Thursday, February 09, 2012

Kickstarter And Double Fine

The big story this week--maybe this year--is the Kickstarter project started this week by Tim Schafer and Double Fine.

It's highly unlikely that you don't know Tim Schafer, but just in case, Schafer was a large part of the brilliance behind the Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island series, as well as Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Those games all represent what is surely the finest lineage in adventure gaming history.

Schafer wanted to make another game in this vein--a traditional point-and-click adventure--but he decided to take an entirely unconventional path: a Kickstarter campaign. And given the unwillingness of publishers to take any risks whatsoever these days, it's just as well. Believe it or not, a point-and-click adventure from the finest practitioner of the craft would be considered risky by publishers these days.

Schafer hoped to get $400,000 to fund the game, which seemed an entirely ludicrous number, given that there are very few Kickstarter projects asking for $50,000, let alone $400,000.

That was about 24 hours and $1,096,236 ago. The game was funded more than 2.5X beyond the original (quite silly) goal in about a day.

When you're trying to make a game, how often does someone give you MORE money than you asked for? 2.5X more? Sure, it won't work for everyone--or hardly anyone, to be more accurate--but what a great story, and what a great example of discovering your real customer base. And with digital distribution, Kickstarter certainly becomes a potential avenue to bypass the conventional game industry entirely.

If you want to see the Kickstarter project yourself, it's here. They raised another $4,000 while I was typing this post.

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