This has been the saddest thread I have followed for any single day on this forum and an unfortunately dark portrait of the Pinside community. While the sad part should be the apparent - the designer of a boutique game allegedly lied, took cash installments despite C&D letters, and spent some of that money, and a good portion of that, for personal gain - it doesn't stop there and for the part played by this thread and its constituents has ultimately been the minor player. There is no protagonist and antagonist here duking it out for moral equivocation. This thread has been a downward spiral since I came to see the response to the Pinball News article that was released.
Player 1 - a voluminous number of hobbyists that took a financial risk and invested in a game that they hoped would bring a loved theme to life. They gave and have apparently been taken advantage of - they are the victims. If anyone could dispute this let them try and fall on their own blades as we go into blame the victim mode. Given the statements Aurich has said were made in a private message to him, particularly regarding those who were early to invest - those who call themselves the 'anonymous' group had vicious intent in holding back and not releasing information that could have helped any pre-ordering 'investor' to recoup some or all of their investment - a move that incidentally could have shaved months from this drawn out process and helped minimize the damage. Before I get the same downvotes many have gotten for -any- message they post regardless of its comments (and I have seen several post with no inflammatory statements downvoted 20+ times today) consider this: If a group of people in a theatre went into the lobby during the show and saw smoke coming from projection booth then simply walked out of the theatre, only to come back later and shout fire, how many would call them the heroes? Of course this is an exaggerated analogy, but it is just that - an analogy. If there was any intent to see any of the pre-order investors, at least two of whom were allegedly part of this trio of belated informers, then there were selfish and harmful motives to the process by which they alerted the audience to the danger.
Player 2 - Participants on the side of the manufacturing agent - aka Kevin. As for Noel and Aaron, and others, were any concerned about licensing then I would imagine as a stakeholder in the process you would want to protect yourself legally. I do not personally know what that means but if I were manufacturing parts for a licensed product I would want a legally valid license (read: printed and verified) produced before I took any money or orders so as to protect my part in this venture. Attacks have been made on these auxiliary agents - they did not take pre-order money and ultimately should be left out of the argument save for how they choose to enter it.
Player 3 - Kevin - hasn't shown up in this thread lately and has been extremely silent on most all fronts. I received an e-mail a few months back from him about a slot opening up for the pre-order but I no interest anymore for several reasons. The lack of prior communication about the process and licensing concerns brought up months ago were significant reasons.
What is the most sad? This thread has become a sort of one-stop-shop for divisiveness, judgment, and behavior bordering on slander. Rather than dealing with technical issues, I've seen several Thread Eject notices, edited posts, and the aforementioned numerous (and senseless/irrational) thumbs down. It's become a mudslinging contest with no concern for maturity and ultimately fact. Well over a thousand posts in one day and a large percentage of them filled with vile. I'm wondering why I didn't drain this topic but it comes down to using this thread as a barometer of how low some will go in deciding what kind of people various pinsiders actually are - definition in absentia. Except for bands of pinsiders here and there, many of you have no idea what kind of people each other are yet I've seen people make the kind of judgmental statements typical of religious and political arguments - emotionally based and often those kinds of things that we (hopefully) regret because they lessen our humanity.
If people knew for certain that a license was absolutely not held by Kevin and had proof of this it should have been revealed at that point - holding on to such information is otherwise spiteful and essentially invalidates the 'good' done by finding the information in the first place.
Here is what is known - little. I have seen (unless I missed in the umpteen pages today) no physical evidence that Fox or it's legal agents have communicated with anyone about a Predator pinball license - Kevin, Mr. 'X', anonymous, etc. I have seen no actual e-mails showing spiteful intent towards Hilton (though the copied e-mail suggests this). I've seen more downvotes in one thread than possibly exist in the rest of the database (or at least a sizable portion of posts in the last couple years). I rarely downvote, not because I want to be touchy feely, but negativity for the sake of negativity hurts the speaker almost as much (and in some cases more) than the receiver.
For those that pre-ordered - ALL of you - I wish you your money back in full though the likelihood is small. For those of you that have spent the day spitting at each other with a mouse click, agree to meet in real life and have a real conversation or perhaps grow up enough to realize all your negativity is just harming a community you claim (partly by using those downvotes) to want to wholly support.
Pinball is a game but hate is something else entirely.
EDIT: I picked an interesting moment to finally post, during my typing up an apparent email from Kevin was posted in this thread so the actual story of which this thread should be driven will be told in reality over the next few days and weeks.