I fear we'll get more 'art' at Expo this year
I love John's work and I respect what he's trying to do. I've seen the operation first hand and he is creating every single part from scratch, documenting it, applying for patents and even getting UL approvals and such. He is definitley going above and beyond and trying to set a new bar for pinball. As an owner I can see this on the RAZA blog with almost weekly updates.
The other side of the coin is that John is his own boss now and he's a creative mind. So, deadlines seem to be treated more like 'guidelines'. If it's not perfect, nothing moves forward.
He's also faced with the financial burden caused by the depth of his ambition and his desire to set himself apart from Williams and any current manufacturers. Had he simply used exisiting parts and systems for these early projects, we'd likely be playing both MG and RAZA by now... posibly using his profits from those projects to build up his operation at a normal pace. Unfortunately, the funding for the infrastructure necessary for this endeavour has to come from pre-orders and likely his own pocket. Not necessarily a wise model in the end. It seems to be an all-or-nothing approach. I'm sure everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you anticipate at the outset. Murphy's law takes effect real quick. For me, the excitement of what he's doing is waning and, although he was the first to annouce a zombie game, he'll likely be the last to get to market with it. The old rules of 'dibs' and respect for what another designer is doing simply don't seem to apply anymore. I even feel that John has purposely been derailed a little off his original (very cool) theme due to the parting of ways with Ben Hecks and projectc coming out of other camps.
Recently, despite all the great updates and progress, I was getting pretty disillusioned with the whole process and needed the money back, so I asked JPOP to let me out a few months back. I was told that I would have to sign away my rights to the game and wait for John to sell my spot before getting a refund.
With all due respect to John, I didn't feel confident that he had any desire to be out there flogging my spot while he had 3 games to build and I would likley be waiting indefinitely for my money... so I opted to simply stay in and suck it up. I do still want the game after all.
For those that don't get to see much, I can only say that we are starting to see populated playfields coming together and at least 3 protos being built. I have zero idea on where MG or AIW are as I have not thrown my hat into those rings, but I pray MG is close to being something we can play, or at least view, at Expo this year... even if slightly unfinished. If John shows up with nothing more than pictures and drawings again, I'm going to be immensely dissapointed. To be honest, I would wait another year for RAZA (and will likely have to), but I think his buyers accross the board deserve a show of good faith on his part come October 15. I think we've held up our end for the most part.
Fingers crossed. Hopefully he's listening.