KickStart This: Kickstarter Helping Games Get Made

Almost everyone has heard about Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and similar sites where you can go to raise money for various projects – commonly referred to as crowd funding.. Kickstarter was the first among them and has a little requirement: to get the money you raised, you have to reach or exceed your goal. This article talks about some recent Kickstarter funded projects and other projects that would be nice to see funded.

I watched Kickstarter launch and the projects there and found many of them to be quite interesting and while some reached their goals, others didn’t.

Aug. 14 was one of those days where it looked like a Kickstarter project that I had a lot of interest in wasn’t going to make it. It had 8 hours left and $25,000 to go to reach its funding goal of $500,000. That project was Shadowrun Online by Cliffhanger Productions. Now I wasn’t the only journalist to make note of it – far from it. MMORPG.com did an article about it this morning to bring awareness to gamers, developers and those with deep pockets. I and many others others, including MMORPG.com, shared the Kickstarter, pushing it towards the goal.

Eight hours later, the project ended, exceeding its goal of $500,000 by $58,688.

Way to go Cliffhanger Productions and everyone that donated. I look forward to this game. You can check out all the info on the funding of the project and a video as well here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1964352341/shadowrun-online

But seeing that project this morning made me look at other interesting, video game-related projects that should be highlighted to readers and those that help donate to these causes. That being said, I weeded through a bunch of things going on at Kickstarter and came up with the following projects to highlight.

#1. David Crane’s Jungle Adventure

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jungleventure/david-cranes-jungle-adventure-0

Thirty years ago, Pitfall came into our lives on the Atari 2600. Love it or hate it, the game was a challenge and fun/frustrating to play. Crane has returned to produce a Jungle Adventure game with modern game graphics.

They explain why Kickstarter:

“2012 marks the 30th anniversary of David’s seminal game, Pitfall!™. Since then, the game industry has exploded, turning the whole world into gamers. The rise of mobile devices as a gaming platform, in particular, has introduced a whole new generation to games that are easy to pick up and accessible to all, but infinitely re-playable and challenging. In a sense, we’re seeing a return to the values of innovation through gameplay that the industry was initially built on.

However, video games are still notoriously expensive to make. Traditional games require dozens of professionals working for years on their specialty, and the more experienced the talent the more the expenses roll up. For a game publisher to start a game, its management team has to invest millions of dollars – risking it all – in the hopes that enough people will buy the game to return a profit. There are very few publishers, groups, or individuals who have the ability to risk enough money to make a truly great game.

Kickstarter turns the whole game industry on its head. You, the game buyer, decide what game you want – not a few people in the publisher’s boardroom. Instead of voting by choosing to buy or not buy a completed game once launched, you place your vote by contributing to the project in advance. Then you come along for the ride with us, seeing behind closed doors and collaborating on key features to help get the game you want.”

Makes sense. The Kickstarter page explains a lot more about the game, what they want to do, what you get if you contribute. They have a high goal of $900,000 to be raised with 31 days left in their funding campaign. They currently have a little over $10,000 donated (as of Aug. 14). Let’s help David create a new Pitfall Game we’ll love to hate.

#2 SolForge Digital Trading Game by Gary Games, Inc.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1965800643/solforge-digital-trading-card-game?ref=category

“The creators of Ascension and Magic: The Gathering have joined forces to create a revolutionary digital trading card game.”

If you’ve played Magic: The Gathering or Ascension, you know how much it costs to play the card games – it can get to be expensive. Especially when the cards you want are hard to find or just aren’t in the decks you buy to build them.

But the idea behind this is a digital game where you build your decks through online play, gaining cards as you gain experience. You can pay to advance your decks faster, but, according to the Kickstarter sales pitch, you can acquire everything you need by playing the game – something that’s not always true for Free-2-Play games.

As of Aug. 17, the project is a little less than halfway funded, having $111,468 pledged of a $250,000 goal. With 23 days to go, they have a good chance of making their funding goal. Check it out, especially if you like playing trading card games but not having to buy cards to do it.

#3. Wings: Director’s Cut by Cinemaware

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/850516062/wings-directors-cut?ref=category

How many of you remember the Commodore Amiga game, Wings produced by Cinemaware? If you liked flying and being a WWI pilot on missions, you probably do remember it. And if you don’t, you probably were too young.

Either way, Cinemaware is wanting to redo the game with an extended directors cut for this century.

While the video is almost 10 minutes long (and if you like pretty girls, there’s one talking the whole time) it might appeal to you, but reading through the page gives you a lot more information about what they’re up to.

As of Aug. 17, they are at $28,059 pledged of their $350,000 goal with 24 days left to go. While their lowest donation level is $15, you get to get a copy of the game with that donation amount. Not bad!

Take some time, check it out and if you want a copy of the game, pre-order it through their Kickstarter.

#4 Nancy Drew: Help Us Keep Inspiring Girls Through Games! By Her Interactive

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2068118422/her-interactive-take-nancy-drew-games-mobile?ref=category

This one is probably nearer and dearer to me because I loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries as a little girl and as I got older, loved playing mystery based games on the PC. Seeing something like this being targeted for mobile devices to encourage girls to play games, but more importantly games that stimulate the cortex of the brain responsible for problem solving is amazing.

#5 Ultima Online: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide by CmdrFalcon

http://www.rockethub.com/projects/9834-ultima-online-the-ultimate-collector-s-guide

As mentioned above, there are other sites that are designed to help get projects funded. One of the ones I recently heard about is regarding a book for Ultima Online, covering the 15 years the game has been around. CmdrFalcon, as we all know him from Stratics, is behind the project and is looking to raise $1,000 to get the book going.

He recently achieved that goal, but there is still time left in the funding campaign.

A description of what he’s working on:

“This mammoth 460 page tribute to the Ultima Online series contains highly detailed information and pictures for 180 main releases, 381 books & collectibles, and 76 miscellaneous items. A grand total of 637 items from 21 countries across 5 continents!

In addition to regular entries there are comprehensive variation guides for each game. They provide side-by-side comparisons illustrating the differences between different maps, boxes, books, discs, etc. There’s even some history & lore for extra flavoring.

The original Ultima Online and all 10 expansion packs are covered in exhaustive detail. Also included are Ultima Worlds Online: Origin, Ultima X: Odyssey, UO Mobile, Lord of Ultima, Ultima Forever, as well as the many Collections & Compilations”

So if you’re a fan of all things Ultima related, check into this one and perhaps donate a little bit to help with the costs of publishing.

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And to conclude, some interesting, already funded (some by a lot) projects related to gaming:

#1 OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console by OUYA

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console?ref=category

OUYA has to be one of the projects that not only exceeded their initial goal of raising $950,00, but exceeded it by leaps and bounds. A total of $8,596,475 was raised for this project to create a new generation console. That’s $7,646,475 over their goal! 63,416 people backed the project in some monetary form.

So…. what Is OUYA? OUYA is touted as a new game console powered by Android for the TV. But it’s more than that, it’s also a dev kit for those wanting to create games that sell on the system. It has a bunch of big names signed up for additional perks – TwitchTV, VEVO, etc.

But don’t take what I’m saying at face value. Check out the Kickstarter page and videos, then check out www.ouya.tv for more info.

Time for Xbox and Nintendo to move over.

#2 Super Retro Squad by Exploding Rabbit

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/explodingrabbit/super-retro-squad?ref=search

This one gets a mention mainly, because like the funding project above it was more than funded, but also because it will be available on the above system as well.

So, Super Retro Squad is, in Exploding Rabbits words:

“Super Retro Squad is a 2D platformer that features characters inspired by classic video game characters. These characters will feature unique gameplay, but their core will be based on the originals. This way, you get something old and something new, and it’s all combined together for a fresh, fun experience.

The game will feature 40+ levels that will be spanned across 8 worlds. Each world will be based on one of the characters, so there will be plenty of variety found in the environments and enemies. There will also be an equipment and upgrade system that will allow you to customize your character’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. We also plan on tying everything together with a cool story that will be explained through dialog and cut scenes.”

Based on the video from the previous game the company did Super Mario Bros. Crossover, this should be an interesting game.

The target funding for this project was $10,000. They exceeded that amount by $43,510. They mentioned if they reached $50,000 they were going to do a documentary of the making of the game.

This is another one I look forward to.

So check out the crowd-funding projects listed here. If you can afford to chip in on some of them, I encourage you to do so. And if you can’t chip in, then do your part and promote the projects you want to see happen.

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