Let me begin by enthusiastically announcing that we’re going to be having our One Year Anniversary Party in 2 weeks on Friday, October 18th at the Raygun Lounge and we’re going to push very hard to fulfill on all of our Kickstarter rewards when we do so.

I know and respect that most backers of the Lounge are feeling some mix of excitement-anticipation-impatience (some verging on anger) about finally getting your awesome Kickstarter swag. In retrospect, we made a ton of mistakes. I made a ton of mistakes. Some of them now glaringly apparent – like thinking that I would be able to fund and build an entire lounge, keep it going and fulfill on all of my outrageous Kickstarter rewards within a single month. Obviously, looking back, we were ridiculously optimistic to have promised that.

But then, we were ridiculously optimistic about the whole damn project from soup to nuts back in that glorious spring of 2012. After having backed some crazy Kickstarter projects ourselves, (and even after watching them face their own untested and unforeseen obstacles; Axe in My Head & Your Art Card Sleeves your tenacity in the face of obstacle after obstacle is an inspiration to us all) Kickstarter still seemed like a fantastic way to raise start-up funds, raise awareness, and share the adventure that only running and being part of a small, bold DIY local venture can provide, all at the same time. And it was. And I love what we do at Gamma Ray and I love sharing about how we do it. Even the messy, sometimes disorganized, learn-as-we-go side of it. Especially the messy, sometimes disorganized, learn-as-we-go side of it. And that’s why I was, and continue to be, wholeheartedly supportive of the whole idea behind Kickstarter, both how it works and how it sometimes doesn’t.

That said, as both a personal and professional backer of a number of long-delayed Kickstarter projects, I can very much sympathize with the bitter-sweetness of waiting for overdue kickass Kickstarter swag. On the one hand, the crazy updates can be pretty fun to read, on the other, I still someday hope to get or see the actual thing that inspired my monetary backing in the first place.

Which is why I am so ongoingly humbled by and grateful for your patronage and patience. And which is why in two weeks on Friday, October 18th we will invite you to come out to the lounge that you built so that we can say thank you one more time. And we’re pushing very hard to fulfill on all of the Kickstarter rewards, once and for all, by this event. Will we achieve this goal? No. Absolutely not. I’ve learned enough over the past year to say that we will do our absolute best. We will use all of the money that our modest operating budget allows us to order shirts, underwear, dice and lockers. We will use all of the time that our modest schedule allows us to finish the Wall of Awesome and table logo laser insets. We will do all that we can to have your t-shirts and underwear and cups and glasses ready, your name on the wall where we said it would be and your locker ready for you with good music and compelling art and your friends all here and we’ll make it warm and nice, all while keeping the doors open 6 days a week for over a year now through thick and thin, surprise after surprise. And we will fail. I don’t know how yet. But something isn’t going to arrive in time. Some application method isn’t going to work. Someone’s mom is going to get sick and they’re going to have to leave on short notice.

And when that happens, and I only have 4 out of the 5 things that I’ve yet again promised in spite of yet again not knowing how we’re going to do it all and daring yet again to try anyway, and you point it out to me as if I don’t already know, I’m going to smile, with great sincerity, and tell you that it’s on its way soon and that we’re working on it. And the sincerity will be real because we are. We’re doing the best that we can. And I know that we’re doing the best that we can because I love doing the best that I can and I love inspiring others to do the best that they can. And that’s why I do this. And that’s why I picked Kickstarter. And that’s why I hope that you picked us.

And if it isn’t why you picked us and you’re disappointed in our or my performance, I’m sorry. But I’m not sad. Because I’m proud of us. Because I’m proud of what we did and what we’re doing. I’m proud that while we were late on our t-shirts and still haven’t found a custom dice company that’s easy to work with, we actually built a friendly local game store and a gaming lounge where you can enjoy yourself six days a week. From scratch! And we now have a staff of six kickass employees to respond to your calls and emails directly, assist you in your gaming explorations, and honestly respond to you about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. And if we hadn’t have made all of those mistakes along the way, and if I wasn’t willing to be told, to my face and online by strangers, all of the mistakes that I made and the ways that I’d failed them personally, we never could’ve gotten here.

And that’s why I do it. Not for the accolades. Not for the money. But because I love our diverse, local, Capitol Hill community of gamers, creatives, nerds and geeks of all stripes, genders and orientations. And I love bringing them together to collaborate and do things that we’ve never done together before.

So come out with me in two weeks. Come out and celebrate. Come out and celebrate everything that we did and everything thing that we didn’t do. Come out and celebrate what we’re going to try to do next and what we’re going to do along the way in spite of ourselves. Come out and celebrate the mistakes that we’ve yet to be bold and brave enough to make together yet, but someday will be. Bring your hopes and your dreams and I’ll bring mine and we’ll throw them all out on the tables that we had to custom build to be big enough to fit them all. And we’ll mix them all together and we’ll make something amazing. And we’ll call it our lounge.

Happy Anniversary, everybody. I can’t wait to see you again.

-Eric