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Smoke And Mirrors: The Rise And Fall Of A Serial Antipreneur (eBook)

This is an official account of events that led to the evolution of GameGavel, RETRO magazine, the RETRO VGS, and the Coleco Chameleon written by somebody who was involved and had inside information that has never been published before.

It is a factual account of events, but more than that, it is a human story of the man behind the GameGavel Network and the Retro VGS / Coleco Chameleon and shows how one man's dream can quickly become a nightmare. Mike Kennedy set out with good intentions and wanted to produce a video game console but somewhere along the way he lost control of his vision, his empire, and his livelihood.

At any stage, he could have stopped the descent into madness but he chose to double down and forge ahead.

The result of 23 hours of interviews, 10 years in the making and 2 years of writing, the book is a 676 page journalistic investigation into a $2,000,000 crowd-funding scam and a roller coaster ride through the life of the man behind it, Mike Kennedy. Containing never before released emails, text messages and behind the scenes accounts about Retro Magazine, the Retro VGS and the Coleco Chameleon, this book is the definitive account of the whole story.

Having twice successfully crowd-funded, via Kickstarter, a magazine called “Retro” Mike Kennedy attempted to bring a video game console to market via the same method. Not having the knowledge or the funds to do so, he approached industry professionals to obtain a realistic timescale and cost. Not willing to wait for either, he asked “What can we do with Smoke and Mirrors?”

As respected professionals walked away, he turned to lesser able and less scrupulous engineers to help him defraud his way to $2,000,000 in crowd-funding revenue.

The author had inside knowledge and a variety of first hand sources of business dealings, burned investors and false press announcements and was among those warning the public that all was not as it seemed, yet these warnings went unheard or unheeded. What followed was an endless stream of announcements, 3D renders and multiple fake prototypes, one of them being displayed at the World’s premier Toy industry event, the New York Toy Fair.

After failed crowd-funding attempts and more engineers, fake prototypes were exposed and paid for by siphoning funds from the successfully funded Retro Magazine and from investment by friends and family members, who would go on to lose their investments and any potential claims on the company as new companies were registered.

Magazine writers went unpaid, subscribers went without their magazines and business partners were further defrauded as the empire fell apart, forcing Mike Kennedy to sell his yacht, his home and move to a Motel out of state.

The cover art work is from famed artist Trevor Storey.


Born in the north of England in 1970, the author has no previous book credits but has several blog and magazine credits including; Standard Life Magazine, Fusion Magazine, Retro Magazine and GameGavel.com.

He is known in the retro community for being a Co-Founder, Producer, Editor, Host and Writer of the long running Retro Gaming Roundup Podcast. With a history of over 11 years, the podcast has opened doors, allowing him to write and present several events at the Centre For Computing History in Cambridge, England, as well as hosting panels at some of the many retro video game expos on both sides of the Atlantic, including Classic Gaming Expo, Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Revival and Play.

He has provided the voice for Video Masters TV’s very own Earl The Robot and even developed his own games including New York Toy Fair and ports of CGE Adventures.

His knowledge of the video game industry has helped him to interview such industry luminaries as: Al Alcorn, Jim Bagley, Bill Budge, Simon Butler, Stoo Cambridge, David Crane, Ted Dabney, Warren Davis, Jo DeCuir, Mevlut Dinc, Dino Dini, Geoff Edwards, Jeri Elsworth, Bill Fisher, Ed Fries, Mike Giam, Jon Hare, Keithan Hayenga, Rebecca Heineman, Leonard Herman, Andrew Hutchings, Jersey Jack, Jennell Jacquays, Mark Jones, Gary Kitchen, Steve Lycett, Jeff Minter, Mike Montgomery, Andrew Oliver, Greg Pabbage, Howard Phillips, Bob Polaro, Steve Ritchie, Keith Robinson, John Romero, Jason Scott, Bob Smith, Jay Smith, John Sohl, Jon St John (Duke Nukem), Tommy Tallarico, David Thiel, Andy Walker, Dave Warhol, Brett Weiss, Steve Woita, Rob Zdybel and many others.

This book was successfully crowd funded in November 2020 when 253 backers pledged £5,108 to help bring it to life and smash its £1,400 funding target.

Physical copies will soon be available on our website: www.colecochameleon.org

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Smoke And Mirrors: The Rise And Fall Of A Serial Antipreneur (eBook)

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