Home / Games / Cheetahmen II Kickstarter Campaign Not a Fraud
photo-full (1)

Cheetahmen II Kickstarter Campaign Not a Fraud

Sometimes the denizens of the internet can get things wrong, but it doesn’t always affect the outcome of anything. Sadly, in this case it may very well affect the outcome of a Kickstarter campaign to bring back an infamous video game.

When the campaign first hit the internet, many were surprised to see a collaborative effort on the part of some very well known retro game reviewers to inform their viewers of the project. The Game Chasers, who normally spend their time producing a hilarious and entertaining show, worked together with the likes of James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd) and Pat the NES Punk to create a promo video for this Kickstarter project. The campaign? To create reproduction cartridges of the infamous NES game Cheetahmen II. Originally an incomplete game, Cheetahmen II had a glitch that would not let you pass one of the mid-level stages. Luckily, a guy by the name of Greg Pabich bought the rights to the game and now he wants to make it available to the masses.

Cue internet trolls who don’t know much about retro game reproduction or its true cost.

After the promo video was released to the public, many commenters were saying that the campaign was a fraud. The common complaint was that the price requested for one of the reproduction cartridges was too high at $60. Nevermind the fact that many of those commenting have probably paid $60 for a brand new game several times in their lives, but I guess the thought was that an old NES game should not cost $60 today. Sadly, the fact is that it does cost quite a bit more than some would have you believe. Pabich recently posted the project costs per material on the Kickstarter campaign page to alleviate any fears or concerns, but there still seems to be a lot of backlash from people who continue to believe this is legitimately a scam.

The backlash began when Mike Matei, friend and co-worker with James Rolfe, posted a few comments on the video stating that he did not believe in the project and couldn’t understand why it would cost $60 for a reproduction cartridge. His comments were taken by many fans as an affirmation of the concept that this truly was a scam, and James Rolfe had somehow been conned into participating. The truth is, while the cartridge doesn’t cost $60 to make, it doesn’t exactly cost pennies either. They don’t make NES cartridges in bulk anymore, you know. It’s not like an independent developer can easily and cheaply find the parts they need to make a game for a system nearly 30 years old.

A quick look at the Kickstarter page will reveal that yes, it does cost quite a bit to recreate an old game. The total cost is anywhere from $44-48 per cartridge, leaving a very small profit margin for the person going to all of the trouble of making it all possible. Compare that to other game companies, who pay around $5-10 to produce a disk based game, including the case and artwork. Of course, that does not include the production costs of a new game, but neither does the Cheetahmen II campaign on Kickstarter. Many would use that as an excuse to call it a ripoff, but again – the difference in price isn’t indicative of a scam, it’s only indicative of how far technology has come since the NES. It literally is harder to produce an older game now than it was then, and the costs of production are obviously going to be higher as a result.

Original Cheetahmen II Cartridge

Sure, you could run out and get some old NES game that you don’t think anyone would want, carefully remove the sticker, replace it with some different artwork, put the Cheetahmen II game on there and possibly even get it done for less than Pabich is requesting. However, that would eventually make whatever game you chose to decimate all that much harder to find, and thus it would become a more rare title, affecting the over-all market value of that game. This is one of the many reasons that reproduction cartridges exist, so that they will not affect the value of any other game through the abuse of technology. Will it affect the value of Cheetahmen II as it stands? Most definitely. But if you’re the kind of person who wanted this game to remain impossible to find for a reasonable price, I really don’t care what your concerns are about the value of the original game.

Retro games aren’t just a collector’s market, there are still people out there who prefer to actually play these games on their original consoles. It’s not like we’re just buying these games to put them on our shelves; sometimes we actually want to sit down and play them, recapture a bit of our youth. $60 may be a bit much for some people when it comes to an old, crappy NES game. However, that doesn’t make this Cheetahmen II campaign a scam. Billy and Jay from the Game Chasers recently uploaded a video to their channel explaining all of this controversy, so if you want more information, please check it out below. Otherwise, check out the fine work they did on the original promotional video above, and if you’re interested in bringing back Cheetahmen II, support Greg Pabich through his Kickstarter campaign.

About Stoudman

Who is Stoudman? Well, his real name is Justin Wren. Justin has been writing reviews and articles about film, television and video games for several years. While majoring in English at Portland State University, he minored in film studies. With an extensive understanding of film history and production, Justin often includes at least a bit of film theory in his reviews. Justin got his start writing for MovieCynics.com, but has since gone on to produce articles for TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.com and TVStoreOnline.com. He is the owner of G33k-e.com and presides over the editing of all content produced for the site in addition to producing his own content.

5 comments

  1. You gotta love the reply vids saying that this is not a scam xD they talking as we all where kids that didn’t understand it. I say it once again, SCAM!

  2. First of all thanks guys for making an honest explanation video and apologizing for the misinformation, it takes a genuine person to admit he made a mistake. However I would say that I think you and James and co should consider just admitting all along that backing this project in the beginning was ill judged and should not have taken part in this kickstarter for some following reasons (imo).

    1. The price Greg posts on the production costs are for the most part unreasonable at best.( he lists Kick starter fees twice) Sources will tell you that $25 for a cartridge alone is extortionate as the actual price should be around 9 – 15$ unless overpriced. Even if Retro USB is overcharging Greg for the carts then its not really fair that he passes on the cost to the consumer, especially as hes accepting donations.

    2. Please stop saying you made no money from this kickstarter as its obvious you and James and co were paid a fee for your work aswell as ad revenue for putting the videos up. If you beleive in the project thats fine but please dont say “you made no money from the kickstarter” as you clearly have.

    3. The ad is bordering on fraud as Greg claims “I had an idea, lets fix it!” Pat has confirmed that the game is gonna be based on someone Else’s ROM that already fixed the bugs years ago and is free to play, the ad fails to mention this anywhere even in the small text. Then Greg claims ” This cart will increase in value over the years”. That’s pure speculation and bad speculation at best since market trends show copies/fakes/reproductions actually drop in value due to market flooding and collectors being more interested in the genuine originals rather than recent copies.

    Im not a hater and i know i sound overly critical in this comment but most of the controversy with this stems from The fact that the people involved with this project have not acknowledged that it was fundamentally wrong to promote a kickstarter project (which are meant to be for struggling creationists ) which sole intent has admittedly by Greg ( he admits in a YouTube interview that this cheetahmen release was all about making money) was just to make more money for a businessman who is already clearly wealthy already.

    With James, Mike and Pat blocking reasonable critical comments and disabling ratings it just appears that they want to ignore and block out the fan base rather than listen to genuine concerns. Sure there are ranting haters just peddling misinformed abuse but there only a small part of the genuine concern over this issue and it just seems lots of genuine concerned have been blocked out as well as the haters.
    This is just my opinion of course and like you said people can make up their own minds about the situation but i just thought I’d give you my two cents. Thanks for your time guys 🙂

  3. Hey Eddy, I just want to say that I’m sorry if you’ve had your comments blocked or ignored by others. Unfortunately, I’m not involved with James or the Game Chasers, so it’s not as if I can relay this message to them. However, they may see it on this post. Who knows? That being said, I’m going to attempt to answer some of the criticism here.

    1. How are the prices unreasonable? He doesn’t list Kickstarter fees twice — Kickstarter releases the funds from the fundraiser through Amazon Payments, hence his fee listing for “Kickstarter/Amazon Payments.” Kickstarter itself charges a fee for certain services. So yes, those are two very real fees. Where are you getting the price of $9-15 for a cartridge? Is that the price for the plastic itself, or the entire thing? I think you’re underestimating the price here, but let’s just say that the real price is closer t half of what he’s asking: $12.50 rather than $25. That’s $32 per game. He’s charging $60. That’s still a very small profit margin when compared to the business practices of most companies. He is a businessman and he is going to all of the trouble to get these cartridges produced, why shouldn’t he be allowed to make any money off of it? Let me clarify that I am not in any way saying that $24.80 isn’t a reasonable price for the cart, because I think it is. Considering that this isn’t your typical NES cart, and the owner of the actual intellectual rights to the game is the one producing the cartridges, I don’t see how this is a bad thing. This isn’t your typical reproduction — this is done by the guy who owns the rights to the game in question. Most reproductions are more fraudulent than this, just based on the fact that the owners of the product aren’t behind the project.

    2. One of the members of the Game Chasers may have been paid a fee, but that was for shooting, editing, and creating the video for the Kickstarter campaign. Should a filmmaker not be allowed to make money for work that they have done? Especially quality work like this? As for James, he was not paid a fee — he just contributed to the video when asked. The only one being paid was the one putting the video together. As for Ad Revenue, I can tell you personally that it isn’t always a gold mine. I guarantee you that James is making more money from his other videos than he is from this one alone. The point is, they haven’t been paid through the Kickstarter for anything. They aren’t going to get a cut of the $65,000. Where you get that idea is beyond me.

    3. How is this bordering on fraud? Would you listen to yourself? You’re stating that an ILLEGAL ROM HACK that is available for free ILLEGALLY solves the problem, and suggesting that it’s unfair to charge any price for something someone can freely acquire ILLEGALLY. Again, this is a project started by the OWNER OF THE INTELLECTUAL COPYRIGHT FOR THE GAME. He has the rights to reproduce the game, and he has the right to charge a fee for doing so. How do you think these things work in the business world? When someone has an idea or purchases the rights to someone else’s idea, if they want to capitalize on it, they often have to sell the concept of the idea to a company, getting a loan from them in order to actually produce the product and make money off of it. Then, they must pay back their loan with interest. With Kickstarter, you avoid having to go to some faceless corporation and ask for a loan with fees attached, but you still have fees attached to the Kickstarter. Combined with the price of having the video made for the project and all the other hidden costs, Greg is asking for a reasonable amount of money for this project. It will be a reproduction brought out by the guy who owns the rights to the game, possibly a first in retro gaming history. It will be brought out in a new NES cartridge. This will increase the value of the game, because it is NOT a fraud, it is a legitimate copy of the game. Considering he won’t be making but a few thousand copies of the game, it will still be a somewhat rare title.

    What you’re arguing here is that someone who has an idea and creates a Kickstarter campaign to make it possible doesn’t have the right to make any money off of it. That’s ridiculous. This isn’t a fundraising site for charity, it’s a fundraising site for BUSINESS. Greg is a BUSINESSMAN who will be making far less on this venture than most BUSINESSES in the United States do. If it were any other place than Kickstarter, they wouldn’t give him the loan to make it possible, because he wouldn’t be earning enough off the project to give them back the loan + fees. The only way something like this is possible is through something like Kickstarter. Just because he may have the money (which you don’t know), does not mean he should have to risk it on a venture like this. He has risked his name, his product and more by putting this venture out on Kickstarter for the fans, and that should be more than enough for what little profit he’s actually going to make from this.

Leave a Reply