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15979346cookie-checkWhat it was like backing Sunshine Manor on Kickstarter during a dark election

What it was like backing Sunshine Manor on Kickstarter during a dark election

Sunshine Manor was getting getting funded on Kickstarter the same month that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. I look back on those days with some satisfaction, but also with a dark realization that things could have taken a dark turn.

Sunshine Manor is the prequel to the cult hit horror game Camp Sunshine. Here is a little about it from the campaign:

Sunshine Manor is the prequel to Camp Sunshine, a love letter to retro gaming and classic 1980s horror films. The game takes inspiration from movies such as From BeyondFriday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, while mixing gameplay mechanics from games such as the beloved – and long-running – The Legend of ZeldaResident Evil and Silent Hill series.

When it comes to horror games, Sunshine Manor is all about the tension, rather than purely relying on jump scares – although, we do have a few of those too! The game aims to deliver many features that will help it differ from your typical horror game, with things such as:

  •  Beautiful hand-drawn 8-bit pixel art
  •  Explore a changing Mansion and journey between the mortal and demon realms
  •  A fantastic 1980s synthwave soundtrack written just for Sunshine Manor
  •  Power-ups and Costumes to help you in your quest
  •  Cross paths with a host of unique characters
  •  With a bit of comedy in there as well!

Sounds promising, right??? I hadn’t heard of Camp Sunshine before, but this made me want to put it on my list of games to play. I loved the graphics and I loved that it was coming to Nintendo Switch. It seemed just the right kind of creepy that I was looking for. I also liked that it featured a girl protagonist. A little more from the campaign:

“Ada doesn’t have just her wits to protect her though. Her latent psychic powers are triggered as she enters the Mansion, allowing her to vanquish demons, ward off the Shadow Man and solve devious puzzles that would trap any normal human.”

I backed it and joined the fanbase as we eagerly tried to get this game funded. Around the same time this was happening, an election that would determine the future of the world was taking place. While Ada would be facing off against demons and other sinister forces to save her friends, American voters would be confronting a fascist wannabe in Trump – a man responsible for the deaths of millions. An excerpt from Forbes:

“According to the report, Trump’s policies or lack thereof contributed to the deaths of around 461,000 Americans in 2018. In 2019, about 22,000 deaths resulted from Trump’s dismantling of environmental protection measures alone, based on the Commission’s analyses. And of course, there was 2020, when the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic hit. Many have written about the Trump administration’s failure to mount a scientifically appropriate response to the pandemic. The Commission determined that 40% of Covid-19-related deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented had the U.S. only had the same Covid-19 death rates as those of other Group of Seven (G7) nations, namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom…The Commission also catalogued the Trump Administration’s many actions that could have affected human health, ranging from a trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and high-income individuals followed by cuts in food subsidy and health care programs to repealing environmental regulations to actions that left 2.3 million fewer people in the U.S. insured.”

Read the whole thing. One example of these deadly policies is the Trump EPA legalizing chlorpyrifos, a chemical that causes brain damage in human babies developing in their mothers womb. (So much for being pro-life.)

This was not even to mention the ways in which Trump empowered the racist American movement known as the alt-right, a movement led by white empire supporter Richard Spencer, a movement which included the founder and former editor of this site. The racist Trump administration touted “family values” while deporting Hispanic families and putting kids in cages.

Clearly, Trump had to be stopped, and Joe Biden was the man to do it. All the gamers backing Sunshine Manor agreed this was an important issue, and a politics channel was created where we could talk and nervously watch the news as the election ticked nearer and nearer. Eventually Sunshine Manor reached its funding goal with time to spare, and election day was here. At first, things looked bad, and I went to bed feeling that 2016 had repeated. There was a lot of disappointment in every Discord server I was in. But then, as the days ticked by, it became clear that Joe Biden had beaten the Orange Killer by a lot. I was still nervous for awhile, fearing Trump would succeed in stealing the election. Other Sunshine Manor backers assured me this was impossible and Trump was toast, but I would remain at least somewhat nervous until President Joe Biden was sworn in on January 20th.

I relate all this because it was an emotional experience that will stay with me forever. Obviously, there is no direct connection between Sunshine Manor and the 2020 US presidential election. But art can inspire us just as it can hurt us and make us feel so many things, and though Sunshine Manor won’t be released until November, I already have a deep fondness for it due to how the Kickstarter played out during these dark days. I still haven’t played Sunshine Manor yet, but I’m getting close to it.

Of course, Trump’s defeat does not mean that the right-wing has been defeated permanently. Even as we speak, Republicans in Texas are doing their best to restrict voting rights – we hope they fail but this is an ongoing story. And while Republicans (helped by the traitor Senator Manchin) continue to try and obstruct President Biden, I take comfort seeing Biden confront climate change (cancelling the Keystone Pipeline) encourage vaccinations, and protect DREAMERS and other undocumented immigrants. Those are things the Republicans have failed to obstruct.

I look forward to playing Sunshine Manor on the Nintendo Switch this November. We’re rooting for you, Ada. Go save your friends and free the good ghosts. To quote a line from the fan musical Undertale the Musical:

Sit down, children, do not quail, peace and love will sure prevail.

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