Hand-Drawn Games Guides Kickstarter Canceled Following "Legal Trouble"

Just as it was set to complete and withdraw money, the Kickstarter campaign for hardcover physical versions of Hand-Drawn Games Guides by Philip Summers and Dreamprism Press has been canceled. If you missed the initial campaign, it was essentially raising funds to publish guides featuring, as the name implies, hand-drawn art for video games like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, and Contra. However, due to brewing "legal trouble" with what is implied to be at least one of the holders of those IPs, the whole thing is scrapped. Prior to cancellation, the Kickstarter campaign had raised $322,337 in pledges.

It is worth noting that Summers and the team have seemingly taken all of this incredibly well. The official messaging from the group admits that there's little recourse here -- they don't own the rights to Zelda or anything -- despite the fact that the campaign was extremely clear that these were always going to be unofficial and unauthorized. The intent, as the original campaign notes, had always been to fall under Fair Use, but it would seem that at least one of Nintendo, Konami, or Koei Tecmo threw a wrench in things.

Here's the update in full from the Kickstarter campaign, right before it was officially canceled:

"Hi everyone! Welp, you just got your cancelation notice. Yup, it's real. It's done. I made a short post on Twitter that I'll share here.

"It was always a risk.

"Tonight I pulled the plug on the Hand-Drawn Game Guides Kickstarter. Yes, for exactly the reason you think it's for. I had hoped that I could successfully navigate any legal trouble, but alas I wasn't able to do so.

"Is this thing done for good? I don't know that yet. I'll be finding out in the coming days.

"What I do know is that this last month was awesome. You all came together in ways that I didn't think were possible. It was a hell of a ride and no matter what happens I'll always be grateful for it. I always knew this whole thing was a big risk, but I looked at how other similar books navigated these sorts of issues and I tried my best to learn from them.

"Of course I'm disappointed, but I completely understand why this happened. It's okay. I'm not mad. I mean the timing is totally awful and it would have helped if this happened say three weeks ago but here we are! Hah!

"I won't speak any more on the subject as I don't want to muddy the waters, but hopefully there is something I can share soon.

"Thank you all so much for the support! You're all the best."


It is worth noting that digital versions of some of these remain available from Summers online. You can check out all of our previous coverage of video games in general right here.

What do you think about the Hand-Drawn Game Guides Kickstarter cancelling on the eve of its culmination? Are you surprised to learn that the campaign ran afoul of legal problems? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things gaming!