Days later, another Indiegogo effort appeared, and this time it was Chloe herself that had put it up there, with more information and a video explaining her situation, or what she could make of it through her hoarse voice. Now this was more convincing, but the complaints came in again, and this time the Indiegogo team actually froze the campaign while they investigated the legitimacy of it, finding out if this was a scam or not. Yesterday the “I am going to survive” project that is intended to raise money for Chloe’s surgery went back online. Indiegogo had found the cause to be as was said on the campaign page, and Chloe really isn’t going to fare so well if she doesn’t get this surgery.
Chloe Sagal has been developing games for quite some, and unsuccessfully at that – financially, not in her own satisfaction of her work. Last year she released Homesick for free, and she tells me that it’s actually a sliver of a larger concept she had been developing, an “interactive slasher flick.” For her own reasons, Chloe wasn’t comfortable with telling people what she was going through, and she didn’t want to come across as begging for money to help her out. So her intention was to make a game that people wouldn’t mind paying for. That ended up being Homesick.
“I am suffering from metal poisoning. I need to get this shrapnel out of me before it kills me.”
Homesick came about due to a two-week game development contest being held for Halloween last October. Chloe caught on late, though, and only had a week to whip something up. Homesick is a sidescrolling, tense and atmospheric flashlight-guided walk around a dark and eerily quite house, inside of which a killer lurks and will appear very suddenly and stalk you. You’re entirely defenseless. And the death scene is absolutely brutal. Upon submitting her work, she was praised by the other contestants, but lost horribly in the competition itself, without even as much as an honorary mention. Chloe says that the judges never explained their choices, but figured Homesick placed badly because she neglected to notice that the entries were supposed to be two-minute-long mini-games, and not what she ended up submitting.
“Since the competition was lost, I figured no one would really even like the game, so I decided to spread it around the internet and see if anyone was willing to donate, which included the forums for the YouTuber Pewdiepie. When Pewdiepie did a video of Homesick, I was totally unprepared for the massive amounts of downloads the game received, which caused my Dropbox to get suspended, having me scramble to create a new link for the game.”
Unfortunately for Chloe, direct links to the game were being spread around, as opposed to the forum post where all the donation information was supplied. She noticed this too late to catch the little attention that the game did, so even though she deleted the old links and put a new one up on her own YouTube channel, ultimately, only a handful of people ended up donating.
“I got plenty of hatemail, though, saying that I should be ashamed, telling me I was greedy for expecting people to pay money for a free game, that I shouldn’t have gotten into game development for the money (like that was my motivation?), and some people even called me a straight up e-beggar.”
Understandably, Chloe was made even more reluctant to talk about her situation when the reactions were thus. But she’s come to realize that if she’s going to raise the money needed for her surgery, then she’s got to face up to it all and be as open as she can be about what’s going on. The short of it starts off with a car accident that she was in, and after getting patched up, something was either left in or missed by the doctors. The item turned up on an X-ray, but upon looking into getting the surgery needed to remove it, her insurance disposed of her claim.
“So the next step was to go for malpractice. I lost (apparently my “how else could it have gotten there?” strategy was not adequate), and naturally the insurance is basing their stance on the ruling. I’m not sure if I can continue to fight it, but unfortunately, I don’t exactly have the time or the willpower. Originally I was given a few years to get the item out, but since I’ve apparently been over-stressing myself, the excess cortisol has not been helping my condition.”
Aside from the Indiegogo campaign and the donations offered to her for Homesick, Chloe has been trying to pay for the surgery in several other ways. Medical loans (which she doesn’t have the credit for, or the finances to afford the payments), working a full-time job at minimum wage (though since she’s been told not to stress herself any more, that has had to stop). She’s also been attempting to get excess loans from school, but apparently, that does not amount to much. Potentially, she’ll be able to get the second surgery in another country, which is “related to the car accident, but not to the situation at hand,” and “getting that surgery is not necessary for (her) to live, but it is vital to returning to a normal life.” For that she should be okay with the extra wait time. She would turn to her parents, but they don’t want to know after abandoning her after she admitted to not being straight to them, and she recently called her mother begging for her help, but was only told that she was a disappointment, and her problems were all in her head in return.
Currently the Indiegogo campaign is asking for $35,000, with price estimations of the required surgery coming in at around $29,000. The second, not so vital surgery has been estimated at about $25,000. So all of the money that the campaign receives will go towards paying for one of, or both of, these surgeries. And if the funding reaches beyond what is required, then the excess will be donated to charity. Chloe is currently working on another video for the Indiegogo due to people demanding it to feel more comfortable with donating to her cause.
So my advice is to download and play Homesick, and if you enjoy it and would like to pay for it retroactively, then consider donating to Chloe’s Indiegogo campaign. If that’s easier to justify handing over the money, then let it be so. I hope it all works out for Chloe in the end.