Skip to content Chronicles Zidware Trainwreck

October 28, 2015

I was a bit surprised to see a referrer from assuming it was from the man himself, given all my posts on the subject are decidedly negative.  But nope.  Turns out someone who’s clearly pretty pissed off (and rightly so) registered the domain to provide a timeline of the Zidware fiasco and how John royally screwed hundreds of players out of an estimated million-plus bucks.  That’s an estimate because apparently John’s pinball-making abilities are only exceeded by his talents at bookkeeping, and lawd knows how much he really took in or where the money went.


Smart money says it went here

I followed the Zidware (Magic Girl, Retro-Atomic Zombie Adventure, Alice in Wonderland) and Skit-B (Predator) sagas closely but dropped out of the loop when their respective failures became certain and  entered the legal grind phase.  Imagine my surprise to learn that Jpop did an interview with the Coast2Coast Pinball Podcast.  Listen to it here, or don’t, because like everything else that comes out of Jpop’s mouth, it’s mostly a tour in excuse-making.  Here’s my quick and dirty paraphrased summary:

  1. “I didn’t realize building boutique pinballs was different than the deep-pocket resources I had at Williams.”
  2. “It took a year to design the cabinet.” (why reinvent the wheel?)
  3. “I was ignoring reality and just pursuing the American Dream.”
  4. Jpop, on realizing after eight months that Magic Girl could not make money or cover costs: “If we knew everything in the very beginning, do we just not move forward?”  (Answer: Yes. You go back to the drawing board)
  5. When asked if he could understand why a pre-order buyer would stop sending in scheduled payments after four years of waiting and no game, no communication, missed calls/emails: “Obviously, I can’t understand it because I’m not on the other side of the fence of it.”

He goes on to explain that a few of his customers came into his shop, sat him down and explained that since he’d taken customer money he had an obligation to deliver.  This, astoundingly, was something of a revelation to him.  “Obviously, I realize that today, but back then I needed more explanation.”  Yes, he actually said that.  A 50+ year-old grown-ass man needed it explained to him that if you take money to build something you need to actually deliver!

He talks about the difficulties building a custom OS for his platform, and again, it begs the facepalm-inducing question of why they didn’t go with an existing platform like the P-ROC, particularly for such a small run of games.

John rambles on with “nice-sounding” words which, taken together, make almost no sense or amount to total dodges of the question being asked.  What little can be deciphered from his word salad illustrates he not only has zero business sense, but is simultaneously oblivious of his ethical or legal obligation to give customers something in return for the money they paid him under contract.

He seems more concerned with the fact that “nobody likes me anymore.”  John says (paraphrasing): “I work, I pay my taxes, the only time I’ve ever gotten in trouble was a speeding ticket.”  In other words, he can’t understand why people are so upset, because in his eyes he’s had a pretty plain and vanilla track record and he’s an “alright dude who never set out to screw anyone.”  He just never planned to deliver anything for the thousands and thousands of dollars of money they sent him.  That’s not the same as stealing right?

At this point, even the former licensee (and customer), who wanted to effectively take over operations of Zidware, now publicly ridicules John:

“Its more like he needs someone or something to blame his incompetence on. Like I said this is a joke and not even worth debating. The game looked great, thanks to Yeti, but the game sucked and was no where close to 90% completion indicated to me. It was a giant waste of my time and money, end of story.” -WCBrandes


The cherry on top?  John makes sure to mention that he’s had to spend his own money on his legal defense.  Oh the humanity!  Well, by god, forget everything I said above.  I mean, the guy has had to suffer the insufferable burden of paying for his defense without, you know, like, money just given to him!

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