It takes a lot to bring this bear out of his cave, but if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s someone disparaging the integrity of Privateer Press. So I feel like I need to nip this in the bud quickly before it spirals out of control. Normally, I wouldn’t give something like this a second thought, but people are piling out of the woodwork to tell me about this, so it’s obviously getting some attention. It started over the weekend when a Facebook friend brought to my attention that some tinfoil-capped conspiracy crackpot who probably lives in a plywood shack in the middle of nowhere has fingered Privateer as being in cahoots with the U.S. government or some unknown division of the government. Apparently, we’re part of an effort to spread disinformation about alleged government involvement with—drum roll for the crazy punch line, as if this all wasn’t crazy enough—aliens. Seriously, it’s hard to write all this with a straight face. Aliens. As in little green men, flying saucers, Mars Needs Women kind of aliens. Thanks to a distributor who leaked our product solicitation announcement too early a few weeks ago, this guy caught wind of our upcoming LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] board game. Now, in his weird, upside-down freak-show of a world, he has convinced himself (and is trying to convince others) that the game is deliberately trivializing actual events in an effort to hide the truth in plain sight about supposedly heinous crimes committed against innocent civilians. If you want to indulge this kook, you can see his paranoid rants on his beautifully designed website (http://theydonotcomeinpeace.com/).
Is this guy for real? No, I don’t think so. Who believes in that stuff? I love the X-Files as much as the next guy, but the idea of our government recruiting Privateer Press (a game company!) to help create a smoke screen for some sort of controversial, covert program…well, it’s flattering to think we might be considered prolific enough to make a difference in such a propaganda machine. But come on! This is completely absurd. Yes, the LEVEL 7 franchise is inspired by “real world” UFO mythology and conspiracy theory, but the operative words there are “mythology” and “theory,” meaning they aren’t real, people. And there are tons of sci-fi games, TV shows, books and movies that come out every year. Does this guy want us to believe that they’re all part of some elaborate campaign to desensitize people to a controversial subject so that they’ll think anyone claiming such experiences will be considered insane? Insane is thinking that a game is anything more than just a game. (I’m looking at you, Tom Hanks and your groundbreaking film Mazes & Monsters. Thanks for setting my favorite hobby back twenty years.)
All I know is this lunatic who calls himself “Insider51” (Ooooh! How credible sounding!) doesn’t even have the cojones to post a real picture of himself on his site or use a real name in his posts. In fact, he’s gone one step further to try and bury his own identity by registering his website under MY name. How does that even make sense?
One theory I have is that this is all an elaborate hoax. I mean, obviously it’s not real, but I have a couple ideas about who might be behind it. I launched a blog a couple weeks ago (http://mattwilsonprime.com/) and in my “about” section, I even talk about how common my own name is and the fact that I know several other Matt Wilsons. So either Insider51 checked that out and thought it would be funny to take advantage of my insecurity, or one of these other Matt Wilson’s is playing a joke on me. In other words, the site actually could be legitimately registered to a “Matt Wilson.”
Big trouble to go through for this kind of joke, though, ain’t it? Why bother? Well, one of the Matt Wilsons I know is a pretty big prankster. I could see him doing some thing like this, and as soon as he returns my phone call I’ll know. Another is an artist who works for a big company I can’t mention here that I also did work for in the past. I’ve never met him, but I’ve been getting the poor guy’s paychecks for the last two years. True story! Naturally, I always return them, but maybe the guy is just fed up with it and decided to take it out on me. Whoever it is, I’ll figure it out eventually. Or maybe Insider51 will grow a pair and actually confront me face to face. (I’ll be at Lock & Load next weekend, buddy!)
Game design and production is what Privateer does. We’re proud patriots, we support our troops and pay our taxes, but we’re not government stooges. I can guarantee that. I’m super excited to be releasing LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE] and my short film project [WELCOME TO] LEVEL 7 very soon, but I assure each and every one of you that there is no hidden agenda behind these efforts and there is no hidden message here. Of course, if I was getting a big fat government payoff to help bury the truth about crazy alien/government collaborations, that’s exactly what I’d say.