Two weeks ago, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away. Our coalition government saw fit to spend £10 million of taxpayers’ money on her funeral. This was a woman who divided the country, and whose iron grip is still curled around Britain’s bleeding heart. The rich and powerful turned up to see her off, while poverty-driven protesters quite literally turned their backs on the funeral procession. The BBC refused to play “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” an anti-Thatcher song taken from The Wizard of Oz, after her haters propelled it to number two on the UK music charts. If anyone could suck the fun out of life, it was Thatcher.
A couple of days after she kicked the bucket, I learned that a humble New Zealand pub owner named Les Lisle had passed away. I met Les only once, in 2011, while travelling the globe with a ginormous backpack strapped to my back. It was customary to stop at the Mahinapua Pub, affectionately known as the Poo Pub, on the way to the town of Wanaka. The tour company I was travelling with booked the place out for a slap-up meal followed by a fancy dress party. When we arrived, old Les (who was 85 at the time) got on the bus and laid down the rules of his house in a well-practised and often funny speech. When we ventured inside his pub, we found the ceiling covered with hats; there were over 3000 of them, all tacked to the ceiling. Les told me some were his, and some were donated by the travelers who passed through. He was managing that pub of his before I was even born. I doubt he played many video games – there was a pool table and dart board – but he was an agent of fun, and probably managed to affect more peoples’ lives in a positive light than Thatcher did with her negative rule. They were both born in 1925, and died with days of one another. If anyone deserved a £10 million funeral, it was Les Lisle.
Unfortunately, I barely have £10, so in honour of his youthful spirit in the face of old age, I’m dedicating this month’s Kickstart This! to Les. Let’s see if we can channel some of that positive spirit into funding projects that are fun for all, such as the 2D upward-scrolling platform puzzler Brave Bit, hand drawn sci-fi adventure gameA Small Favor, 8-bit microorganism sim Bitcrobes, and underwater tower defense title Fish vs. Crabs. And just to shake things up, we also have the helpful app GameSnap, and last but not least, PWNED: A Gamers Novel, a romantic comedy adventure set within an MMORPG.
Let the games begin! (more…)