deal to take what appears to be most of the assets of the company out of the company, right before it implodes.
* This new company "is looking into making the games" and has some ideas, but it remains to be seen if they can do more than display a prototype.
* The new company is offering some kind of arrangement where it will give partial credit to previously-shafted customers, but in effect, there is no guarantee the games will be made and there's conditions on the arrangement (like a waiver of liability) that are just as suspicious as JPop's original agreement.
There are four different factions in the scenario:
1. the licensee and their people that now have Zidware's IP and prototypes
2. customers who are owed money and/or games
3. suppliers who are owed money
4. the pinball community
Faction 1: They lost money in the deal, but they now have Zidware assets that they can use to offset their loss, or possibly turn a profit.
Faction 2: They appear to be screwed. The only option they've been offered is to try and make a deal with Faction 1, who may or may not complete a deal, and regardless they can't seek justice or sue
Faction 3: They appear to be screwed as well. But depending upon whether Faction 1 needs their help, they may get some of their owed money back.
Faction 4: No skin in the game, but the group most likely to ask the hard questions and get to the bottom of the deal and try to keep the pinball market from turning into a casino.
I'm curious among the lawyers here, what are the options available? Could Zidware legally hand off most of their assets to a third party before aborting the business and leave their customers hanging? People are being told to "wait" but this is the critical time where any assets that could be used to offset customer and supplier losses can be "disappeared."
On top of this, there are a few "basic facts" (based on history) - some might argue with this, but I'm going to put it out there:
Fact 1: Building pinball machines is hard. Even with a working prototype, it is a very difficult, time-consuming process. The design aspect is only a tiny piece of the effort. And that's basically all you have at this point. And it's not complete.
Fact 2: It's highly unlikely that a new manufacturer could produce X of these games without going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt. No savvy "businessman" or "investor" would take this project strictly for the profit potential. It's not there. The product is too fragile. The market is too small. The cost to produce is too high. There are too many different suppliers needed. It's a circus trying to tie all the components together and make it work. That's not to say it can't be done. People have done it, but (AFAIK) nobody has ever managed to do it on time and under budget.
Fact 3: As far as pinball machines go, MG was not engineered to be "easy to manufacture" so whatever issues there might be with production are further compounded by the "no compromises in design" aspect.
Given what we know, what are the options and most likely what's going to happen?
If history is any indication there are three basic outcomes:
1. The producer never makes the product and the customers and suppliers get shafted. (perhaps some more than others due to what happens legally)
2. The games do get made and whoever produces them takes a loss, but manages to get them made.
3. The games are made and the deal gets turned around and works out.
What outcome is the most likely? What outcome has happened the most in the past?
I think anybody that comes in and makes promises to the community needs to recognize the reality of the situation and the history of the industry.
Quoted from Rarehero:
Good summary - but it's way more than 17 people. That covers the original Magic Girl buyers. There are 125 paid in on RAZA, and who knows how many more on AIW (amazed ANYONE sent money for game #3 when #1 & #2 weren't complete). I think Bill's new proposal of 199 MGLE's assumes people in on the other 2 games will want to switch over...but at $16k (and not being the game they ordered), this seems unlikely.
What do you all estimate are the amounts people paid?
People have been talking that JPop collected "a million dollars".. does it really seem like that's true?
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?"
HOLY MOLY! WTF? Is there a thread about this? I had no idea. Daaayuuumm.. this industry is cray-cray!
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:
I can do every piece of a pinball machine except the art, and I still wouldn't dare start a pinball company.
Even if there was money to be made, I don't like the idea of making money off of my friends either.
It's not just about what you can do. You have to source parts from dozens of different suppliers. Nobody can completely control all the components they need to build a pinball machine, which means that if any piece of the puzzle isn't there, the whole project fails. No experienced businessperson wants to get into this line of work. Too many variables. Too many things that can go wrong and cause the whole project to fail.
Quoted from gcp:
Asking again since it's been a few pages now, and I don't want it to get lost:
What are the terms of the "license agreement" that gives Pintasia carte blanche to use all of the Zidware assets that were created with the funding of 120+ customers?
Several people keep asking.
Quoted from BackFlipper:
Thanks Bill! That should end that discussion.
I know everyone wants to know what you paid for the license. This is my guess.
No it doesn't end the discussion at all.
People keep asking:
WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE DEAL?
People are going to keep asking until they get an answer. How does one of 100+ of the customers end up with the intellectual property?
This was a back room deal, shutting out all the other people who were defrauded. If the new "licensee" wants to be trusted, he needs to come clean what what kind of deal he and JPop made.
Quoted from Pinballs:
IMO Pintasia needs to upload Youtube videos of MG today to get some positive interest.
What real "positive interest" is there achievable in this situation? Seriously, have you thought about it?
Even if the game was 100% complete, and in all likelihood it's probably closer to 60% at best, that's the easy part to have a prototype. The hard part is producing it. They've said, "There is no money!"
What part of "There is no money" makes anything positive about this story, when people have already paid for the games??
I think a more important question everybody should ask themselves is:
Should the game ever really be made?
Is there a snowball's chance in hell MG or any of the titles could be "so awesome" they could make up for the epic clusterf&ck the producers created? Highly doubtful. The cloud hanging over this game will forever make it an "Edsel."
And, if the game is made, it could end up vindicating a guy whose incompetence and hubris defrauded many people and hurt the industry. The first thing JPop would say is, "Thanks for those who had faith in me!" He would claim all his efforts, even with the hiccups, were worth it.
If you ask me, there's a strong argument for the proto, along with all the art to be dumped in a secret landfill the way Atari did with E.T.
Quoted from dgarrett:
There seems to be many conflicting uses of the terms license, asset and liability here.....
The guy from Pintasia is here and can dispell all these speculations, but he keeps ignoring continued requests to elaborate on what kind of deal he made with JPop.
For all we know he told John, "Look I'm going to pretend I'm a disgruntled customer like everybody else, but I'll continue your work with you in total control (but we'll tell people you're not) and split the money I receive 50-50 with you." We just don't know.
I hate to sound pessimistic and cynical but Bill's ignored something like 20 requests to outline what his exact relationship is with Zidware and it's a kinda important element if he expects anybody to support him.
There's no guarantee that John still isn't in control of everything. Why wouldn't he be? This is a great way to have his cake and eat it too. Deflate the anger. Stall people who would otherwise be taking legal action, etc.
Hey y'all, turn on the TV.. there's some live footage of the MG prototype on its way to the pinball show...
Quoted from Rarehero:
Yes, I have no money in on this, but I have an opinion...and being outside the bubble, it's rational & objective. I have not pulled an "I told you so" and don't mean to do so by saying this - but I have been telling you guys all along that this whole deal was bullshit....so maybe my perspective on this debacle has some merit.
I'd like to chime in here on this front as well. I may have been one of the first people to get "the Pinside treatment" for being skeptical of this deal. It's why I left and stopped hanging out for probably two years or so.
Let's reiterate the fundamental reality of the situation:
1. There is no money to make this game. This game cannot be made, profitably, by anyone. Unless Pintasia is going to pledge that they're going to spend 7 figures to do this, there is absolutely no reason to get excited. Seeing a flipping prototype doesn't mean in any way, customers are even remotely close to ever getting their own games. But customers are being told to "wait and see" as if the outcome of that proto is going to magically solve the huge problem of there being no money and no means to make the game. It won't.
2. I don't really see any Pintasia "haters" here. People are frustrated though. Just because we're being cynical, skeptical or critical, doesn't mean we want people to fail. It's really tiring to see the "victim card" being played when it's not appropriate.
3. The reason people are on Pintasia's case is SIMPLE. The Pintasia people ARE NOT BEING STRAIGHT WITH THE PINBALL COMMUNITY. Period. These guys have been asked numerous times what kind of deal they made with Zidware/JPop to become "licensee" and they refuse to answer this basic question. There is zero reason for anybody to trust them until they see exactly what kind of legal relationship they have with the company that has allegedly ripped off 100+ customers.
People are going to keep asking: "What are the terms of the Pintasia/Zidware licensing deal." And every day that this critical question is ignored, peoples distrust increases.
Quoted from Concretehardt:
The Pintasia team/Bill have not asked for any money, so at this point what the hell difference does it make for the "owners" who were going to be splitting pennies on the dollar after a Zidware bankruptcy to wait to see if a solid plan can be put together. Hell at least we will get to see/play the damn game if nothing else.
It does make a difference. If someone ripped you off, and then someone who has gotten in bed with them and agreed to continue to work with them on a contractual basis is asking for you to trust them, it makes sense to be 100% open, and this is exactly what the licensee is not doing.
If anybody expects Pintasia to be different from Zidware, then the first rule of business is TRANSPARENCY. That's the one thing Zidware didn't do. They kept all the details of their development secret, and this secrecy was directly responsible for everybody getting screwed. Now along comes another company that is veiled in secrecy regarding its relationship with JPop. Not a good idea.
For all we know, JPop is still in 100% control of everything.
Until the contract between Zidware and Pintasia is made public, there's no reason to assume anything has changed.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
The agreement or an outline was shared on the owners group on Facebook. Anyone who I spoke with or spoke with me that wanted to know and or what we trying to do was told crystal clear
You are in bed with a guy that has appeared to have defrauded more than a hundred people and caused an uproar in the community. The nature of your relationship with that guy is going to be something everybody wants to know about. Not just "an outline" but the details. How much does JPop get paid for the license? How much is he going to profit from your efforts? How much control does he have over manufacturing, creative, and other aspects? People want to know.
Quoted from John_I:
I'm not sure why people get so mad about the people questioning Pintasia? It's not hard to understand the skepticism. Here are the facts:
- We've barely known Pintasia 48 hours
- They ask people to sign a no-sue contract
- They were for some reason hand selected BY JPOP HIMSELF
Edit: I should add that while I am skeptical, I would love to see Pintasia or anyone else actually pull a rabbit out of the hat and rescue this situation in a way that at least comes close to making everyone whole.
This is pretty much how I feel too..
And now there's a strange Deja Vu happening with some customers suggesting that those of with no skin in the game are creating a problem by asking tough questions. Really? We're the problem?
Quoted from zombieyeti:
The whole situation is horrible and I get the hate - I fluctuate between hope and anger myself. But what Bill and Pintasia are trying to accomplish is noble and genuine.
If MG prototype isn't working in a week it won't matter but... While I can't speak with absolute knowledge I'm almost 100% positive there's no money for the license directly upfront - only the promise of being allowed to continue work for a modest salary in the short term. I was there the last day of the 'deal' discussion and it was very realistic from what I saw.
I know you're just trying to make the best of a bad situation. Nobody can fault you.
But really.... the notion that even in the aftermath of this debacle, John would still negotiate to be put on salary is really disgusting.
I've been involved in startups for decades. I just mortgaged my house to get a business line of credit so I could purchase a building to create a pinball community in my city. I then spent my life savings renovating the building. I have no cash anymore. I couldn't qualify for a standard loan because I wasn't paying myself a regular salary. That's how startups work. You put everything into it and you only expect to see a reward much later. John put himself in front of everybody else and it's absolutely offensive, not just to his customers, not just to the pinball community, but to any self-respecting businessperson who has ever run an honest startup.
Quoted from NPO:
Look, John Popadiuk, I don't care what you've been through. You have hosed over this community. You brought people to the verge of bankruptcy. You have successfully began to divide the community into two factions. You played with people's money, reputations, and businesses while you farted around playing "neverland fairytale arts and crafts" time for 4 YEARS. You should not make ANYTHING from this.
And this is why, Pintasia shouldn't be the group to finish what John started. Their deal, no doubt, continues to pad his pocket after he's defrauded the community. It's immoral.
The lawsuits should continue. The Zidware assets should be auctioned off. If Zidware cannot refund EVERYBODY IN FULL, they should pierce the corporate veil of Zidware and take John's personal assets and liquidate everything.
Then a new group will purchase the IP outright, and anybody that wants the games can have them made, totally without JPop having anything to do with it. He can be just another name in a LONG LIST of people who made the game a reality, IF it is ever made, and not a single penny should ever go back to him.
If there is any justice, that's how it probably should be executed. There should not be any reward for taking all these peoples' money and having nothing to show for it except lies and deceit.
Quoted from hank527:
Hahaha. John has shown this will not be the case. He already negotiated a salary for himself.
I really don't want to rain on the Pintasia parade, but their deal with Zidware obviously puts money into JPop's pocket, all the while his customers continue to get shafted.
I don't think that's a moral or ethical arrangement.
I know people want to see the game made, especially his customers.
But I think the best way to achieve this would be to liquidate Zidware assets, and start fresh. Take some of that revenue generated and pay back the customers and the creditors. Then at least the customers may have some money to put into a second chance at producing the game by a group that is unaffiliated with Zidware completely (hopefully). If you deal with Pintasia, you're basically giving more money to JPop, in effect rewarding him for his malpractice. I guess now we know why Bill isn't completely up front about the deal. It rewards the customer's rapist.
Sorry Bill, I know this is probably the best deal for YOU. It doesn't sound though, like it's the best deal for everybody else. I understand you have good intentions, but keeping JPop in the loop on this, in any capacity, doesn't seem like a move that is respectable to the community. And I think actually, the games would have a better chance of being made if he was completely out of the picture. No creditor is likely going to work with a group that rewards JPop after he's screwed them over if they're not made whole.
Yea, there is no money in this deal. I don't see how these games can get made unless someone is willing to front $1M+ and they have to really be in love with the game/design to want to make such a sacrifice.
There's no incentive for any other manufacturer to want to step in this mess. JPop was trying to get hired by everybody else. They had their chance to bring him on board and they passed. I suspect the Stern people and Jersey Jack didn't want to work with him then, and can't imagine why they'd want to now?
So JPop got 100 people to pre-order. Big whoop. Jack got 1000 people to pre-order a theme half the community hated. Stern can fart 500 pre-orders any time they want. Why should they give a rat's ass about any of JPop's designs?
I went back and listened to the Topcast episode where George Gomez talked about SWE1. It's pretty obvious he was incredibly frustrated and upset with what JPop did to the platform. You can read between the lines of what he's saying and the tone of his voice that it's almost as if he feels JPop either consciously sabotaged the project, or refused to listen to anybody else on the team and "made the game his way" much to the detriment of everybody else on the P2K project and WMS whole pinball division -- and looking at what he's done with MG, RAZA and AIW, there's every indication these games might be equally ill-conceived in the wake of the overwhelming evidence that when JPop gets his way, he has a tendency to create epic disasters.
So someone explain to me why anyone should be excited about these games? Even when he had a huge team behind him, he had the capacity to shit bricks of the finest pewter.
Quoted from dgarrett:
Go back and look at wcbrandes posts - he's not in it for profit. Heck, he isn't even expecting to get his $100k of NEW money back for quite a while, and his machine will be last. SO ... yeah, there was no profit in those #'s.
Until we see the contract between him and JPop, nobody knows what "he's in it for."
He can tell you all anything he wants. He can "outline the deal" to the buyers, but if nobody has seen the agreement, ultimately, nobody knows what the deal is.
All this speculation could be instantly ended if he published the contract between him and JPop.
There is obviously a reason he won't go into details. If he's not in it for the money, then what is there to hide? If he wants to help everybody out, then what's there to hide?
There's only one reason to keep the contract secret.
Quoted from dgarrett:
Why does Bill/Pintasia need to disclose the details in public?
Because everybody here has been hoodwinked by Zidware's secrecy. Everybody is tired of it. It's hurt hundreds of customers. It's hurt the industry. It's hurt the hobby.
There's no reason to believe anybody any more, no matter how nice they appear to be, if they're not going to be honest about what they're up to. It doesn't matter if they're famous. It doesn't matter if they're rich. It doesn't matter if they're friendly and "just want to help people." Every permutation of that scheme has resulted in people being hurt and manipulated. Come clean, or don't come at all.
Quoted from dgarrett:
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.
Whatever happens at the NW show is irrelevant. The game is an unfinished prototype. The only action that is important right now is being TRANSPARENT.
People can announce anything. They can say they have this or that deal. It's all meaningless. Until the games are made and finished, or people are paid back, nothing has changed. And there's no money to do either. And anybody who's going to pre-order a game at this point has to be crazy... oh wait... now I get it... I didn't get it before... I was arguing about how some people were calling Zidware a "Ponzi Scheme"... ahhhh..... ok... no, it wasn't a Ponzi scheme then, BUT perhaps now it is... is that what this is about? Let's wind everybody up to get another round of pre-orders to pay off the first tier in the pyramid? That's the only reason why I could see anyone with any sanity saying, "wait.. let's see what happens with the proto..." Well, in that case it makes sense.... not ethical or moral, but it makes sense. Still nobody's going to get games, but maybe you guys can get paid back by "paying it forward" with the fraud? That's the only remaining plausible explanation for these bizarre "wait and see" arguments.
Quoted from KeithinMI:
Providing a deposit to "Captain Bob's Pinball Development, Inc." for the proposed pinball game "Taco Bell Dollar Menu Pinball" does not make you a secured creditor of Captain Bob's. It makes you a purchaser, and perhaps an unwise one at that. Unless of course, Captain Bob's gives you a security interest in inventory, receivables, IP, etc..
Is this strictly a civil case? I'm curious why there is no discussion of fraud or criminal charges? My first response had I been in this situation would be to contact the local AG and file some kind of fraud complaint. After all, people paid for a product and that product was never delivered. Does Zidware have a merchant account? They could lose control of that as well. Did anyone pay with Paypal? Paypal will freeze their account over fraud claims.
Quoted from chessiv:
Please do not misconstrue this as support for John in any way. I strongly believe John set out to make a pin and just miserably failed. He lacked any business knowledge, it seems, and obviously had such an inflated ego he was delusional in thinking he could do it. A failed business is a lot different than someone who is a intentional thief. Although in both cases the customer gets screwed.
People have posted quotes from him before where he waxed poetically, in response to other boutique builders' inexperience and lack of understanding of the manufacturing process. I don't think there's much room to be sympathetic at this point.
Also, I was reading through the Skit-B thread, and those people are apparently now getting refunds? I couldn't help but notice how much more aggressive they were in harassing everyone continuing to associate with the fraudulent operation, whereas with JPop, his associates show up and everybody's wishing them well despite not knowing what the relationship is with a group like Pintasia. If you respond differently, you're going to get different results.
I don't know all the details of the skit-B debacle but supposedly the FBI dropped the case and people think it's also a waste of time pursuing similar recourse with Zidware? I would beg to differ From what I read, the FBI couldn't find any evidence that Skit-B repurposed funds for projects other than what were promised customers. Everybody knows that's not the case with Zidware - customers' money was spent on a wide variety of stuff that had nothing to do with the products they purchased. I think there's a stronger criminal case there than there was with Skit-B. Customers should be acting appropriately IMO. And this notion that if one criminal investigator says it's not worth pursuing, that means give up.. that's not valid. They're all public servants - if enough people bitch and moan, they WILL act.
Quoted from jwilson:
Only a couple of days left to see the reality of the situation!
The reality of the situation has been apparent for awhile. A half-done (or even a finished) prototype won't change anything.
The hard part is the manufacturing! Not the design.
Meanwhile, people still hold out "hope". This is economic darwinism at its finest.
Quoted from Pdxmonkey:
No complaints on screen being blocked
The screen is obviously blocked. The angle in the picture shows the display blocked and that's closer and higher up than a normal player's perspective. There are mock playfield parts like the magnets that are much smaller than the actual size of the parts to be installed. It looks like this thing is still in the rough design phase.
So has anybody outlined what actual "magic tricks" are in the game?
ToM had a number of interesting gimmicks like the reverse mirror, the hidden outlane ball saves (even though that was derivative from BK), tiger saw multi-ball, etc.
Other than ball diversion and misdirection, is there any new play dynamic in this game that makes it look "magical?"
Quoted from Aurich:
I'm going to put it more delicately than Ben, but what's up with the colored GI? And is the backbox RGB that just happens to be constantly on purple or is that color of the strips?
Why would you take Jeremy's work, blow out all the contrast in the name of constant oversaturation, and then compound that by killing any chance of the details appearing by washing it out all out with colored lights? Not hard to fix the GI, I'd like to know more about the backbox lighting though. Would look so much better with cool white lighting letting the art speak for itself.
Yea, there are some serious lighting issues with the game. Why not use RGB lighting in it in the first place? If you really want to make an "artistic" pinball machine, the first thing to do would be to use cheaper and more-popular surface mount RGB lighting and really accentuate the design. It's as if the lighting was merely an afterthought in the design, and all the LEDs stick out like sore thumbs through the inserts, and light everything horribly uneven.
That GI lighting can be software manipulated to be as soft or hard as desired. It's far superior to the old 555s and 47s and if done right, more fault-tolerant and reliable. Plus you can put any kind of bezel over the lighting if you want. There's very little thought into the lighting in this machine - it looks like an old pinball machine poorly retrofitted with bad LEDs.
This goes to demonstrate another of the many areas where JPop didn't really know what he was doing, and didn't bring in an expert who could have done a better job.
Quoted from hank527:
Bill spent 100k to get this to the show
I want to see those receipts.. I don't believe that. Did he pay off a bunch of shorted suppliers?
There are all kinds of crazy claims here that don't make sense, with all due respect.
Who here wants to make this game and blow a half million to a million of their own money, to ultimately redeem JPop? Because that's exactly what people are hoping for. Someone is going to lose their butt producing a game that, by all accounts is "state of the art" circa 1997.
Let's call MG's presence at the show what it really is. It's not a "reveal." It's a wake.
Quoted from dgarrett:
I believe it, Bill is really giving this a shot and has a 100% shareholder control and motivation to recoup his up to $100k. I went through the math in a post a few days ago - it takes 149 games or so for Bill to break even. He will make money if the plan works, but it will take months
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, there are tons of disgruntled and ripped off suppliers, and you think an estimate like that holds water?
Honestly, I'm not trying to rain on y'alls parade. I'm just pointing out that you guys are, once again, marching towards a cliff, with your heads in the clouds and not looking realistically at the road ahead.
Quoted from Robotoes:
Just so many callouts to his old games. WCS shooter lane skill shot, Genie Lamp turned upside down on the L orbit, sounds like TOM mixed with TOTAN.
It's confounding and strange to watch this after all that has transpired.
Very floaty, plus you add in those annoying rollovers in the center...guh, sorry but, art aside, it looks pretty bad.
I'd like to take this opportunity to coin a new pinball term:
"Purplewood" - (n) 'purp-el-wood - A prototype similar to a "whitewood" but with more completed graphics, lights and superficialities instead of game mechanics and ruleset. A "whitewood" game is "flippable" but often without graphics, but does show the majority of the game's mechanical devices. A "purplewood" by comparison, looks like a finished game, but often doesn't have even half of the actual game mechanical devices installed or operational.
Quoted from dgarrett:
Finally, I will say it again, I have no personal vested interest. I have no pre-order, I just volunteered some time (alot of time) earlier this week to get the game in the van with PDX so Bill/Pintasia has a chance to show it, and owners have a chance to see it.
Hey dude, good for you. Thanks for helping bring the game out so people could see it. I'm sure everybody appreciates that.
But don't take it personally if people are not satisfied with the status of the game or the Pintasia deal. That has nothing to do with you guys.
Bill would probably have less heat on him if he was totally honest with the community over exactly what the terms of his deal is with JPop. But he continues to keep that secret, so it ramps up people's cynicism. Again, nothing personal. If I were around, I'd love to help get the game set up too. Thanks for helping out! Thanks for sharing this with the community. It's unavoidable that there's going to be a lot of controversy surrounding it.
Quoted from vid1900:
It's a slapped together demo - but I'd rather see 1/2 working demo, than nothing at all.
Is that really 50% of the game's features?
Can someone explain to me where the innovation is? Is there anything there we haven't seen on a pinball machine before?
I'm sincerely asking. This was such a super-top-secret project, I assumed there were some amazing and unique playfield mechanics that were to be revealed? Where are they?
I assume there's a list of the main sections of the game, and what features and functions? I assume it's more than just ramps and magnets that divert the ball?
ToM had the "trunk" which was a unique device that rotated and had different features. Is there something like this in MG? I see lots of things borrowed from other games. I'm wondering what is unique?
Anybody else notice the voice at the end of the Pinball News video of MG gameplay?
"The game has ended, and you are no further ahead than last time."
Quoted from Pinballs:
If you haven't been paid, it is disgusting Pintasia dare to show their faces at the show. Disgusting. Ditto for other vendors.
I'm curious why any programmer who was not getting paid didn't drop some kind of "time bomb" into the code?
I once wrote a piece of software for a car dealership that kept track of people who walked on the lot for marketing purposes. I had heard they had a problem paying suppliers but I took the job anyway. They never paid me the last payment, but I had an algorithm in the code, where a certain (very obscure) name, if entered into the database, would cause the whole system to lock up. When they didn't pay me, I had a friend walk onto the lot and give them the secret name. The next day I got paid
Quoted from Fulltilt:
And you have HOW much money invested in this?? I have $9500 up Jpop's ass and I'm pretty damn excited to see what Bill has done in the past several weeks. So Jpop shot his wad playing pretend pinball manufacturer. That chapter is over, he's done, caput, out of these games.
What makes you think JPop is not involved? Bill has said it's in his licensee contract that he's going to hire/pay JPop. Nobody knows the exact detail of the agreement anyway. In all likelihood, JPop/Zidware still owns all the intellectual property and Pintasia simply has a license -- we don't even known if it's exclusive. JPop could sell as many licenses to the game as he did pre-orders for all we know. Until the actual contract between Zidware and Pintasia is made public, it's foolish for anybody to assume anyone but JPop is in control of things.
The big problem with the whole deal seems to be that JPop always had to have things done his way. He's surrounded himself with sycophants and cast out anyone who criticized him. Why should the deal with Pintasia be any different? This could simply be a shell game.
Bill appears to be a decent person - I have nothing against him, but he's avoided discussing the exact terms of his deal with Zidware, and that's absolutely critical if anybody wants to know to what degree JPop is involved and still profiting from the new shell.
Quoted from Fulltilt:
Now there is one good chance to get something produced, Bill is behind the project and moving things forward in the past several weeks more than I have seen in 2-3 years.
I'm sure you're a very nice guy - I have nothing against you, but statements like this are why it's honestly, really hard to be sympathetic to some in this predicament. There is zero indication this game can be made in any decent amount of time, even for the double-sized amount of money Bill is claiming. The "purplewood" proto is nowhere near being finished. Bill hasn't pledged the money needed to make the machine -- he's simply fronted a little money to make the prototype semi-presentable. I understand to you all this appears to be light years of progress, but to the rest of us, it's still a very shady situation.
I think your first priority shouldn't be to worry about whether this game will get made. Even if all the other pieces were in place, it would probably still take years to produce the game. If I were you, I'd worry about getting your money back. The time to get reimbursed is right now, while there are still assets. If you wait around, distracted by the shiny lights, by the time you realize this game isn't going to appear any time soon, you'll have lost your chance to get your money back.
Obviously, there are people right now who are still wanting to deal with JPop, thinking they'll get made right. I still haven't heard a good reason why there isn't a more aggressive campaign to pursue criminal charges. It's an interesting demographic of people Zidware managed to hoodwink, that are still at this late juncture, unwilling to admit the reality of the situation.
Quoted from iceman44:
Aren't you a software guy? Is this your professional opinion again, over and over? Did you stay at a Holiday Inn last night
This is so DEJA VU.... everybody is so enamoured with the "purplewood" that they're willing to ignore the reality that each and every moment that goes by without an aggressive campaign to get people their refunds, that money is drying up and will never materialize.
But I digress, how about that artwork! Awesome! Great job Zombie!
It's an interesting, neat game, but it's hard to look at it and not be overwhelmed by it being a symbol of exploitation.
Quoted from zombieyeti:
The ENTIRE goal is to get games made and delivered to the owners... This was the first step - get MG together and see where it stands.
This is a noble goal.
HOWEVER, nobody really knows what the details are between JPop and Pintasia. There's talk John is "out of it" but then there's also talk "he's a consultant and will be paid a salary." The idea that John Papadiuk would receive even a single penny extra at this point before any of the customers and suppliers are made whole is something that almost everybody finds extremely offensive.
Unfortunately, that's a pretty important sticking point upon which any impression of the "goodwill" Pintasia claims they have will be judged. Post the details of the licensing arrangement between Pintasia and Zidware. One simple action, which everybody wants to see, will once and for all let everybody know where JPop and Bill and everybody stands. Simple request. Constantly ignored. You too, should be cautious to do business with someone when you don't know what deal they have with a guy that has screwed you over.
Who really has power and control in the development of MG? We do not know. Bill says he has it, but he won't outline the details, and so many people have been lied to it's foolish to assume anyone is telling the truth without evidence. This has less to do with Bill and more to do with common sense and history/experience. But Bill has repeatedly refused to detail the licensing agreement, so there is some legitimate reason to be apprehensive. If it really is all about "helping out the community" why should the licensing agreement be secret? Everybody is tired of secrets. If you want to be trusted, no more secrets
Quoted from Mr68:
That's exactly why the owners group was formed on Facebook. We needed a reasonable environment away from the Pinside noise to strategize. And even though members will disagree with one another we don't have to sift through paranoid speculation or non-owners yelling. Or the redundancy of drive by commentators.
Unfortunately, that group also appears to be devoid of people who saw what you guys didn't see. I think the last thing the buyers need, is to be in another "reality distortion sphere."
If you're in that group communicating with Bill, the first thing y'all should do is ask to see the exact contract between Pintasia and Zidware. Not an "outline." The exact deal. Everything else spawns from that arrangement. To proceed without knowing its exact details doesn't seem prudent.
Quoted from Mr68:
On what do you base this? Please state your proof. Or is this more Pinside "facts"
Approximately 6 messages earlier, #14106, a guy named, Mr68 made the following statement:
"That's exactly why the owners group was formed on Facebook. "
Therefore it seems reasonable to conclude:
1. The group consists primarily of "owners"
2. "Owners" are people who pre-paid for the game(s)
3. People who pre-paid for the games thought the games were going to be made, and they were going to get a game in accordance with what they were promised
4. That turned out to not be true.
5. The decision to pre-pay and support a guy who never realistically had the means to deliver what he promised was ill-conceived.
6. Lots of people suspected this would happen, but the owners circled their wagons and didn't listen to anybody but themselves.
The fact that you even call the people, "owners" is indicative of a fundamental continued misunderstanding of the situation you all are in.
You're not "owners" of anything. What do you own? What did you buy? Where is it? You're still talking like there's something of yours somewhere, when there isn't. You all are victims, not owners.
When you get machines made and delivered, then you are "owners."
No disrespect. I'm just suggesting, you all might benefit from less circling of the wagons and more "listening to the noise."
The reason this situation went on for 3-4 years is because it was all "in private groups." If there were more transparency there's no doubt a lot less people would have lost money, and once again, you're suggesting that you all move back into the shadows to continue to find a solution?
Quoted from jonnyo:
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.
People who do business in the shadows shouldn't be surprised when they find out they've been dealing with shady characters.
Anything that is legitimate, should be able to withstand the scrutiny of the community.
Quoted from YKpinballer:
Seems like a lot of people who have started picking up the project to help get it available for the show are taking the criticism very personally. Like the people who criticize the project are going to kill a wilting flower they are trying to bring back to life.
Pdxmonkey is the guy who coyly told us "there is a game, I've played it." He also knew ages ago that there were no working mechs on the thing, never mind all the other deficiencies. Nobody was claiming that Zidware had an empty garage and the cabinets and game were not real. The claim was that for all the promises that the game was 95% complete, there was "basically" no game and John's assertions otherwise were nonsense. That turned out to be true, and pdxmonkey knew it a looooong time ago.
So now, to criticize the project is supposed to be taboo, because it hurts the feelings of people who have put time into it for the past 3 weeks? Get over yourselves, people wanted honest assessments of what the game IS in its current form, not what it "will be" (a promise with no guarantees).
Currently it is apparently a bare-bones pre-alpha prototype that looks beautiful. Many of the mechanics, however, were dreamed up with functions in mind that John probably came to terms with as beyond his skill to complete. Most of those mechs, realistically, will have to be removed or simplified for the game to be viable. John probably had concepts of what would "be cool" and thought that he could be just like Tesla and sit in a lab and invent ways for the magnets to do all the cool stuff. He then found out at some point that he was not capable.
You can tell that John wanted to put in all the ideas he had for his previous games that got nixed by higher ups. I'm guessing smarter people than him made the decisions because they were impractical for reasons varying from BOM to complexity or fragility.
From what I am reading it seems like the absolute minimum BOM for this game is 10k each if everything went perfectly and things got simplified. A realistic BOM estimate is supposedly 16k. That means the real murphy's law BOM is likely more like 20k.
From the multiple pages of feedback here, I am seeing an absolute maximum retail price of 10k. Which means even at the best of conditions you're covering ONLY BOM. You start out at zero maximum, and potential losses are huge. People do not go into business to lose money. If this is your thought process, then you need to reconsider. Nobody wants to buy you your Magic Girl out of their pocket because they love pinball.
The point being, there is no business case for this project to ever complete successfully. That means the only way to make money on this is by taking money and not producing the machines, or at least not fully producing them (i.e. complete it with very low quality) We are seeing a lot of volunteers and vendors attaching themselves to this project because yes, they are nice people. They don't want to be criticized because they are doing a nice thing, and just trying to do their best for the community and these pretty machines and whatnot. However, you are hitching your wagon to a dead horse. And because it (the "project plan") does not make any sense whatsoever, people are asking you how you plan for that horse to pull the wagon.
Some people are taking these posts as attacks, but they are legitimate concerns on behalf of the people who are being taken for a ride. Nobody wants to cause the project to fail. Nobody is basking in the glory of another failed project because they want to watch the world burn. They simply want to bring you back to reality - MG is starting from scratch (mechanically) and has no ability to make any money. It is a beautiful cabinet and playfield. Everything else is going to have to be re-engineered, from the parts to the design layout. And there is no money to do this coming from anybody.
I think you nailed it.
I've been wracking my brain trying to reconcile the crazy repetitive scandals that seem to happen around here with regularity, and I remember there being a psychological explanation for this type of behavior: The Dunning-Kruger Effect.
You gotta wonder why, over and over, people with no real skill or experience producing machines are so convinced they can do it? This is apparently a pretty common thing.
"The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. Conversely, highly skilled individuals tend to underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others."
"As David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University conclude: 'The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.'"
Pretty interesting reading... Clearly JPop was an example of the low-end of the DK-effect. But there are also examples of highly-skilled people expecting others to match their level of productivity and not realizing that's not always practical.
Another interesting thing about this community is how many people have trouble separating their sense of self, from their beliefs. If someone criticizes something they are into, they take it personally. I think this is a source for a lot of unintended conflict in general around here. I don't know exactly how to address or fix it, but I guess being aware of this minefield may help.
Quoted from Mr68:
Some of the guys here are so arrogant and insensitive with their know it all comments. I keep reminding myself that each one of you has made a bad decision or two. Or a hundred... Nobody's perfect, even Warren Buffet has had his share of failures.
...You're comparing the people who pre-ordered MG/RAZA/AIW to Warren Buffet?
Quoted from Mr68:
Yes I am. Its human to make mistakes and we are all human.
Like the mistake you made in not understanding that point.
I understood your point.
I don't think you understood what others have been saying, over and over.
You think anybody could have fallen into the JPop trap and therefore we all need to cut you some slack?
Unfortunately, it's not true. I'm not trying to be arrogant, honestly. This is the denial many of you guys are still in.
The fact is, the problems with the JPop deal that you have now come to realize were there from the very moment of the deal.
He NEVER had the capacity to produce those machines.. not since day one.
Most of the community here realized it, but you all didn't want to listen to your peers, friends and fellow enthusiasts, so y'all shut yourself off in a private sphere told yourself how awesome this was going to be.
Your mistake wasn't so much giving a bunch of money to JPop, it was not listening to the community. And you still don't want to listen to the community. You still cluster in little circles telling yourselves this thing can happen if you give Pintasia a chance. The new guy is not in any better a position than JPop was, and you don't want to hear it. You think you're frustrated? Imagine how the rest of us feel watching some of you guys run around in the same circle over and over?
Quoted from Mr68:
So you're telling me that I was warned and had all of this present day information four years ago. And I'm so stupid that I went ahead anyway. What a complete crock of shit.
Yours is delusional thinking using the benefit of hindsight.
Go back and look at the posts.
Where was JPop's manufacturing facility? Where was an assembled committed team? It was never there in the beginning unlike JJP. What resources did he have other than the pre-order money to get anything done? Why did the whole thing have to be done in secret? I posted numerous messages many years ago questioning the rationality of pre-ordering and you all screamed at me
Do you think for a minute, if his operation was not confined to the dark shadows of private groups, among people who were legally-obligated to not say anything, that the end result would have been the same?
And you call me delusional?
You guys are still stroking each other. PDX, your buddy, has been lying to everybody about how far along the game has been, and you're still in denial.
I recognize futility when I see it. I apologize for thinking even after all you've been through, you might be willing to pay a little more attention, but I was wrong. I won't waste any more time trying to be the voice of reason here. I can tell it's clearly not appreciated.
But hey, if you really want to show me up, then go all in dude. All the "owners" take out all their life savings and give it to Bill, and sign that document that says you can't sue him. I'm sure that'll work out wonderfully, and I'm totally wrong and delusional.
BBB is not a good example. First, Gene Cunningham is now bankrupt and has lost everything. The guy who made that machine is not in a better place because of it, and even after, he was still hated by a big segment of the community. No good deed goes unpunished around here.
Second, BBB was a fully-completed game, there were 10 completely-finished versions of the game in existence. The software and everything was done. Gene had the MPU boards already done and a good bit of the parts. Gene was also rich and threw a ton of money into it, and it still took years, and almost ruined him in the process.
You can't compare JPop to Illinois Pinball. Gene was an entrepreneur and had a lot more experience. JPop is just an artist/designer who never really achieved anything of significance (as far as I know) outside of being part of a large team of people. There wasn't any evidence he knew how to run a large scale business. There wasn't any evidence he had any of his own money he was willing to put into the venture.
That being said, even though Gene's had more experience, more money, and his project was better-conceived, more practical and further along, it still took him many years to deliver the games to customers. And in the end he still went bankrupt. Yet people think a guy with only a fraction of the resources can do the same?
What gets me is people like Mr68 want to call me "delusional" because I'm bringing this up? I haven't called anybody names.
I haven't referred to JPop as "Jpoop" or called the owners "stupid." I've simply suggested, it's worthwhile to field opinions from everybody, and considering how wrong the owners were in their decisions, it might be prudent to give credibility to the people who saw this debacle for what it was. And for saying that, I'm called "delusional?" If that isn't irony, I don't know what is.
Quoted from ForceFlow:
I've been following the meltdown of a crowdfunded board game on kickstarted, and the FTC just stepped in. It might be similar enough to the JPOP or Predator situation to use it as a model:
Original story: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/126293-Board-Game-Kickstarter-Canceled-Amidst-Claims-of-Malfeasance
This week's FTC story: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/141119-FTC-Goes-After-The-Doom-That-Came-To-Atlantic-City-Kickstarter-In-First-Crowdfunding-Case
FTC ruling: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/06/crowdfunding-project-creator-settles-ftc-charges-deception
Yea, there's clearly illegal activity here. You pay for a product. You never got it. Money crossed state lines so there are federal crimes as well. Wire fraud, etc. I don't understand how JPop has managed to make his victims so docile they're unwilling to get aggressive in pursuing criminal investigations? Maybe this is kind of like a gas station not putting any condoms or sex toys in the machine in the men's bathroom? The people who get ripped off are too ashamed to make a big stink about it? I don't know. I can't seem to explain why there isn't more outrage and an aggressive attempt to go after JPop criminally.
I'm curious if there's one thing most everybody by now can agree on?
We've seen what kind of game is created when JPop has all the control and responsibility, so can we not refer to games like ToM, TOTAN, CV, WCS, etc. as "JPop games?" Those great games were created by a complete team of people who worked together, took turns respecting each others' area of expertise, compromised and collaborated within a very large company that had been "doing things right" for decades
It seems obvious now, a game "made by JPop" at best, comes out to be an incomplete, un-produced, half-assed conceptual prototype. There's no reason for the Bally/WMS games that he was involved in to suffer the disgrace of his legacy. Many, many great people worked on those games that had nothing to do with MG/RAZA/AIW etc.
Quoted from DCFAN:
I am no lawyer, but I would guess the only way he goes to jail is either he did tax fraud on some of the income he took from Zidware or somehow it is proven that he was taking money for something he already knew would not be made.
How is it not a crime, in fact both a local and a federal crime to take peoples money for a product, and not deliver the product? And take money across state and international boundaries using various networks like USPS and the Internet? Isn't that wire fraud?
18 U.S.C. § 1341 provides:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
18 U.S.C. § 1343 provides:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
18 U.S.C. § 1346 provides:
For the purposes of this chapter, the term “scheme or artifice to defraud” includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.
There are three elements to mail and wire fraud:
A "scheme or artifice to defraud" or the obtaining of property by fraud; and,
A mail or wire communication.
To be fraudulent, a misrepresentation must be material.
Mail fraud applies only to United States domestic mailings and use of interstate carriers (UPS, FedEx) which must originate in one state, and successfully terminate pursuant to the address label inside another state, a transportation that is termed "interstate" (over which Congress has power to regulate) and does require that the mailing cross at least one state line into another state; wire fraud has been expanded by Congress to include foreign wire communication or interstate connections via (e.g.) an e-mail server or telephone switch or radio communication.
Quoted from TigerLaw:
By the way, we live an era of prosecutorial discretion. If a prosecutor is interested in pursuing something, there are plenty of laws on the books JPop broke. It is getting the interest that is tough.
This is the key. If enough people complain, they will pursue criminal charges. This is how it works these days. Including the FBI.
In fact, if any individual people wanted their money back, chances are if they were making a big enough stink, JPop would probably pay them off to stop. This happens all the time. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
I find it disappointing that someone can get away with something like this and most people are like, "Meh, what can you do?"
There are always ways to get justice or get your money back. It depends upon whether you're going to let yourself be railroaded or not.
There's a good argument to let it go, but the problem is, that enables the scammers and the horrible people. They count on people being too distracted, lazy or non-confrontational to go after them.
John's wife is listed as the secretary of the company. She appears to be formally associated with the recordkeeping and a culpable party. Does she work somewhere? Why don't you call call her employer and explain what's going on? I'd be sending letters everywhere. He wants all this to go away, pulling his web site down and hiding, waiting for everybody to forget. And the way things are going, it looks like that's what's going to happen... Nobody really believes he's broke. There are perfectly legal ways to drive home the point that you refuse to be defrauded and best be refunded.. NOW.
Then again, you can just sit and wait and not do anything. But, there were people that hounded John and got their money back. Every day that passes, the chance of being made right gets a little less likely.
Take a look at sites like
There are lots of these online where you can post details of your experience with him and his company and it'll stay there. Other people chime in and collaborate to seek justice. There are lots of places like this online designed to help victims organize and fight fraud.
Quoted from zr11990:
Hey our government robs us blind every day, they promote bad behavior and are slowly destroying us from within. Why would they care about something like this.
The exception doesn't prove the rule. Every day we use plenty of services that the government provides, from public utilities to interstates, roads and bridges, running water, sewerage, libraries, community centers, fire departments, etc. If you're out at sea and something happens, the Coast Guard will rescue you, etc. Not all parts of government are corrupt and useless.
Quoted from vid1900:
There is simply no way Jpop was going to work full time and not draw a salary.
I've been working more than full time. I don't regularly draw a salary. It's not unheard of. And in the past I've not paid myself so I could pay my employees. That's not uncommon. A good CEO puts the business before his personal needs.
I've been involved in start-ups for decades. You don't have to be rich to not draw a salary. Most people in start-ups are actually very poor. A lot of people in start-ups work day or part-time jobs to pay the bills. They just need enough money to survive, and they pour everything else back into the company.
What's funny is, because of JPop's business model, because he fleeced his customers instead of getting a legitimate investor, he was able to operate the way he did. If he actually had an investor, the investor would never have allowed him to draw a big salary - it's antithetical to the concept of a start up. You start a company to get paid when it performs, not while it's getting started.
One of the reasons for the dot-com bust in the 2000s was because people lost sight of how start-ups are supposed to be. They got big investment money from VC firms looking to fleece idiots in the market via IPOs, and these over-funded companies spent more money on their office furniture and their salaries than they did creating viable products. It seems to me JPop thought he was back in the year 1998. I wonder if he even bought himself an Aeron chair? LOL
Full disclosure: I own an Aeron chair. I bought it from the bankruptcy auction of etoys.com.
Quoted from TigerLaw:
I think we should start a pool on what John's salary was he paid himself. We will find out in discovery for sure now.
My guess is $125,000 annualized plus health insurance for he and his entire family. He also likely ran a ton of reimbursements through the company (my guess is lots and lots and lots of food and electronics).
My guess is $60k/yr, but I bet he charged a ton of stuff on the "company card" also.
Quoted from Pinballs:
I've written off the $20k, but am delighted to pay $500 - peanuts extra - to get justice.
It's worth $500 just to get a look at the discovery documents. I bet the stuff he spent money on is going to make Van Halen's rider look boring. For all we know he might have commissioned a "Michael Jackson style" painting of him on a golden throne with a magic wand. I predict the best is yet to come.
Quoted from vid1900:
That sounds great.
That could maybe work for ScatB, since he lives in a $32,000 house with $600 a year in taxes.
Unfortunately, Jpop lives in a $350,000 house with $10,000 a year taxes.
You ain't working part time and paying that mortgage.
Ha ha.. You think JPop is the only source of income/resources in that family? Have you guys done any freakin' research at all into who you're dealing with?
By the way, just because somebody lives in a big house, doesn't mean they pay a mortgage. Just because someone drives a nice car, doesn't mean they bought it themselves. And even if they have nice stuff like that, it doesn't mean they have the cash flow to go out and regularly buy high-dollar stuff. Some people in start-ups may have nice places because they previously invested well. If I pour all my time and cash into a startup, it doesn't mean I also have to live in a tiny house. It just means I'm not going to use the start-up's capital to live large. I may have income and resources from other avenues available. This is very common. Y'all need to realize that not everybody structures their life and personal assets the way you do. Some do it worse, and some do it better.
Quoted from toyotaboy:
Actually, apparently she's the VP of marketing at zidware now (funny how often job titles change). According to linkedin, she's never worked a day in her life
It's too bad LinkedIn doesn't have a "FRAUD" skill. I'm sure there are several hundred people who would easily vouch for John and his wife's expertise in that area.
Quoted from flynnibus:
Are you the executive of a company, responsible for all it's activities? I think 90k is actually pretty much on the conservative side given the role... one might even say intentionally conservative given the startup nature.
I am going to go out on a limb here and think perhaps you don't have much "start-up" experience. If you're the PRINCIPAL in a start up, salary is not the motivation nor the need. The shares in the company are the real value. In a case like Zidware, where the ONLY material assets they had was the pre-order money, it's abso-F'ing-lutely INSANE and STUPID to draw such a huge salary. That pretty much guaranteed the games were never going to be made unless John planned to climb a giant beanstalk and pick from a money tree in the clouds.
This is the reason you don't pull a ridiculous salary in a start-up: It can keep the company from accomplishing its objectives! If you need $7500 a month to pay your bills, then you should NOT be in a start-up!
This whole situation is beyond incompetent.
Quoted from zr11990:
Wow, I wish I was 1/10th the man you are. I don't have the guts to take that kind of risk or go through all that. I feel like a total failure just reading your post.
Not everybody is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It's a very stressful, often thankless job. And every entrepreneur needs other people who are just "worker bees" which are absolutely necessary to make the venture succeed. Any good leader will tell you it's not about them; it's about their people, the vision. So don't feel like a failure. If you work somewhere, you're part of that machine that makes things work. It's unfortunate our society doesn't place as much emphasis on the workers because they're more important than the figureheads usually.
Quoted from flynnibus:
Do any of them do a job as exclusive as pinball design and producer? Or any of them do any work where there is probably less than 3 dozen qualified people in the world to do it?
The role in question here is not that of a low tier employee, or new hire, or rank and file.
Someone go ask Larry De Mar if he'd switch to your company for 60k a year...
I'm really curious what amazingly/special/unique skill a "pinball designer" has?
At this point Ben Heck has probably designed as many pinball machines as John Papadiuk.
And Ben probably has 20x the depth of skillsets JPop has.
So what exactly makes him such a rare commodity? What can JPop do that anyone else here cannot?
I can pull up a CAD program and design a playfield, and then move things around.
I can bat a ball around on a whitewood and say, "let's put a pop bumper over there and a flipper up there."
I can dictate a ruleset.
Almost anyone in this forum, if they had the resources traditional designers had at their fingertips: software people, dot matrix designers, mechanical engineers, art departments, etc. could also design a pinball machine.
So exactly what special unique ability do these three dozen people have? Enquiring minds want to know.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
Rai its no ones fault but my own, however this was gonna go on and on until we saw the books and what state the machines were really in. Now its fair game and people won't hesitate to do what they have to do because we all know exactly what he was doing for 4 years.........
Was his wife drawing a salary too? She is listed as a company officer.
I still do not understand why people are worrying about a civil case. What JPop did was clearly criminal. It'll take years for any civil justice, but a criminal investigation could motivate him to give money back to buyers or else face jail time.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
However when the machine was not even close to the estimated percentage of completion I decided there was no way it was getting done.
With all due respect Bill, thanks for helping and trying, but even if the prototype was 100% done, there was never much of a chance the game would be manufactured. That still requires a huge amount of money that nobody in their right mind was going to cough up. The project was doomed from the start. It was great what you did, but it shouldn't have been a surprise that this project was DOA from the moment you looked at JPop's books.
Quoted from dgarrett:
Pinside is a no-win place. I got attacked for not saying enough, for not taking pictures and sharing, for not.....
I think you got attacked because you jumped on board a sinking ship and told everybody else to sit still while you helped the captain pack his luggage...
You can't blame Pinside for this. You stepped in a steaming pile of dog doo and paraded around telling everybody else they were wrong for not being pleased with the scent..
It may have been a nice thing you did, but you fail to realize you were hoodwinked by John just like everybody else, to do a bunch of last-minute damage-control because of his irresponsibility. And apparently you're so enamored with the guy you still won't hold him accountable. Don't blame everybody else here because we're not as smitten with the con man as you.
Quoted from Pinballs:
I agree- it's the appalling way he conducted himself that prompted me to sue. It's not just a failed business scenario, which frankly I have no problem with (albeit not delighted by), as it frequently happens. I've had a number of failed businesses, despite not milking them for salary and expenses i.e. they were run on a shoestring. But I kept the dayjob and it didn't matter to me financially (oh, and I paid all my debts on them, and never got sued). Eventually a business succeeded, woohoo. This happens too, if you persist and work hard, and have a reasonable idea underlying the business. You also learn from the failures, more than from the successes actually a la Dyson.
But you can't treat a startup like a corporate cash cow. Even successful startups would fail if Jpopped like this. He was clearly and obviously taking the pi**, and taking us for fools. In his mind the world owed him a living, meaning us. I'm happy to support pinball startups and have a number of pre-orders running (though won't pre-order again now thanks to Jpop), and they might fail. But the Jpop scenario was waaaay more than just a company failing...
I'm hoping he is arrogant enough not to go for bankruptcy initially, so the $94k gets refunded. But eventually he will go under of course, and good thing too. Actions have consequences, as he will learn, like the uncomprehending child he apparently is. All via legal, due process.
Another thing to consider is that JPop really cannot claim ignorance or incompetence. Not when you look at his public post history, where he chastized other pinball manufacturers and people for not having the resources to make machines. He clearly stated before that he was fully-aware how difficult it is to produce a game. So I think in court he'd get his butt handed to him by his online testimony that would contradict his current claims. It seems to me there's overwhelming evidence of intent to defraud. That is criminal. Money crossing state and international lines ups the ante. There are plenty of reasons for there to be a criminal case. If people want their money back, all they have to do is get that going. I'm sure JPop would much prefer to live poorly than in prison.
Quoted from Concretehardt:
JPop: "Case and point, how do we fill in spare time. Eating crickets….no. Well we fill it with more invention, design and new ideas. More than is really possible. Pinball building takes oodles of time, a week seems like a day. I may not get to emails for a while as I average 125 each day or more."
I've never seen anybody mangle so many metaphors.
Hole'up.. Imma gonna fire up my JPop-to-English translator here and see if we can figure out what he really meant:
"Although some may feel that if we are not posting then we are all sitting around driving our Beemers to Starbucks.
"I know that 'sitting around driving' doesn't seem to make any sense, but actually I've invented a new car seat that spins around while taking you to the nearest coffee shop. I can't go into more details until I've finished spending $20,000 filing a patent on it. So if you see me at Starbucks, know that I'm working on important technology."
"And By 'we' I mean, me and my ego. And my ego would never fit in a BMW and drink something so common as coffee. You guys have no idea about us."
Not so and I feel very slighted as I work harder than most everyone I know.
"I worked last night almost to eleven! That p.m.! Spinal Top isn't the only one that goes up to eleven. That's very hard!"
While people are at home watching football or sports today, I am in the studio (as every day) working on pinball in it’s totality. Something I love to do.
"I'm writing a screenplay called, 'Pinball In It's Totality'. It's the story of a brilliant pinball designer, who drops out of high school after flunking out of English, with a dream of creating the most-best pinball game that ever was rugged, but he is persecuted by common people who like football or sports. It's bad enough being persecuted by one group of people, but both football fans and sports fans are too much for the brilliant pinball designer and he has to go on a magical quest to protect his kingdom by making an arteous journey through a verocious forest of haters in order to acquire the mystic shield of asset protection. Along the way he befriends a group of rag-tag adventurers looking for their courage, heart and brains who help him. I can't tell you more until after its copywrited, but I am pre-selling tickets to the first show."
I know it takes a huge effort to do this all,
"When I say 'huge' I mean like it takes a solid three inches of effort. Most people only have about two inches of effort. I know. I've been around. I teach classes on this stuff. Three inches is like 50% more effort than most people."
as well as the fine support from my fans, and am up to the task.
"Today's task will be to take Zombie's artwork, draw a lightning bolt on it, and take it to 'Deck the Walls' in the mall and get it professionally-framed for the office. This is how I give back to my fans. You're welcome. You're very welcome. Yes, I will probably be selling limited editions of that, my artwork. Yes, you can pre-order it with a check. Sorry no Paypal."
Case and point, how do we fill in spare time. Eating crickets….no.
"Did you know that spare time is measured in cases and points, and not crickets? This is why I'm John Popadiuk, the most famous pinball designer of them all. I spend all my time making sure all cases are pointed so you don't have to. Other pinball designers might be 'eating crickets' with their spare time, but I am busy pointing cases and casing points so that Magic Girl will be the most amazing game you've ever seen. All our cases and points are CUSTOM MADE, just for YOU. Again.. you are welcome."
Well we fill it with more invention, design and new ideas.
"Screenplays, spinning BMW seats, pointed cases, cased pointers, professionally-framed artwork! I don't care if you're a football fan or a sports fan, we will blow you away with our inventions, design and new ideas! But, sorry, there will be no crickets. I don't do crickets."
More than is really possible.
"Yes, you heard right. I, John Papadiuk, routinely achieve the impossible. In fact this morning, I actually was up at the Crack Of Don. Are other designers up at that crack? I don't think so."
Pinball building takes oodles of time, a week seems like a day.
"I may have slipped up and revealed another one of my soon-to-be-patented inventions: the Magic time-brain-dilation-zidmatron, which can take a week, make it seem like a day, yet suggest that it feels like more than a day and somehow makes sense. Don't try to understand it. It's one of the many things that are not really possible that I can do."
I may not get to emails for a while as I average 125 each day or more.
"I apologize if I do not respond sooner. But I'm involved in some very important business discussions with my new Nigerian parts supplier, DR PEPPER OJ RUMSFELD OBAMA. I'd love to tell you more about the exciting new business venture Zidware is engaged in, but it's secret and I can't let any of my competitors find out."
We now have 6+ other makers of some type of custom pinball (I was the only one 2 years ago)
"Now that there are four other 'makers of custom pinball' this explains why my game is being delayed. I had to take some time away from building MG, RAZA and AIW to teach those other guys how to make pinball machines. It's what I do. I'm John Papadiuk. I give back to the community. You're welcome."
, and most of them are using the old WMS style of cabinet and cabinet fittings.
"Those idiots are relying on parts designs that have stood the test of time, are cheap, well made and easily available..."
We also talked about this back at the start, but decided to spend the time and money creating our own look, brand, design and cabinet features. I am very pleased.
"We on the other hand, have decided to 're-invent-the-meal' and are brewing our own entirely new, much more expensive, unproven cabinet design that will take much longer to produce assuming we can find someone to produce it. I will then spend another $20,000 to patent this custom design in order to please myself. I like pleasing myself. I am very pleased."
At this time we are having the pinball cartons designed and some samples being made.
"Once I have a sample pinball carton designed, I will stand before it and bask it the glory of its designer, pull out a lamp I bought at Goodwill, and ask the magic genie inside to reproduce those cartons and fill them with the most amazing pinball machine you've ever seen. For I am John Papadiuk, doer of things that are more than possible!"
A pro box for a pro game. Again something not hugely riveting but still 2 companies with a small design team to accomplish this.
"It takes two companies with a small design team to produce a cardboard box. So don't you criticize me. Have you ever made a 'Pro Box(tm)' Check-mate. I rest your case!"
Similar for some other items and things we are doing, the future of pinball. Our future as a hobby.
"I appreciate your faith in me and my ability to represent the future of pinball. As you can see, there's every chance I will let you down, but that's likely to happen because I am John Papadiuk, I work to eleven, get up at the Crack of Don, and I just got a new rug for my office! The future of pinball is safe and in my hands."
Obviously patents need to be protected, and we felt with our new light system it was worth the time and effort.
"One of my biggest fans is my patent attorney. If you all could see what he sees, you'd understand why I do what I do. It's worth it. He gets me. He understands why this technology is important and he spends a lot of time and effort too."
Especially for the coming years ahead and some of the game themes we want to do or people we want to partner with.
"Ok, I'm sorry. I have no freakin' idea what I am talking about. For a moment there I drifted off and was thinking about cream corn. Why is it so tasty? Why has there not been a 'Creamed Corn'-themed pinball machine? Oh wow. I smell pre-order #4 cooking! Oh wait, where was I? "
In this case there are dozens more “secrets” behind the scenes we keep quiet, and some really big negotiations in the works and off the blog for good reasons.
"You can see why it's important to keep these things secret. I've already said too much and given away too much of our great, unique ideas: cardboard box to put the game in, different leg bolts that cost five times more than regular ones, our Nigerian government partner, and an industry-first cricket-free pinball game! I've said too much. This e-mail will self-destruct in both 5 or 211,783 seconds."
All of this is important to what we are doing and reflected in the game design ultimately. It’s just not about a playfield.
"Playfields are soooo overrated. I invite you to marvel at the design of our 'Pro Box(tm)'. Yea, we did that. Who else has a Pro Box(tm)? Custom made cardboard. Sample. Going to be many more. You're welcome."
So for me the quiet time, which is no blogging, is full of work, invention and design. We never stop creating and the Mac computers we use are but a tool and not the source of our genius. Chirp…Jpop"
"I like the quiet time. That's when my wife goes to sleep and I get to watch Nick at Night. It's the source of our genius: Pro Boxes, time-brain-dilation-zidmatron, spinning seats, creamed corn, zombies, jesus, alice in wonderland, crickets.. HA! Fooled you. Still no crickets! Case And Point. You're welcome."
Quoted from jonnyo:
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.
That's their prerogative, but this is also what enables the scammers to keep scamming.
I continue to be amazed at how many people are willing to write off such a huge loss, especially to someone who really didn't ever seem serious about making good on his promises.
There are some battles that are worth fighting. This seems one of them.
Quoted from Jazman:
So I listened to the latest Spooky yesterday which (as Joe indicated) had an interview with ZombieYeti. The part that jumped out at me, and quite frankly I *STILL* can't believe it despite being able to believe anything after this fiasco, is that as recently as the last couple weeks, John actually sent an RFQ to ZY to have him quote doing some more work!!!
W... T... F... is this guy smoking?
Seriously John - do you have a mental disease?!? Do you live in reality or just your own fantasy world?
For all we know, Zidware is still taking deposits from unwitting people who aren't aware of the situation.
Quoted from jwilson:
Pinball is (or was) John's life. He did it for you, those who believed in him. He did not intend this to happen, it happened because of poor planning, because of negative posts cutting off and panicking his buyers.
So according to Jack, poor, poor, JPop.. it was "negative posts" that caused his downfall? WTF? Doesn't anybody take any frickin responsibility for stuff?
There are posts all over the Internet with JPop telling people how hard it is to design pinball games and how much resources are needed. He knew from day one what he was doing. He may live in a fantasy world where money grows on trees, but he occasionally poked his head out of the weeds to lecture other people on how he was more experienced than they.
It's getting harder and harder to believe what anybody says in this industry the way they all circle their wagons and accuse their own customers of being the persecutors.
So y'all remember, it's not their fault they didn't deliver what they promised. It's our fault because we had the audacity to complain about it. It's our fault we found questionable issues with backroom deals and business associates with dubious, criminal pasts. How dare we question what's behind that curtain? We destroyed JPop's life! We shoulda just kept giving him more more money, and never complain, but we screwed up!
Quoted from blue95:
So if JJP ever runs out of money, will this be what he tells his customers?
I saw the same thing. VERY odd that JJP is defending JPop. If JJP is solvent and capable, why would he be defending someone who wasn't? The first thing I'd be saying is, "Sorry about what happened to JPop but he, unlike my company, didn't have a plan and didn't have the proper resources to take products to market."
Quoted from frolic:
GOOD LORD!!! Those updates are from this past month... POST Pintasia failure. He is LITERALLY playing pinball arts & crafts to this day. What a freaking moron. No words....
My guess is... his lawyer has advised him to keep cranking out progress reports so it doesn't look like his primary attempt was to defraud people. It's very clever. Especially given his customers have been so emasculated they're unwilling to lobby for criminal charges. What a shame. People keep calling JPop an idiot, but it's turning out that he's smarter than his customers. If he took my money, I'd be calling the Illinois Attorney General every day until they launched an investigation.
Quoted from bounoun:
But JPOP never told the fucking truth and kept luring in customers long after he KNEW no machines would be ever made.
There were signs something was screwed up from day one. Requiring customers to sign a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement? To buy a pinball machine?
The writing was on the wall that something was way off. And now seeing the prototypes, what's there that was so secret? Woo Hoo. He designed a new cabinet that is less-functional and more expensive than the one the industry uses. Hold the stampede of other companies rushing to copy it! Look! Magnets! He's got magnets everywhere! Wow, who woulda thought??
Even as he cranks out AIW progress reports, looks like he ripped off Pat Lawlor's TZ battle-the-power mini-playfield.
And now JJP is apologizing for JPop? This industry gets weirder and weirder.
Meanwhile Gary Stern is probably laughing his ass off, building an underwater secret lair complete with laser beam death rays...
Quoted from NYP:
Why is it OK for Ben to say whatever he wants about JPOP but Jack gets criticized when he says something?
I don't think anybody here ever gets a free pass.
You think Ben and Jack's comments are comparable? Really?
You realize it's about WHAT they said, not that they said something.
If Ben started suggesting it was the pinball community's fault that JPop failed, he'd be heavily criticized too.
Quoted from PanzerFreak:
Guys, Jack apologized a little while ago. Post 6945 in The Hobbit update thread.
From the thread above
"I'm sorry that my post was misunderstood. I'm sorry that it confused or upset anyone. It was my personal opinion.
I always thank our customer base for putting us in business and I never forget that.
John is a person, with a family, that was the main point of my post.
This is Pinball"
LOL.. that's not an "apology."
"I'm sorry you didn't understand what I meant." "I'm sorry you were confused or upset."
He's not sorry he said anything. He's sorry we don't 100% agree with him.
From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-apology_apology
A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations. It most commonly entails the speaker saying that he or she is sorry not for a behavior, statement or misdeed, but rather is sorry only because a person who has been aggrieved is requesting the apology, expressing a grievance, or is threatening some form of retribution or retaliation.
An example of a non-apology apology would be saying "I'm sorry that you feel that way" to someone who has been offended by a statement. This apology does not admit that there was anything wrong with the remarks made, and additionally, it may be taken as insinuating that the person taking offense was excessively thin-skinned or irrational in taking offense at the remarks in the first place. Another form of non-apology is one which does not apologize directly to the person who was injured or insulted, but instead offers a generic apology "to anyone who might have been offended."
Statements that use the word "sorry" but do not express responsibility for wrongdoing may be meaningful expressions of regret, but such statements can also be used to elicit forgiveness without acknowledging fault.
Look, I am a fan of JJP. I'm a WOZ owner and I love the game.
What bothers me more than anything else is this annoying attitude of, "You're-either-with-us-or-you're-against-us" that a lot of people including Jack and JPop have. Like they expect people to be total sycophants or else they're haters. The reality is somewhere in the middle. We can like what they do that's good, and dislike when they make mistakes. I'm no "hater."
I consider myself more of a "realist" who isn't afraid to say when something doesn't look right. Anybody in any business that feels a need to surround themselves exclusively with people who tell their their sh*t doesn't stink can't be that good of a businessman. You have to take the good with the bad. You have to admit when you screw up.
Take responsibility for stuff, and stop calling the community a bunch of "haters" because they're stating the obvious.
Zidware is a total disaster. There's no other way around that.
JJP is a great company that has a promising future and has produced a very good product. But their public relations is pretty crappy. If I point that out, I'm not a "hater", I'm saying, Hey here's a problem that you can address if you'll stop treating everyone who is offering constructive criticism like they're an enemy who wants to dance on your grave. It's not the case.
Quoted from Gunske:
See, you guys gave him money for a very special pinball DESIGN, you got the design, so why complain?
OMG.. that's hilarious.. I wonder if he can use that defense? "Silly people, I never said I was going to give you a machine. I was giving you the 'design'. It's up to you to produce the game.."
Perhaps the problem here is everybody was supposed to be doing it along with him, kinda like this guy...
"Now grab your pop bumper and try this...."
The people he has defrauded have obviously not made any impact on him. So he's going to continue to do what he's doing. PT Barnum would be proud.
If it were me, I'd have called everyone he's doing business with. There'd be an aggressive campaign to pursue criminal charges. I'd have put flyers on all the telephone poles around the neighborhood, "Have you seen this man? He claims to have been selling pinball machines but he takes peoples money and delivers nothing!" I'd call the landlord of the building he's in and let him know that the guy is being sued and is defrauding people of money and claims he's broke.
But... until then, he's going to carry on. Makes you wonder whether crime really does pay.. at least in the hobby of pinball?
There's nothing to indicate he's crazy. Obviously he's got narcissistic personality disorder big time. But there's no real reason for him to do anything since nobody's really appearing to seek proper justice. There is no way what he's done is not criminal. Forget about civil suits. The real action is in lobbying for a criminal investigation. It's the only way to get him to bust out the money he's siphoned away from the corporate shell. If the victims go after him in civil court, the lawyers make all the money. If the victims go after him for criminal charges, he'll pay them off directly to keep from going to jail. I guarantee he'll find the money to pay back those he defrauded if the alternative is jail time for him and his wife.
We all know where things are going to go in the civil case. If people want their money back, they need to be petitioning the attorney general and the local media to get on the case.
Quoted from pinstor12:
somebody pump up the local media.
Time for action.
Still waiting on my RAZA refund.
What do you mean "somebody?"
DUDE.. you want a refund, do something about it.
If it were my money, I'd have it already. If you want your money back, do something. Contact the media, call the Attorney General. I don't have standing. You do.
Quoted from rai:
I know they say Jack is a great businessman, I mean he probably is. But the theory is that it's far easier to keep your own loyal customers than to win over new customers.
We are witnessing an implosion of the industry.
It's really a shame.
Y'all have no idea how many opportunities these people are letting slip away.
It's hilarious that domain was never registered before...
Whoever set up that site is keeping themselves secret.. lol
Domain Name: JOHNPOPADIUK.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1948763032_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.bluehost.com
Registrar URL: http://www.bluehost.com/
Updated Date: 2015-07-23T18:59:04Z
Creation Date: 2015-07-23T18:59:03Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2016-07-23T18:59:03Z
Registrar: FastDomain Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 1154
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: email@example.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1 801 765 9400
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited (https://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited)
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: DOMAIN PRIVACY SERVICE FBO REGISTRANT
Registrant Street: 1958 SOUTH 950 EAST
Registrant City: PROVO
Registrant State/Province: UTAH
Registrant Postal Code: 84606
Registrant Country: UNITED STATES
Registrant Phone: +1.8017659400
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: WHOIS@BLUEHOST.COM
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: DOMAIN PRIVACY SERVICE FBO REGISTRANT
Admin Street: 1958 SOUTH 950 EAST
Admin City: PROVO
Admin State/Province: UTAH
Admin Postal Code: 84606
Admin Country: UNITED STATES
Admin Phone: +1.8017659400
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: WHOIS@BLUEHOST.COM
Registry Tech ID:
Quoted from ForceFlow:
Spamming the link over and over again in the same thread isn't going to affect search engine rankings. What helps is when the link is posted on multiple websites and visitors are accessing it from multiple sites.
AND, most importantly, the link should be wrapped around keywords like "magic girl", "jpop", "zidware", etc, that way those terms are associated with the web site and will cause the link to be listed near the top.
If you really want this to be done right, edit Wikipedia and create a page for John Popadiuk. There is not a page there for him. Wikipedia has the highest Google pagerank. You can put the full gory details of his business/dealings there as long as it's done in a neutral tone and has appropriate citations. It's funny that there are articles for many designers but not him.
There apparently were several different pages. There's a "John popadiuk" (with a little "p") page that has some dirt on him, but it's going to be deleted because it's not appropriately written. If you want things to stick, the page has to conform to the standard Wiki pages, and have a section that includes the scandal. Then even JPop can't get it removed if it's well-documented.
Quoted from BMore-Pinball:
Whoever runs that site, be very careful you are only posting facts. Beware of libel
Alternatively they could preface the web site with, "This is an opinion and should not be construed as fact. Always do your own research."
But I guess anybody can sue anybody anyway.
However, in a case like this, the facts seem to be on the side JPop isn't on.
Quoted from TigerLaw:
I don't expect any real update until the litigation really gets going.
I'm sure JPop's deposition transcript or, even better, video deposition will make its way into the public's hands and that will generate another 2,000 posts...easy. Till then, I expect little news.
I just wish JPop would use whatever money he has left to payback whatever he can and end the charade of working on AIW.
Why should he pay anybody back?
His victims are willing to let him run away with the money, even though what he's done is clearly criminal.
A civil lawsuit doesn't mean squat. Worst case he declares bankruptcy and starts over. Everybody thinks he's crazy but he's actually playing the perfect role to pretend he's still doing stuff. Everybody would have been paid if his victims had lobbied for criminal investigation/prosecution. I spoke to a few of the people who paid him. They all have weird personal reasons for not wanting to come forward. He picked a good group of people to take advantage of. None of them are willing to inconvenience themselves enough to hold him criminally-accountable - and make no mistake, he could be if his victims weren't so apathetic. So be it.
Quoted from rommy:
You are 100% wrong - about there being no attempt to hold him criminally responsible. You are also 100% wrong about the impact of civil proceedings against him, his wife, and all his companies.
I am suing. I gave gone as far as I can with the FBI, the locals, and the state AG. I have one more criminal card to play which I will keep close to the vest until financial blood is already spilling.
You think you can do better? Send him a deposit for AIW and start legal proceedings to recover your money. I bet you can get in for $500.
I wouldn't have the standing the other people have if I sent him money. Not the same thing.
If I was "100% wrong" then the Chicago Attorney General would be launching an investigation, the FBI would have raided his place and taken all his computers and records.
I've read over this thread. The general consensus is, "we can't do anything because look at this other company and they didn't do anything about them..."
If enough people contacted the right people both locally and nationally, there would be a big investigation. I made a list of things to do for one of the victims, but he didn't want the hassle.
If I had been one of the people who had been screwed, there would be an investigation. I'd have called all the local news people and bugged them regularly until they did a story on it. I'd have plastered flyers everywhere; I'd have contacted the FBI, the AG here there and everywhere. If you make a big enough stink, they do something. You can't take peoples' money and screw them. It's illegal. The reason criminal charges are not being pursued is because the enforcement agencies don't have it as a high priority. But the people have the ability to make it a high priority if they make a big enough stink about it. It all comes back to the fact that the victims aren't willing to fight enough for justice. That's the way it is. It doesn't have to be that way, but that's how it's going down.
If you called the FBI, of course they're going to blow you off. But if you get the media involved and you're relentless; if you call attention to how local law enforcement are "letting people rip consumers off and not taking action" they will be forced to respond.
The civil case? What's going to happen with that? The law firm will get more money than anybody else. If there's any money to be had. The only real solution has always been lobby for a criminal investigation, and what are people talking about instead? Sending them pizzas and bugging JPop in public or at his office. Not the right approach for justice.
People think there's nothing that can be done... there's always something that can be done...
Here are a few examples of things I've done when I've been screwed by companies.. much bigger companies where I was much less important...
I hired a company to do some leveling for my house. They came out and jacked up part of the house and broke the brick facade on my property. I argued that was too much damage. They said, "Oh well, it's in the contract that we're not responsible for any damage of that nature.." I called the head of the local franchise. They told me they couldn't do anything about it.
So I registered a domain name (theircompanynameSUCKS.com) and I put up before and after pictures of my house. Then I called their home office and said, "check out the web site I did because your local franchise wouldn't help me fix the damage they did.." Within two weeks I got a check for three times the amount of money I paid them to fix my property.
A few years later I was looking at real estate in a rural area of the country. One prerequisite was that I needed high speed Internet, so when I found a piece of property I wanted, I called the local ISP/telco to inquire if I could get DSL there. They said yes, so I purchased the property and ordered DSL. It kept getting cancelled and I eventually was told, "Yea, you're too far out, we can't provide you DSL." Well, that's not what your reps told me... they said, "Yea, well they were wrong. Sorry!"
I guess at that point I could have just left things at that.
Instead, I drafted a letter outlining my situation. I researched who was on the board of directors for this super large telecom company, and I send e-mails to every member on the board and all their executive staff.
Three days later I got a phone call from the Vice President of the company and he said, "We'll get you taken care of."
If somebody does you wrong, there is always a way to make it right IF you're willing to not let yourself be railroaded.
The Attorney General of Chicago is an elected official. He cares about his reputation. If there's a movement to make him seem unable to take care of problems in the area, he WILL act. If he thinks the people JPop screwed over are unimportant, the he won't do anything. So it's up to his victims to make sure taking action is necessary. This is how things get done. If the local action reporter does a story on a business in area taking peoples money and screwing them over... they're going to ask the AG what they're doing about it. I guarantee you on camera, the guy won't go, "We don't care."
Quoted from toyotaboy:
I've also heard stories where people will order a T-1 line for a month, then cancel it. In order to provide a T-1 line, that requires them to run the lines and equipment. Then since the backbone is there, you can order a more affordable service like DSL.
LOL, that's clever! I never thought of that.
In this rural area where I got DSL hooked up, I'm now known as "The strange man who brought Internet to the country." ha ha
I think all the country people think I'm some high-ranking government official because I got the hook up when none of them couldn't.
But in reality, if you make enough noise, you can make things happen.
I remember a friend of mind was having trouble with his telephone/internet service through Bellsouth. He felt like he couldn't get anything accomplished. I said, "Why don't you go downtown to the main BellSouth office and wait outside to speak to the president?" He was like, "Are you crazy? Why would they see me?" I said, just sit in the office. At some point they have to come out and you can corner them. So he did that, and got a short audience with one of the very high-ups, and after that, he had his own high-level Bellsouth representative assigned to him. Whatever he needed, was taken care of. The executive probably said something like, "Do whatever you have to so I never see that person again..." lol
Quoted from rommy:
Mike you could do all of those things yourself and help everyone here out. Why don't you? You don't need legal standing to help your fellow hobbyists right a wrong. You know what happened. IMHO you are now complicit by inaction - like not helping a drowning friend. You claim to "know" what to do - so do it. Help. Just sitting pointing out what should be done by others indicates a really ego centered personality and I think you could do better. You even used examples to show your expertise in these matters. Use it!
I wish it were that simple, but it's not.
I am not the person who was wronged here. If I run around making a fuss it doesn't look right. Nobody wants to hear from some guy who wasn't a victim of the scam? Where are the people who actually were taken advantage of? If I call the action reporter and tell them "my story", it's meaningless. If I tell them "this happened to a friend" they'll hang up on me. There are certain journalistic standards. They don't want to hear it from me. I'm not a principal in the crime. They need to hear it from someone who was involved. Someone who engaged in a contractual relationship, was made promises and was taken advantage of. Otherwise it's "hearsay."
I had someone contact me that offered to pay me to help them, but they didn't want to get involved. But I can't do that. First off, I do not want to profit from anybody else's misfortune. That's just not right. But secondly, I can't really create the waves because I'm an outsider. Yea, I guess I could cut JPop a check and wait 3-4 years and then I'd have my own case, but seriously... I'm not going to do that. It really doesn't make sense.
Quoted from rosh:
The problem with your examples is that those were companies who actually cared about their reputation.
The attorney general, which is for the State, not the city, and FYI Jpop is not located within the city of Chicago, regardless, she has much higher priority issues to take on, ones that impact a large number of her constituents (e.g. whether state workers should be paid during a budget impasse, going after a business that has illegal foreclosed on hundreds of home owners, etc.) vs an issue of a couple of hundred people, most from out of state, not getting a product they ordered from a start-up business. Not saying she would not care, but, not like it would be a top priority.
It is more likely that civil court action will move this along.
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.
Quoted from rommy:
You are wrong until you prove otherwise.
You could help. But you won't. I guess ... Thanks anyways? For not helping.
Your callous comments show no empathy or compassion for families that have been scammed out of thousands of dollars. And you say you could help , but say you won't .
Let's be clear - I presume you are blustering/not being truthful. If you are not fabricating - then prove it, help these victims. That's what this should be about, right? Justice for the victims? Or do you feel like victim blaming is better for everyone?
IMHO - We cannot continue to blame victims here on Pinside. There are scammers here - we should recognize that and call em out when we see them. And if someone like Mike could get off his stump and actually DO something we might see real results, maybe. But commenting on a Pinside thread does not seem to me to be much action. There are guys here who have gone MUCH further to try and deal with this - including me.
I said before, I'm not in a position to do more than encourage/assist those who were scammed to take action. I don't have *standing*.
One more time...
1. criminal action > civil action
2. criminal investigation requires someone to pursue charges
3. that involves someone who was a victim
4. that is not me
Someone who was scammed needs to be a figurehead to rally interest and support for an investigation. I could call the local action reporter, but they want to talk to someone who was scammed. That's not me. And if the people that were scammed are unwilling to stand up and speak to the press and authorities and promote the pursuit of justice, then nobody else will either.
This isn't "victim blaming." It's reality. If you don't have a victim. You don't have a crime.
Quoted from Pinballs:
The facts speak for themselves. At the NW Show MG was 40% or less complete, after 4 years. This was never going to happen. Jpop was in a design and foam loop, unable to take it to the next level (manufacturing), but rather instead looping back to design another machine and another and... 7 in total, 3 main ones?
What's really interesting about JPop's position now is the bizarre duality he's exhibiting...
His lawyer obviously told him there's a potential/precarious case of wire fraud against him, but it hinges on whether or not his defrauding of customers was dishonest and intentional, so he keeps harping on one hand about how "bad a CEO/businessman" he is, but how awesome a designer he is. But then he criticizes everyone who fails to help him salvage his business as being inferior.
His argument of "making an honest mistake" and screwing over customers gets weaker by the day.
And he's worried about living in a van? If his victims really sought justice, he'd be under indictment for fraud.
I still think he's doing an amazing job of stringing people along, pretending he's really worried about the civil case, while what he's really doing is trying to insulate himself from any criminal liability.
LOL this thread has gone on so long we need to routinely have a montage/flash-back to remind ourselves of the epic journey...
Quoted from Mr68:
According to Pinside (in this thread) EVERYBODY knew Popaduik was a flake in advance INCLUDING US!!! But we were so stupid and greedy we proceeded anyway....
A judgmental Pinside, with the benefit of hindsight, making hateful, inaccurate comments about fellow collectors is my frustration.
Popadiuk is a grease stain on the bottom of my shoe.
I think you know that's not true. In fact, when he first made his announcements almost everybody on pinside was cheering like WWII ended.
Someone should dig up the original threads. I know I was one of the very few who was skeptical of the whole deal from the beginning: no design team, making people to sign a NDA? I was viciously attacked for being a "hater." I can't remember if my stuff is still up or I edited it down after I was ganged up on. I know I steered clear of Pinside for quite awhile after that. There were a few people skeptical of the deal from the beginning, but there was a much greater wave of sycophants who didn't want to hear any voices of reason -- and that's what it was -- it wasn't like we were psychics. I'm not special. The writing was on the wall in the beginning. Making people sign a NDA was a huge warning sign. Not revealing the design and production team was another. Crazy how nobody wanted to talk much about that.
In the same "voice of reason" vein is my frustration over people who seem to think somehow they can reason with John and get him to magically reverse this course that it appears everyone who had personal dealings with him knows is pathological. Why bother worrying whether he apologizes or not? Even if he did, it would be meaningless. He has no intention of "making things right" with his customers unless someone else does it for him.
Quoted from rommy:
This is 100% wrong. Justice is being sought by the victims. If you cannot see that you are blind.
If you really cared about anything but "I told you so" you would help the victims. It appears you will not lift a finger except to type out "I told you so" drivel. HELP THE VICTIMS MIKE! These are real people with families that got robbed. Not some sideshow for your amusement.
It's really tiring, this argument you keep using that nobody is allowed to have an opinion unless they can solve everybody's problems instantly.
What kind of "justice" is this civil case going to accomplish?
If you look all around the world, any place where there were people hurting or defrauding others, it wasn't an isolated incident. It was usually an ongoing pattern. People who take advantage of others will continue to do so until they are stopped. Every time someone is victimized, they have a choice: turn the other cheek and let it go, or stand and fight and try to keep the person from causing more harm to others. People that are attacked in "civil" proceedings rarely go on to be upstanding citizens later. They just wiggle out of the mess, and then move onto another scheme. Look at all the companies all around the world that do bad things to people - and they get fined... and then they go about their business. If those CEOs did jail time, things would stop. There's a big difference between civil justice and criminal justice. Just something to think about... and those who were victimized are at a point where they can make a choice. It's their choice to make. Not mine. Whether you like it or not, this is something that people do need to be made aware of if we as a community don't want to see these things continue to repeat themselves.
It's just something to think about. It's another perspective to the issue and the conversation.
One reason why this mess got so bad is because people like you Rommy, attacked anyone who didn't espouse your specific viewpoint. You shut out other perspectives. Customers retreated into a little private bubble and stroked each other on the back about how awesome the deal was, and refused to listen to other peoples' opinions. You're still doing it. Perhaps you should try something different and you might get different results?
The same thing goes for JPop. He closes himself off to anyone and anything that doesn't support his position. And he demonizes anyone with whom he disagrees. There seems to be a lot of misunderstandings all over the place over who thinks who is at fault, and it is exacerbated by the fact that nobody wants to hear what anybody else thinks...
Quoted from Mr68:
"Hey, that anonymous guy, PinballHelp in New Orleans is really God and I better worship him" .
Can you be any more dramatic?
Look, I'm just trying to help people. That's all.
You have an opinion. I have an opinion. Feel free to disregard mine if it troubles you.
The BBB deal was a big gamble. You think that was a good deal? Y'all just got lucky. Plus, the BBB situation wasn't comparable to Zidware. The game was already designed. You could actually see and play the game - there were prototypes in existence before any money was collected. Gene already had the boards and a good bit of the parts. With Zidware, you all were skating on vapor. While both deals were precarious, JPop's was even more unstable.
Congrats on getting a BBB. I wouldn't have gotten in on that deal either. It doesn't make me stupid. I don't participate in this hobby like it's a casino or stock market. I went for WOZ because it made sense - the team was established, the resources were there. I got my game. You lucked out on BBB. Hindsight is 20-20, but don't pat yourself on the back for that. You took a big gamble and luckily it paid off. Good for you.
In some ways, Gene's "miracle" of producing BBB is probably a major factor in why so many start-ups can get peoples' money. Everybody thinks lighting will strike twice in the same spot. I wouldn't bet on that, especially when dealing with groups that have significantly less resources. Ultimately, comparing BBB to MG is apples (that actually exited and you could taste) to oranges (that were a figment of someone's imagination that nobody ever saw).
Anyway, I wish everybody luck in seeking "justice." Don't hate on me because I am skeptical that justice can be served in civil court. I'm just giving my 0.02. There are better approaches to get ones money back IMO. But if its your money, seek "justice" how you want.
Quoted from Mr68:
By the way, Pinside. Be sure to contemplate and analyze this comment.
Especially this portion.
Feel free to interpret that as you wish but I've been giggling of how obvious that comment is. And it speaks to credibility or lack of.
I'm pretty sure if you go back far enough, you'll find my original posts way back when criticizing the Jpop deal.
When I say I may have edited it, it was probably to remove any endless arguing with people who were convinced they were making a brilliant move, after it became pointless that trying to offer a voice of reason was futile.
And in offering alternative suggestions on how to seek justice other than via a civil suit, I feel a strange sense of deja vu.
Quoted from frobozz:
I'm not here as a John apologist. (Heck, I was trying to just be here as a lurker.) I know nothing more about this situation than what I've read in this thread, and it sounds pretty crappy for anyone that got involved. I just think that anyone who is imagining John as some evil genius scam artist has clearly not ever run their own struggling business. It warps your mind, it makes you do things you wouldn't normally do, it can even ruin your life and the lives of others. My business partners and I ended our struggling business with a lot of personal debt, and it took me years to recover. I hope John similarly finds some way to eventually put everything right, though from the sound of things he hasn't reached the stage yet where the magical cloud blows away and he can see the situation for what it truly is.
It's one thing to make a mistake. It's another thing to refuse to take ANY RESPONSIBILITY for that mistake.
We are not talking about an honest guy who "got lost in the maze of entrepreneurship" -- it's not like JPop said, "I'm sorry this happened. I want to make it right. I'll work and try to repay everybody." He didn't do that. He was like, "Oh well, it didn't work out. I'm moving on (after collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars) and you should move on too, and if you don't, then you're a 'hater'."
This is the behavior of a sociopath. A person who lacks empathy for others. This is what happens when you do business with sociopaths. Sometimes your interests can be served along with theirs, but if there's ever a conflict, you're going to be the loser, because they'll always be looking out for themselves long before they'll respect their own word to those that helped them along the way.
It's the height of irony to ask other people to put themselves in JPop's shoes and empathize with him, when that's the furthest thing in his mind to do for his customers.
I finally got a chance to listen to the C2C podcast with JPop. I actually sat through the entire show, although in fairness I was driving 500 miles and was kinda a captive audience.
I wanted to share my thoughts after hearing John's side of the story...
First, I think Nate did a good job - I have not listened to any follow-up podcasts about the initial interview. People gave Nate a hard time claiming he didn't ask enough/the right/tough questions, but in fairness, John didn't give him a chance to talk. JPop pretty much started his engine and rambled continually - it was hard to get any words in edgewise. I was fully-prepared for Nate to toss him a bunch of softballs, but I do think he asked him the right questions, perhaps more indirectly than people feel JPop deserved, but it was pretty obvious John was going to say what he was going to say regardless.
The TL;DR of the podcast appeared to be: "Making pinball is haaaaarrrd. I shouldn't have been the CEO. If I had: a) better customers who didn't criticize or sue me, and b) better partners who understand that pinball is haaaaaarrrd, and c) better _(everything else)__ the project would have been a great success. Oh well. Let's talk about the do-hickeys on my custom cabinet. Look how special they are. By the way, did I mention how haaaaaaarrrrd making a pinball machine is?"
I found it odd that it seemed important to so many that JPop should at least "apologize" to everybody; I always felt that an apology was largely irrelevant - give the money back or give them their machines. If you order something on Amazon and never get it, do you need an "apology?" But in the wake of listening to the podcast, and how obsessed he was about deflecting blame upon everybody else, I can see what a "breakthrough" something as simple as that would actually be for the guy. My girlfriend has a degree in social work, and midway into the podcast we both turned to each other and said, "Narcisstic Personality Disorder?" Really, the most pronounced series of symptoms I've seen.
At the same time, I found it hard not to appreciate what this guy has managed to pull off. There's a duality here that is intoxicatingly bizarre: on one hand he appears to be grossly incompetent, but on the other, there are so many indications of baiting-and-switching and clever misdirection that it's hard to label it as mere naivety, inexperience or incompetence. He pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars. And he got all of his victims to basically keep quiet for years. And he repeated the scam three times! He is apparently well-versed in what his legal rights/obligations are and the interview amplified the M.O. he's promoting that he had "noble intent" but was just a fumbling [yet brilliant] designer. cue trombone: wah wah... poor John. If only someone had given him a corner office and his own team, everything would have worked out. Is that really the "problem?" Does he really believe that?
The weird thing is, he actually might. He honestly, probably needs to see a psychiatrist (if he isn't already). I know there are many people who seem to know and like the guy and can't explain what has happened. I think a good therapist can probably offer more insight into "what happened" at this point than a civil court judge or a bunch of internet pundits.
But the one thing that left me the most puzzled was the constant contradiction he kept making: People don't understand how hard it is to make a game -- and that's why everything failed, but at the same time, he's lecturing everybody because he's "JPop", he knows how hard it is. You can't have it both ways John. You can't suggest to everybody that you're an expert in pinball, AND you have no idea how pinball machines get made. You spent 1/4 of the Interview talking about how experienced you were, and then another 1/4 talking about how inexperienced everybody else was, and the remaining half talking about how you didn't know things were going to be so difficult. What??
I think Nate even tried to pin John down on this inconsistency, but he was harder to hit than ToM's haunted basement.
In the end, I have to admit, I alternate between feeling sorry for John, feeling sorry for his customers, and feeling like he's still playing everybody.
The one thing JPop did very effectively in the podcast, was make it seem like all this mess/fraud was never originally-intended, which is perfect to force this issue exclusively as a civil matter and not criminal (the core detail that make the case criminal is whether Zidware had "intent" to defraud as opposed to just screwed up). So again, JPop pulls another magic trick: pretending to be "just a guy with good intentions" which serves his personal interests at this time perfectly. I don't sense any remorse. I don't sense any sincere attempt to want to make anything right. I sense a clever move to make sure this mess is confined to the civil court, which should allow him to make a fairly clean exit.
Me personally, I cannot imagine doing what he did. It's just not within the fiber of my being, which is why I haven't been very tolerant of the weird shenannigans, the NDAs, etc. I've come to learn, there are different types of people and their brains work differently. I can't sometimes relate to that. I don't understand how someone could take that much money from other people and just write it off as, "oops! oh well.." But different people are different. I can see how the inability for John to honestly accept responsibility makes it even more painful to his victims, and I feel for you all.
Quoted from QuickSilverShelby:
Only little johnny and a few others proclaim he is a brilliant designer. He is not a brilliant designer,....... period. Ritchie, Lawlor, Nordman are brilliant designers. Jpop is a "B" designer at best with a couple of decent games under his belt. He's just a 3 dressed up as..... 2 and now John has shit tanked his 3 rating down to a ZERO rating. Good riddance, we don't need you around here johnny and Pinball is a thousand percent better off without you for what you've done you Narcisstic .
What I'd really like to know is how many people signed up and got out? I imagine there were a lot of people mid way into the deal that backed out. I'd heard rumors of all kinds of buying and selling of game positions over the years. The NDA probably helped some people get their money back/out and caused others to enter the game late and get taken to the cleaners.
Settlement and an NDA? Really? I think if JPop or Zidware cared about their reputation, they wouldn't have done half of what they've done already. Although... this could be the liability of going with a class action... the lawyers want to get paid at least, and could try to settle to get some of their legal fees, but it seems doubtful customers would ever get anything close to their money back. I hope at least one of them refuses to settle if a settlement is made. It seems obvious this will end with bankruptcy.
I still believe this is a criminal issue more than a civil issue. At what point does JPop's ignorance of how to run a business stop becoming an adequate defence against the ongoing fleecing of customers? It seems to me if there's any evidence of him taking a single payment from somebody pursuant to these pinball deals, after he's already declared he can't build them, that has to be evidence of intent to defraud, doesn't it seem? And that's criminal right?
I'm also curious why there wasn't a provision in his contract to have issues settled via arbitration? He had the NDA, non disparagement, why not an arbitration clause? Has the original agreement/NDA been posted?
Quoted from pinlink:
It's a shame that such a good designer (I think we would all agree that JPOP is an extremely talented designer)
This is the "designer" of SWE1. Widely regarded by almost everybody as an abject failure on every level.
I think the second P2K title was critical. His work on that platform didn't do it justice, and may have contributed to the downfall of that whole system. I wonder if Wizard Blocks had come out as #2 if things would have been different? We'll never know.
JPop's successes have exclusively been in concert with larger, teams of dedicated, experienced people. His solo efforts have not proven to reveal distinction.
He makes very pretty pinball machines that have decent flow. It's rare to see many of his games in competition because the games are repetitive and relatively easy for experienced players. I imagine they did well on location because they were very attractive. I own several of his games. I personally get bored with them, but I'm into technical gameplay. I find his games somewhat remedial and repetitive. However, I think his visual aesthetic is one of the best in the industry. But I think his best work has always been when he was put on a short leash. When he wasn't, he appears to be a disaster.
It bothers me how everybody is willing to give him most of the credit when everything great he ever did was as part of a solid team. Everything he did when he called most of the shots, didn't achieve much success, if not unravel into a complete mess.
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