Sure you can spank, but can you spank to the RHYTHM? Fund v3 of the only art-project-party-game to feature a prosthetic botto!
I have an idea for a very silly video party game. I've already prototyped it and would like to take it to the next Maker Faire! But it's so absurd and hardware-intensive that I need some monetary support to make it happen. Care to pitch in?
So... a few years back I'm having lunch with some buddies when one of 'em (let's call him Jason) tells me about this Japanese "spanking" video game called Boong-Ga Boong-Ga where apparently the object is to, you know, spank the best. (Google it... it's terrifying.)
After I stopped wiping away the tears of laughter, my other friend (let's call him Derek) suggests that combining Boong-Ga Boong-Ga with Guitar Hero could be the Next Big Thing™. I agreed so strongly that I couldn't stop grinning.
I had a garage. I had a soldering gun.
And now I had a vision.
How DOES One Fashion a Fake Fanny?
First thing I needed was the, er, console. It had to be realistic. It had to be humorous. It had to react accurately to a variety of spanking actions.
This would need some brainstorming, and off to the hardware store I went. So many bits and fasteners... so many materials and gew-gaws. Surely something there would suggest a perfect paddle-pie stand-in.
I wandered the aisles feeling at my own backside for reference while fondling everything from carpet padding to chicken wire. My spirits sank. The problem with hardware stores is that they contain mostly, well, hard things. The tush, I mused philosophically, is squishy yet weighty, soft yet firm. Would I never find its analog?
An employee with orange apron and silver hair noticed my frustration. She approached sagely and asked if I needed help finding something.
"Why yes," I imagined myself saying while miming two huge, invisible grapefruits between us. "I need to construct some artificial buttocks. They need to be as realistic as possible, you understand. Male or female would be fine... though maybe androgenous would be best... Not for anything weird or kinky, mind you. Just, you know, for spanking."
But I'm a good Catholic boy, slow to impose and easily embarrassed.
"Just browsing," I said.
Eventually I browsed myself right out of the hardware store and over to the Toys-R-Us, where I imagined that I could buy a couple of soccer balls and duct-tape them together. In my mind's eye this seemed pretty good, until I actually found the soccer balls and realized they'd make one crazy-huge can-can. Dag nabbit.
And then I saw them. It was like a shaft of light from the heavens, illuminating my answer.
Yes! Placed side by side, with a little air let out, they'd be perfect. After a quick stop at the Salvation Army to get an armload of jeans in every size, I headed straight home and put on my safety goggles.
Queue A-Team Montage
A few hours later, I held a Frankenstein's monster of rubber, 2x4s, sheet metal, screws, and wire. I'd ripped up an old keyboard and reverse-engineered the solder-points. Now I was crouched down in front of my Tangerine iMac, spanking lovingly at the denimed machine in my lap and whispering "It's alive. Alive!"
I showed my wife, and she gave me look of deep concern. Then she laughed.
I showed my teenage son, and he nearly peed himself.
That's what I was going for.
I spent the next few weekends programming the software and authoring XML "spank tracks" to match my ever-growing library of tunes. The holidays were fast approaching, the family was going to a big, civilized dinner party, and boy did I have a Christmas gift to share...
RhythmSpanker 1.0 was a huge hit. I laughed for hours watching my friends challenge one another. It played 2-12 spankers at a time, taking turns performing for high scores and laughs. The console had a big button on each cheek, and there were two prêt-à-porter button-pads that you stuck in your back pockets. Half the time you were spanking the console and half the time you were spanking yourself.
It was great!
But there was still room for improvement...
One Man's Spank is Another Man's Art
Through the next year I took RhythmSpanker to several more parties, continuing to tweak the software and the (arg!) finicky buttons. During this whole R&D phase I was working as a multimedia consultant for the Denver Art Museum. They were about to open their brand new Hamilton building, and they'd hired me to build a couple of Gameboy games to guide kids through the galleries and teach them about the art. Point is, I had an in.
The Museum was kicking off a series of events called Untitled, where young urbanites would descend on the DAM after dark to drink champagne and talk about art. My main contact at the museum (let's call her Sonnet) had heard some funny stories about RhythmSpanker.
"Would you like to feature your game at Untitled?" she asked.
So we agreed on a date. I decided it was time for a new prototype, one that looked even more realistic and played better, too. I bought a couple of mannequins on eBay (weird experience) and proceeded to hacksaw them (even weirder) into the appropriate limb configuration. I went shopping for a really nice pair of women's pants and stole a belt from my wife's closet. The basketballs were just too round, people told me, so this time I molded the console by hand with Crayola's excellent Model Magic.
The big night came. My brother loaned me his huge-screen TV. I recruited some friends to lug it to the DAM. We cranked the music and set up the stage, and before long we were surrounded by a mob of giggling onlookers. We had no trouble attracting contestants and style judges. One guy got so into it that he spanked the ass right off its base, and I was forced to spend the rest of the evening on my knees, propping up the butt so the players could get their spank on. Oh man... was it FUNNY.
That evening several people asked me if it was for sale. One guy gave me his business card and begged me to fly to Alaska to do custom installations in a dozen biker bars. If you don't count my wedding, or that cruise ship disco contest that I almost won (curse you, crotch-rubby guy!), it's in the running for the most glorious night of my life.
I studied Fine Art in college, see? I'd dreamed about having a piece in a major museum, but I'd given up on that fantasy long ago. And then all of the sudden, there it was. Music! Art! People putting down their gallery guides and spanking their hearts out amid the Monets and DeAndreas, making fools and heroes of themselves all at the same time.
It was freaking AWESOME.
But there's still room for improvement...
Taking the Spank Out of Beta
Not long after the DAM event I got really busy with one of my startups, and my daughter Audrey had just come along. Given all that, welding things in the garage was way less appealing than precious rocking chair time. (You dads out there know exactly what I mean. :) I put RhythmSpanker in the closet and told myself that once things settled down I'd maybe get back to it.
Well, that was almost five years ago. Things haven't really settled down, but I have this feeling that the RhythmSpanker window of opportunity might be behind me. We've all got Wii and Kinect and cell phone apps that you can touch with your finger. Maybe it's time that I hang up the old butt buttons for good...
Or maybe it's not.
The thing I LOVE about KickStarter is that people can prod you with their pennies. It's the ultimate market research. If you all think that RhythmSpanker is worthy of one more go, then it certainly is. Help me raise enough cash to build a final prototype, a complete prototype. Let's take it out of beta and push this wacky-ass art project to a wider audience. Or if you don't think so, I can put this project aside and work on another, confident that I gave it a fair shot. It's a win either way.
So What's the Project?
In short, I'll use the cash for an R&D seed fund to build RhythmSpanker 3.0 and take it to the next Maker Faire. For those who aren't aware, Maker Faire is THE place to share homebrew hardware projects like this one.
I have a pile of ideas for improvements. I'd like to buy a really nice projector and sound system, maybe create a 2-butt stage setup for head-to-head spanking. I need a dedicated laptop to run the software and have to figure out the right thing to do with music licensing. I'd also like to get a Kinect that I could hack on... maybe I don't need the sensors in the butt at all? Maybe I'll use some Microsoft or Sony SDK so the console can plug into RockBand? It'll all require some experimentation. Whatever form factor the next version takes, it'll be made to fit into a custom, shippable crate so I can take the thing on the road.
My deliverable to you, dear pledgers, is to evolve the game to its next level and take it to Maker Faire. Then I'll finish the RhythmSpanker.com website and figure out how to pitch the idea to manufacturers. I'll also explore options for making "do-it-yourself" kits so people can construct their own console.
Any $$$ that's left over will be used to host a big RhythmSpanker party at Maker Faire.
After a really polished V3... who knows where it could go? The more money I raise, the bigger I can dream, and the the best part is the dreaming. Or in the immortal words of Scooter: "The chase... is better than the catch!"
Thanks a lot for your time.
- (30 days)