Facebook Puritans

With my latest Kickstarter for “Out of the Woods” I’ve had to invest significant time, creativity, and money into a large-scale Facebook ad campaign. Kickstarter campaigns live and die by their ability to attract eyeballs.

We began pre-campaign marketing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram nearly two months before the Kickstarter launch. We grew the “Out of the Woods” Facebook page audience from 0 to 16,000 in that time, doubling our mailing list audience, and growing our other social channels similarly.

During the campaign, we’ve constantly run a series of Facebooks ads which feature artwork from the game and illustrated book. Among these images are illustrations from some of the most violent scenes in fairy tale lore – for example, the severed heads of the “the wives” from Bluebeard:

Facebook has accepted these advertisements and happily taken their fee for impressions and click-throughs. In the background, their advertising platform analyses ad performance and automatically promotes image/text/audience combinations which perform best.

Well-performing ads are good for everyone in the advertising equation – Facebook likes ads which engage and excite people while delivering a high CTR; advertisers like ads which maintain a high CTR and low CPI; while audiences like advertising which appeals to their interests and gives them an entertaining impression.

With all this going on I find it amusing when Facebook rejects an advertising image because a person (or automated review program) finds it offensive on the ground of being too sexually explicit. Even more amusing is when this happens in relation to an image which is relatively tame. This is a good case in point:

Game industry media have picked up on this story and found it similarly amusing. But there’s also a sad statement made when a platform like Facebook embraces violence and gore while rejecting the human form and any hint of sexuality. People often try to blame video game content for (mis)-shaping the minds of adolescents – but what of the near-constant barrage of messaging (or messaging by omission) presented in advertising?

I think Facebook has a fine system in place for automatically giving advertisers and audiences what they want. That system should be allowed to determine what works and what appeals. It’s not Facebook’s place to nanny us and filter the content we consume – any more than it’s their place to filter the news we read. Build a platform which caters to what people want to consume – and let the people decide!

Do you want to send a message to Facebook and tell them you’ll decide what sort of content you consume? Consider backing “Out of the Woods” and show your support for independent creativity and artistic expression of the human condition.

Hit this link to learn more —> “Out of the Woods” on Kickstarter

Help Me Promote the “Out of the Woods” Kickstarter

My latest twisted fairy tale project is live on Kickstarter RIGHT NOW.

“Out of the Woods” is a collection of 10 fairy tales presented as a table top card game, illustrated book, coloring book, and selection of art prints.

In 5 days we’ve already pulled in more than 50% of our funding goal, but we need YOUR help to maintain momentum and get to a strong finish.

So here are a bunch of OOTW promotion images you can share via your social media channels. Be sure to include a link to the Kickstarter page. I’ve been using bit.ly/getOOTW

Please help, because if you don’t wolves will eat us all!

Out of the Woods – Kicking Butt on Kickstarter

Out of the Woods is off to a roaring start!

Over 40k of funding in less than 12 hours!

It’s not conveyed in the Kickstarter story because I didn’t want to get all mushy right off the bat but OOTW is a really personal and personally meaningful project to me. That’s because the last year has been one of the most difficult of my life. Shutting down Spicy Horse, the studio I created and ran in Shanghai for 10 years, was bittersweet. I never realized how much of my identity was wrapped up in that place!

And I then encountered a series of personal tragedies for which I was wholly unprepared. No need to bore you with details, but these events sent me searching for meaning, tools, and explanation. From that search came a sense that I’d been doing many things wrong for a very long time. I’d made my bed, but wasn’t prepared to pay the piper. Mixed metaphors were the least of my problems.

So that’s why this project exists. It’s an attempt to make something fun (the game) and something serious (the book) in the hopes both might illuminate some of the lessons I’ve recently learned (and re-learned). Where “Alice” was a cathartic expression of the traumas I suffered during childhood, OOTW is an exploration of the lessons I’ve learned (often painfully) in adulthood.

Oh, and cool art, dark humor, and awesome collectibles! Those things too!

Want to learn more? Check out the project on Kickstarter.

Where is Alice 3? – Will there be an Alice 3? – New Alice? – Alice Sequel?

“Where is Alice 3” “Where’s the new Alice game?” “Will there be an Alice 3” “Alice Remaster!”

I get this question constantly. Several times per day. Across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and via my InReach satellite messenger. My dog has even learned how to ask this question via Morse code farts.

My hope is that this post will become the top search result for this question on Google and that you’ve arrived here after a Google search. Reading this, you won’t need to send a message to me directly asking any of these questions. That would be great.

So, to answer the question:

1. EA own, control, and decide the fate of the game rights to Alice. That means any new game must be green-lit, funded, produced, published, and distributed by them.

2. No, EA will NOT allow me (or anyone else) to crowd fund, raise investment for, or otherwise self-develop, self-fund, or self-publish any interactive version of Alice.

3. I HAVE NO CONTROL over the Alice rights, EA’s decision-making process, or anything at all related to Alice, Alice merchandise, Alice adaptations, etc, etc.

4. EA are aware that you’d like a new Alice game and that RJ Berg and I would be happy to assist in the design, writing, and development of such. We simply need to wait until EA think the time is right for a new game.

5. There probably WILL BE another Alice game before we all die, but your requests, ideas, and harebrained schemes to make that happen faster should be sent to EA, not me.

6. No, I cannot put you in touch with “that person” at EA. Tweet at them. That’s what I do.

7. Please, stop asking me this question or questions in general related to a new Alice game. Again, I have no more control over this situation than you do. Tweet at EA.

Hope that clears that up.

Update (September 4th, 2017): I’ve decided to build a pitch for ALice 3. Add your name to the Mailing List to show your support for a new project. I can’t promise the pitch will result in a new game, but we might as well try, right? Also, this really doesn’t change any of the points above. And this would have nothing to do with a re-master or re-release of the previous games. SIGN UP HERE.

While we’re on the topic of Alice, many of you write expressing your confusion about Alice: Otherlands. That project used the Alice FILM rights, which are not controlled by EA, and was funded via Kickstarter. All goals were achieved and all rewards delivered. If you’d like more info on this film/animation project, please check out the Kickstarter page.

NO, I do not have a demo of Madness Returns. I don’t have access to any of the removed content. And I am VERY frustrated with the small group of fanatic trolls who continue to bring up this topic and pester me with questions about it. Please, stop. At this point, I’ve begun blocking any person who persists in questioning me on this topic, so you’ve been warned.

Last thing: I REALLY appreciate the passion everyone has for the Alice series. I want to see a new game as much as you do. Apologies if this message comes out sounding frustrated or angry, but the amount of traffic I get on these questions literally impedes my ability to put effort towards new ideas and new projects. I don’t want to ignore the questions, but I do wish the volume would lessen. I appreciate your understanding.

PS: If you want official merchendise and Alice-inspired stuff, check out Mysterious.

PPS: “Out of the Woods” is my NEW GAME! A table top card game, illustrated book, coloring book and collection of art prints inspired by ten classic fairy tales. You should back it on Kickstarter because doing so will make EA think more about a new Alice game!

Out of the Woods Countdown

The Out of the Woods Kickstarter will launch on July 18th, 2017 at 10AM PST.

Out of the Woods is the latest project from game designer American McGee. Ten classic fairy tales presented as a physical Card Game, Illustrated Book, and collection of Art Prints.

CLICK HERE to sign up for the mailing list at Mysterious.
CLICK HERE to check out the Out of the Woods Facebook page.

EXCLUSIVE BOOK OFFER: Sign up for the Mysterious Mailing List and recieve FOR FREE an exclusive PDF copy of the Out of the Woods illustrated collection of fairy tales***.

***Offer only valid upon successful funding of the Kickstarter campaign. PDF will be delivered per production schedule of the Out of the Woods book.

“Out of the Woods” – Kickstarter, Interview, Video!

Out of the Woods” is my latest project – a selection of 10 fairy tales turned into a card game, book, and collection of art prints. I’ll launch a Kickstarter mid-July, 2017 and am busy at work getting everything ready.

Recently did an interview to discuss the project and its inspiration: HERE

Here’s a WORK IN PROGRESS trailer for the project:

Want to learn more about the project and follow development updates?
Sign up for the Mysterious Mailing List.
Follow the “Out of the Woods” Facebook page.