Creator Of Educational Game ‘Code Hero’ Reportedly Spends Kickstarter Money And Disappears [Update]



Alex Peake leads Primer Labs, an indie game development company that has been working on Code Hero, an innovative game that’s meant to teach students how to code software. The game was said to be in development for Mac and Windows, with an iOS version also in the works.

Code Hero was a huge success on Kickstarter earlier this year, as Peake raised $170,000 in just a couple days. The funding was supposedly going directly towards the development of Code Hero, and backers were promised physical copies of the game.

Since early in the year, Peake and Primer Labs haven’t been responding to backers, and now it’s been revealed that the educational tool will probably never see the light of day.

One of the game’s many concerned backers, Dustin Deckard, recently posted the following on Kickstarter:

You should know, right off the bat, that based on what we’ve found (and been told) – Alex Peake seems to have run out of money after spending it recklessly, and doesn’t plan on continuing with this project. There are well over 1000 backers out there who pledged for physical rewards. And, tragically, 6 backers who pledged at the $1k level who thought their money would be well spent on an educational tool for schools.

As I’ve said before – I’m sort of desperate to be proven wrong about all of this. An update on the status and future of Code Hero would be more than welcome.

An interview with Peake from November reveals the innovation and ambitious goals behind Code Hero, a game meant for schools to teach coding for just about any platform. Peake explained how Primer would make Code Hero when the Kickstarter campaign launched initially:

Most games cost millions of dollars to make. Code Hero is more ambitious than most games. Code Hero is carefully designed to be achievable for much less money by having 4 programmers and 2 artists work for six months to predict a carefully planned new kind of game that is made possible by the quality of these people, the brilliance of the Unity game engine and the release of each version so you can help us improve it continuously.

Here’s the original promo:

It’s sad to see such a promising educational tool abandoned. Since communication between Primer Labs and its 7,000+ backers has become silent, many are starting to assume the worst.

Update: Shortly after this article was published Alex Peake came out of the woodwork and put up a blog post detailing the ongoing developing of the game:

We are committed to finishing this game and although progress has slowed down and the release is taking longer than we planned, we remain dedicated to working on the project and will continue to do so because we believe in this game and we believe in making programming fun to learn.

Source: Kickstarter

  • bdkennedy

    Kickstarter serves as an investment opportunity and like any investment, nothing is guaranteed. As a matter of fact, Kickstarter’s downfall will be projects disappearing with the money and no one wanting to invest anymore.

  • Atienne

    There is a new crowd sourcing site out there… I FORGET THE NAME that tires to manage this, by issuing funds in chunk based on milestones being met. THat should limit those grab and dash projects.

  • rfunk82
  • scottasavage

    While the update to the story seems to indicate that development (supposedly) continues, it was only a matter of time before a somewhat high profile Kickstarter project ended with someone absconding with the funds.

  • nthmost

    Who the hell is “Dustin Deckard” and why would he have any clue how the money for Code Hero was spent?

    Well done printing alarmist rumors that have no basis in fact.

    I can tell you, being a friend of Alex Peake and someone who sees him doggedly teaching Unity once a week to game programming hopefuls at Noisebridge, Alex has certainly not disappeared.

    Primer Labs definitely underestimated the amount of work it would take to get to a real release, but saying Alex has “disappeared” and that Code Hero has been “abandoned” — oh man, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Alex lives, breathes, and “sleeps” this project, as does his team. Code Hero is coming. Their Kickstarter communication may have been neglected — seems to me that spending the campaign money on coding instead of social media would be the opposite of “reckless” — but printing the wild speculations of people who have no clue of what’s really happening is disrespectful and destructive.

    Please publish a retraction or an update to this story ASAP.

  • Tomoda826

    I was just at the Extreme Futurist Festival in Los Angeles this weekend and one of the speakers was Alex Peake. His talk was one of the best at the conference. He is super passionate about the game Code Hero and exuded an amazing confidence in how this game will change the world. It was inspiring to see how much of himself he put into the project. This story must not have done any research prior to going to print. I am excited to play the game WHEN it come out.