Homicide By Any Other Name: The Latest On The Romine Case

Here at MMO Fallout, the dead truly never stay down, and nothing says painstaking existence quite like the story of Digital Homicide and the lawsuit by James Romine against Jim Sterling. Those of you new to this discussion are going to have to read the archives, after going on two years of discussing what Digital Homicide is and what they do, frankly I’m sick of retelling the same story every other month. When we last left this story, the judge had dismissed Romine’s case unless he could present a counter-argument through an attorney. Key part of this phrase, through an attorney. Keep that in mind for the weeks ahead, it is very important.

Since Romine decided to file yet another 73 page document, I went through and plucked out some of the more interesting facts/claims that were made this time around. See below:

  1. Romine is now claiming that Jim Sterling is a direct competitor, as Sterling is “a member of a development team” currently working on a Steam release, thus alleging jurisdiction in Arizona because said game will no doubt be sold in Arizona.
  2. The idea that Romine has been using alternate accounts to put out other games and hide his name, because having either Romine or Digital Homicide attached to your name is guaranteed rejection by the gaming public, has basically been solidified in legal documents. Romine planned on using the Micro Strategic Designs name to ‘rebrand,’ an effort that was ruined because the developer messed up and accidentally placed the game in a Digital Homicide bundle, thus revealing the connection.
  3. The goal at the time was to completely retire the name Digital Homicide, because the name itself was irreparably damaged thanks to bad press and extremely low rated games.
  4. Romine believes that it is unfair for Digital Homicide’s poor reputation to follow to a new company owned and operated by the same people.
  5. How easy it is to game Steam Greenlight: According to the court documents, Attrition: Nuclear Domination made it through Steam Greenlight with just 500 yes votes. If you’re wondering how all of these bad games get through, here is your answer.
  6. Romine has more alternate accounts, under the names Vampier Straud, TheMac, SimplebutFunGames, and Micro Strategic Designs. There are seven total, four owned 100% by Romine.
  7. Valve nearly gave Digital Homicide the boot in 2015: According to the documents, Valve nearly gave Digital Homicide the boot in October 2015, stopping only because Romine begged (his word) them not to, promising to remove his future products to avoid having everything shut down. Incidentally, Valve would ultimately terminate their business with Digital Homicide following aggressive legal action from the latter.
  8. Someone sent a bag of poop by mail to Digital Homicide. Don’t do that.

How will the court respond? There’s only one way to find out. Tune in next time, folks.

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  • Linda Sofia Hartlén

    so he didnt go through a lawyer? … why am i not surprised?

  • ImaLemming

    The part that’s drawing the most attention at places like NeoGAF and The Escapist forms is where Romine uses Daffy Duck-caliber mental gymnastics to say he doesn’t need a lawyer because using the name “Micro Strategic Design” at one point means he’s sole proprietor and can file pro se… or something. I think even if I knew legalese this would come off as gobbledegook (he wrote 73 pages of this???)

    I hope the judge throws this shit back in his face and curb-stomps his nuts.

    • Connor

      I find more entertainment in the fact that he’s complaining about how unfair it is that the reputation of Digital Homicide is following him to his other shell companies (half of which he is sole proprietor, the other half I imagine are jointly owned by the other Romine brother), in which he’s putting out the same trash-quality games. He also says that Sterling is implying that what he’s doing is illegal, but I haven’t found that to be the case at all. It’s certainly shady, nothing less than I would expect from a company that once had 40-odd games on Greenlight simultaneously.

      It’s rather pointless for Romine to try and cover his tracks with new company names, since his games have an almost iconic style of poor quality that gives him away, and it’s perfectly acceptable to point out that the sole proprietor of a previous shady business is the sole proprietor of a new, potentially shady business.

  • Sergeant Ego

    One item I found amusing was in the documents when DH claimed The Attrition, Nuclear Domination has approximately 300 hours of work.

    Let’s forget for a moment that the court probably doesn’t care how much work went into a product. 300 man hours? That’s nothing compared to what good developers do.

    • Connor

      You see this a lot in defamation lawsuits, the plaintiff tries to defend the intangible statements as literal, therefore wrong, therefore slander. It’s called throwing everything you’ve got and hoping something sticks. You said my game looks like it had no effort placed into it, I had 300 hours, which is more than “none” and therefore you slandered me.

      I once had a developer warn me that my comments on their game could be slanderous because I called it a ‘roaring dumpster fire,’ a statement that was patently misleading as there were neither dumpsters nor fires in the game.

  • Oliver Hyde

    can you provide a link to the 73 page tome i thing a bit of night time reading is in order

  • Lockheart

    Shitty developer manchild throws temper tantrum. I hope he looses and has to pay the legal fees to jim at this point.

  • Kelleric Longstar

    I wonder if this is to end tomorrow or if Digital Homicide will find another way to escalate this further which will prove problematic for them considering they have no lawyer.

  • Captain Pipsqueak

    Someone sent a bag of poop by mail to Digital Homicide. Don’t do that.

    We’ve only got their word that happened, which is, at best, tenuous. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but they’re not someone I’d take at face value.