April 1st, 2007
I’ve been following the life and times of a fellow amatuer video game creator who calls himself Dampe. He was developing a 2D version of Ocarina of Time for several years, one that resembled the earlier Link to the Past. It seemed close to completion when suddenly, he supposedly died. Now information is coming out that it may have been a lie. Although it’s April Fool’s day I find it unlikely to be a cruel joke, since it makes sense.
I don’t think it was a very bright idea, but can understand why he did it. When other people become fans of your work any delays or cancelations feel like you’re betraying them. He should’ve been completely public about how the project was doing or very private. If it’s a personal project then there are no release dates, no expectations, so why did he build a community around a perpetually incomplete project? All they could ever do is wait for it, wait for a game that isn’t coming. There’s also the other way to do it, to develop the game publicly, allowing fans to interact with it’s ongoing development. Instead he kept development private, but released enough videos and screenshots to allow fans to lavish attention on him. Once making the game became a chore and he couldn’t live up to his promises, he was left with no easy way out. I believe he lied about his own death to escape any backlash.
I guess I believe there’s something inherently wrong about trying to keep up to other people’s expectations when you’re doing something for fun. It’s also wrong to give them a reason to be disappointed. This goes for just about any personal project. Dampe seems young, he’s apparently 15, so it’s probably a lot easier to make that mistake but faking his death? It’s just silly, especially since he did a poor enough job of it that people found out without too much difficulty.
He should fess up to his mistakes, produce his incomplete project for others to continue, and apologize for lying. People will forgive him in the end. Right now he’s just a pariah.