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Excellent points, Rob and Clok. Man, you guys must be super brains in vats or something!
Anyway, a lot of the guys I've interviewed joke around about this, usually saying they'd be happy if somebody bought them a pizza or beer. I don't think they're expecting to get a huge payout (and I'm not expecting anyone to give them that, though who knows, if this got big enough it could happen). The reason I mentioned charity is that a lot of these guys will probably say they don't want donations or don't need them, since they wouldn't want to appear greedy. That's why I thought the redemption angle was a good one; it's like, look, these are guys who would have bought the game back in the day if they had the resources they do now. So, just think of it like a seriously delayed payment!
There are issues of course. Very few games are solo-authored, even back in the 80s, so we'll have to divvy it up somehow. If they were just donating to a charity, that wouldn't be necessary. The important thing (I think) is that we keep clear records and show how X game is bringing in so many dollars, etc.
BTW, the charity could be a fund instead, say a fund to preserve classic games and systems or perhaps a fund for creative and original new indie projects. Just thinking off the cuff here. But I'd like for it to be an option to give money directly to the designer, assuming that was unambiguous.
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