Kickstarter Hacked: Change Your Password

On Saturday February 15th at 4:25 pm I received, like many others, a security notice in my email from Kickstarter informing me that the site had been compromised by hackers.

Yancey Strickler, the CEO of the crowdfunding platform, has the following to say:

On Wednesday night, law enforcement officials contacted Kickstarter and alerted us that hackers had sought and gained unauthorized access to some of our customers’ data. Upon learning this, we immediately closed the security breach and began strengthening security measures throughout the Kickstarter system.

No credit card data of any kind was accessed by hackers. There is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on your account.

While no credit card data was accessed, some information about our customers was. Accessed information included usernames, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords. Actual passwords were not revealed, however it is possible for a malicious person with enough computing power to guess and crack an encrypted password, particularly a weak or obvious one.

As a precaution, we have reset your Facebook login credentials to secure your account. No further action is necessary on your part.

We’re incredibly sorry that this happened. We set a very high bar for how we serve our community, and this incident is frustrating and upsetting. We have since improved our security procedures and systems in numerous ways, and we will continue to do so in the weeks and months to come. We are working closely with law enforcement, and we are doing everything in our power to prevent this from happening again.

Kickstarter is a vibrant community like no other, and we can’t thank you enough for being a part of it. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. You can reach us at accountsecurity@kickstarter.com.

Thank you,

Yancey Strickler
Kickstarter CEO

I should also add that if you have a direct password with Kickstarter, please change your password. Exiting and logging back into the site with your chosen social media, or at least Facebook will require you retyping your login and password, but you should be fine.

It is a good thing that no credit card information has been stolen, but the fact that this happened at all is troubling. Many of us in what many consider to be the geek community utilize Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms to back and support our favourite creators and become a more direct part in funding their works. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I wrote two articles on some popular Kickstarter campaigns on this very site.

One can only hope that in addition to the measures that Kickstarter taken after the fact that not only will the authorities trace just whom accessed the above data, but that it, and other platforms, can take the necessary precautions in preventing anything like this from happening again in the future.

Until then, fellow geeks, change your passwords, re-login and keep yourselves posted.

She Makes Comics

It is a strangely ironic fact that in the early days of the comics medium, the majority of comics readers were women. During the period of the 1930s to the late 50s and before the Comics Code Authority inspired by the American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham came fully into effect there were many different genres of comics, such as romance comics, with some striking female protagonists and eventually works centered around superheroines.

Of course, that is only part of that past. In addition to Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne directly inspiring their mutual husband and partner William Moulton to create Wonder Woman, and Patricia Dingle, who was partially the physical inspiration for her husband Adrian’s Nelvana of the Northern Lights and ended up writing adventure stories in Triumph Comics’ works under a pseudonym, there were female creators of superheroine comics to consider such as Tarpé Mills and her Miss Fury. Even when you consider that the Golden Age of Comics wasn’t completely a “Golden Age” with regards to women and comics it is sometimes really hard to believe, after the decades-long idea of comics being an “all-boys club” permeating North American culture, along with sexism, misogyny, marginalization and violations of personal space at conventions afflicted on female comics creators and fans, that this was once a reality.

Then again, it isn’t that hard to believe. There are female voices in comics. They exist as artists, writers, editors, scholars, and above all, as fans. These are voices that need to be heard and can never be heard enough. And that is precisely what the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization intends to do by creating She Makes Comics.

She Makes Comics is a film Documentary and Kickstarter Campaign created to interview female creators and executives within the comics industry: to collect a series of oral histories and accounts from those women of various eras in comics history in order to accentuate their already considerable voices in the medium and community built around comics. Just as Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey of Nelvana Comics endeavour to make Nelvana a household name again in Canada, if not the world, so too does She Makes Comics is intend to do the same for the women that have helped make comics as a medium, industry, and community possible.

However, in order to make this possible, this Kickstarter will need your help. To those of you who know that women in and around comics are more than just stereotyped images, subordinated side-kicks, love interests or “fake geek girls,” please take a look at this Kickstarter Campaign and consider that while it cannot speak for this generation of female fans and readers, it can definitely become something to inspire them.

And to all the ladies out there that love comics and the movies and media around them: you have been supporting all of this awesomeness for a very long time and I hope that you will continue to do so as our fellow geeks, and friends, and as the creators and industry movers that we can all admire.

So, with that serious business out of the way for the moment, I would like to ask you all something. She Makes Comics is looking to interview thirty-five more people in addition to those that they already list on their page. I myself want to see some more independent figures such as Alison Bechdel, Marjane Satrapi, Hope Larson, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Melinda Gebbie, and Wendy Pini. I’d definitely like to see more interviews with more “Golden Agers” as well.

Who do you want to see interviewed for She Makes Comics?

Please follow She Makes Comics on its Kickstarter or its Twitter Profile for more updates.

La-Mulana 2 is an Answer to the Question

“What if games had continued to evolve – but stayed in 2D?”

This is both a question asked by the Japanese developer NIGORO and the impetus behind their intricate masterpiece: the video game La-Mulana. They and their director, Takumi Naramura, consider La-Mulana a “Ruins Exploration Archaeological action game” though that may also be a euphemism for a “puzzle, trap and treasure with epic battles and quirky characters game.” Actually, La-Mulana is often classified under “Metroidvania”: a genre of 2D platformer game that puts a great emphasis on exploration, complex mysteries, hidden secrets, and challenges that sometimes require excellent hand-eye coordination or the cultivation of such. La-Mulana itself is a game that was created by Naramura, lead programmer Takayuki Ebihara and programmer/sound designer Houryuu Samejima’s love for vintage games on the old MSX that challenged players:  placing them into the middle of the chaos with almost no hand-holding, but making them earn their progress and gain a sense of accomplishment–or exhaustion–through doing so.

La-Mulana was originally a freeware game published independently by GR3 Project (before it became NIGORO) in Japan on Microsoft Windows based on these principles, and on the nostalgia of difficult 8-bit games, and was then remade as a 16-bit game with a few more additions for WiiWare, the PlayStation Vita, and Windows in 2011 and finally released on Steam in 2013. It has an arguably small fan-base, but I suspect it is only continuing to grow based on its wide acclaim. The premise of La-Mulana is that you play as an archaeologist named Lemeza Kosugi who regularly competes with his older archaeologist father Shawn for fame and is lured to the ruined temple of La-Mulana to supposedly find the origin of all life, and its treasure. And then it ends and it all seems to be over: even in the remake. But it still leaves you with questions.

Then NIGORO announced that they were working on a sequel: La-Mulana 2.

For a while, there was only the information that the main character would be Lemeza’s daughter and that the setting seemed to take place in a Nordic-themed dungeon. There was even a brief trailer for La-Mulana 2 and a few interviews with Naramura, but nothing more.

However, more information has been revealed since: not the least of which being the fact that La-Mulana 2 is being promoted and funded on Kickstarter. The game is being promoted as a Kickstarter Project by Playism Games, a company that is helping to translate La-Mulana 2 for its English fan-base, and also publishing both Japanese and English versions of the game. So far, from the time this article is being written, La-Mulana 2 has met a little over half of its $200,000 goal. NIGORO itself has a lot of plans with regards to where they will take this game should they meet, or even exceed, their goals. If you check out their Kickstarter, you will see all of their plans and the potential treasures that you yourself might get on should you be interested. I will say, however, that while La-Mulana 2 could be played and appreciated on its own, knowledge of the first game might keep you from discovering too many spoilers at this time. So if you are a gamer with a love of 8 to 16-bit sprites and synthesized music, with good hand-eye reflexes and a masochistic streak that likes to see a story gradually unfurl the more you suffer, or progress, you might want to consider backing this game.

That said however, if nostalgia is pain for the loss of one’s sense of home or the past and the aching hope of finding it again, NIGORO and La-Mulana is attempt to find that place again and create new memories and possibilities. For while the world of La-Mulana, with its dangerous secrets and ever-present mysteries, might have been based on MSX games such as The Maze of Galious, it seems as though the developer wants to take its own question to heart: continuing to take 2D from a medium, to a genre and back again to a medium with more complexity, depth and potential.

I myself am eager to see just how far their explorations will take us.