"Bear Simulator" isn’t what it sounds like. Sure, it is a video game simulation of the life of a Grizzly Bear, but, in a larger sense, it isn’t - because it doesn't exist. Not only that, the man who proposed it and raised money for it has either made a run for the forest or taken to hibernating. A preview of the game, which debuted roughly a year ago when John Farjay began seeking Kickstarter funding, went moderately viral, tickling the sort of people who play "Goat Simulator" and generally amusing the hell out of people who liked the idea of a first-person swiper. A clip in which the eponymous bear decimated a butterfly was particularly appealing.
People loved it. Screw butterflies.
But digital butterflies weren’t the only ones getting screwed. John Farjay hasn’t posted about the game or responded to media requests (including our own) since September. The last update, the tenth entry in a jaunty development log, showed the first “official” "Bear Simulator" screenshot, a verdant image of two paws and a view of – based on a rudimentary analysis of flora and the geology – what was likely Western Colorado. There were also a few images of visual jokes, a “Check Arms” second amendment classic and a museum devoted to Kickstarter supporters.
Here’s what a Kickstarter representative had to say about the game today: "There's risk inherent in creating anything new, but the system overall works remarkably well.” Obviously, he had more to say (all of it reasonable) as well as a link to the message that Kickstarter donors get when they pledge, a message making it extremely clear that the platform is not responsible for individual projects.
The person responsible is John Farjay, a man who tapped directly into the internet zeitgeist to the tune of over $100,000. Clearly Mr. Farjay is a talented enough developer (or maker of animated YouTube videos), but one wonders how he’ll fair as a fugitive from internet justice. Reddit is after him and more will doubtless following. The problem with a bait and switch – and you can ask a bear if you don’t believe us – is that whoever pulls it is left holding the bait. That’s a problem when it’s red meat for internet users - like a simulator that allows user to get ursine with it.
Meanwhile, the men behind a game entitled “The Stomping Land” and best described as a dinosaur simulator have announced several days ago that their project is unlikely to make it to market. Does it look suspiciously like "Bear Simulator"? It does. Did it raise over $100,000 on Kickstarter? It did. Is there a clean conclusion to be drawn from that fact? No, but it’s worth noting that Kickstarter increasingly appears to be a very effective fundraising simulator for would-be developers.
What’s interesting is that the Internet is unlikely to forget about these promising projects, which means that when Farjay resurfaces, there will be something massive and angry waiting for him.