Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

So far I've either pledged or donated a grand total of $700 (!) to various game-related Kickstarter projects. That being said, some of the donations are rather small ($15 each); and could probably be as almost unreasonably cheap pre-orders rather than as altruistic monetary gifts to groups of brilliant but penniless developers. In either case, below is a quick rundown of all the projects I've supported thus far (oh, and I'm still very much looking forward to the rumored Tex Murphy and Dead State Kickstarters...);

Wasteland 2(Donated: $300)

As previously mentioned on this blog, this one was a no-brainer. Wasteland 2 represents more than the mere resurgence of a classic IP; it's a rallying cry against the current action-oriented state of Western RPGs. As much as I can appreciate flashy modern roleplaying titles such as Skyrim, Mass Effect and even Dragon Age 2 I really want to help bring back turn-based, party-based gameplay to the American/European RPG scene.

Double Fine Adventure (Donated: $60)

I'm no passionate fan of adventure games in general, so in the case of DFA I'm probably more interested in the documentary series being filmed during the production of the game than I am in the final product. Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert seem to be super-nice guys, and if the development-oriented discussion video they released at the beginning of the KS campaign is any indication there's much to learn from getting a peak behind the curtains and learn how they address specific design decisions in the months to come.

Shadowrun Returns (Donated: $50)

Apart from having briefly rented the SNES game (sadly not the Genesis one, which seems even more awesome) many years ago my exposure to Shadowrun as a gaming phenomena is very limited, but it sure seems to be a cool and original cyberpunk universe alright and the idea of a turn-based RPG with direct ties to the old console classics is very appealing.

The Banner Saga (Donated: $50)

Turn-based combat, ambitious storytelling by ex-Bioware developers, animated film-inspired art design and a Viking theme? Sold! The Banner Saga is a really intriguing little game which became an early Kickstarter success story when it was 700% (over-)funded and the project grew in scope and scale far beyond what the developers had anticipated.

Pinkerton Road Studios/Moebius (Donated: $50)

It's admittedly not saying much given the generally miserable state of video game writing, but industry veteran Jane Jensen remains one of the more ambitious game writers and designers around. I'm normally a gameplay-over-story kind of guy, but titles such as the underrated Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned and the mostly over-looked Gray Matter overcome their mechanical flaws by providing mature (if undeniably pulpy) storylines and compelling characters. Jensen's "Pinkerton Road" initiative has an unusually long-term perspective for a Kickstarter project and promises to bring us several new adventure games over the coming years, starting with the intriguing Moebius and an as of yet unrevealed mystery title...

Grim Dawn (Pledged: $50)

With Torchlight II and Diablo III coming out pretty soon the world might not appear to be needing another click-heavy ARPG in the near future, but Grim Dawn's ambitious open world design, distinctive art design and deep character customization got me interested. Also, the game has been worked on for quite some time before the Kickstarter initiative and thus represents a more substantial proposition than a lot of other KS projects.

Republique (Pledged: $40)

In the brief history of Kickstarter game projects, camouflaj's slick and innovative stealth/survival horror game Republique is probably the most nerve-wrecking tale of an experienced team of affable developers racing against the clock to get their dauntingly ambitious new IP off the ground (they got fully funded with less than 8 hours to go). Part of the problem with Republique - as well as its underlying appeal - is that unlike most Kickstarter games it's not at all about feeding on nostalgia and resurrecting a dormant franchise; this is a new and decidedly "modern" game with intentionally high production values, innovative control mechanics and cinematic storytelling. Some grumpy Luddites were undoubtedly put off by the emphasis on iOS, but for once I feel that a "serious" (i.e. non-casual) gameplay idea has been tailored convincingly to the strengths and limitations of the platform. And while it's clear that the team didn't take the decision to add a PC version lightly, they've been very clear about their ambitions to go beyond a mere port and adapt the experience and interface to PC standards.

Xenonauts (Pledged: $30) (not including a previously placed pre-order)

Almost everything I hear about Firaxis' re-boot of X-COM warms my geeky heart, but there's no question that the independently developed Xenonauts is even more of a "spiritual successor" to the original Enemy Unknown. Lead Designer Chris England has already invested a lot of his own time and money into resurrecting this innovative combination of isometric combat, UFO spotting and base management, and judging by the early demos this looks like a very accomplished and faithful take on the classic gameplay formula.

Legends of Eisenwald (Pledged: $15)

Probably one of the nerdiest indie game project on Kickstarter (...and that's saying a lot!), Legends of Eisenwald was almost worth $15 just for the adorably geeky promotion video in which the Eastern European developers dress up in silly medieval-looking costumes (with considerably less irony than might be expected given the surplus of fake armor). The game itself is an intriguing Heroes of Might & Magic-style strategy/RPG hybrid with a dynamic campaign and lots of tactical turn-based combat. As with Grim Dawn and Xenonauts, the game has been in development for some time already and could be among the first Kickstarter games to actually get released.

Leisure Suit Larry (Donated: $15)

Helping to fund a remake of Leisure Suit Larry is not exactly on the top of my list of priorities in life, but the original game was an early and formative adventure game experience for me (disturbingly early and formative, given the subject matter), so it could be interesting in more ways than one to get re-acquinted with the tasteless sleazebag Larry Laffer. If nothing else, "Ken sent me" is forever etched into my brain...

Nekro (Pledged: $15)

I'm not sure I quite understand what Nekro is all about, but the guy and the gal in that video looked like awfully nice people so why not? To be serious, though, I get a cool Overlord/Dungeon Keeper vibe from this action/strategy hybrid (Myth is also cited as an inspiration) so I hope this one turns out well.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation (Pledged: $15)

The original Carmageddon always had its twisted heart in the right place; belonging as it did to an interesting era in video gaming history when the industry was becoming rather large but not big enough to constantly have to worry about being all respectable and tasteful. My strongest memory of the original game is playing it together with a classmate who had been hit by a car a few months earlier and, well, needless to say he wasn't too excited about the whole experience. In either case, the mere concept of mowing down pedestrians might not be as quite as cool in 2012 as it was in 1997, but it could still be capable of providing some mindless irreverent fun. If nothing else, Stainless Games are the original creators of the series (as well as a fairly distinguished developer of downloadable XBLA games such as Risk Factions and Magic the Gathering), so one would think that they know what they're doing.

Two Guys SpaceVenture by the creators of Space Quest (Pledged: $15)

I know embarrassingly little about Space Quest, but apparently the games were very funny. Worth $15 for a spiritual successor? Only time will tell, but this one will probably get funded on the strength of its (implied) brand...

Online
#1 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

So far I've either pledged or donated a grand total of $700 (!) to various game-related Kickstarter projects. That being said, some of the donations are rather small ($15 each); and could probably be as almost unreasonably cheap pre-orders rather than as altruistic monetary gifts to groups of brilliant but penniless developers. In either case, below is a quick rundown of all the projects I've supported thus far (oh, and I'm still very much looking forward to the rumored Tex Murphy and Dead State Kickstarters...);

Wasteland 2(Donated: $300)

As previously mentioned on this blog, this one was a no-brainer. Wasteland 2 represents more than the mere resurgence of a classic IP; it's a rallying cry against the current action-oriented state of Western RPGs. As much as I can appreciate flashy modern roleplaying titles such as Skyrim, Mass Effect and even Dragon Age 2 I really want to help bring back turn-based, party-based gameplay to the American/European RPG scene.

Double Fine Adventure (Donated: $60)

I'm no passionate fan of adventure games in general, so in the case of DFA I'm probably more interested in the documentary series being filmed during the production of the game than I am in the final product. Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert seem to be super-nice guys, and if the development-oriented discussion video they released at the beginning of the KS campaign is any indication there's much to learn from getting a peak behind the curtains and learn how they address specific design decisions in the months to come.

Shadowrun Returns (Donated: $50)

Apart from having briefly rented the SNES game (sadly not the Genesis one, which seems even more awesome) many years ago my exposure to Shadowrun as a gaming phenomena is very limited, but it sure seems to be a cool and original cyberpunk universe alright and the idea of a turn-based RPG with direct ties to the old console classics is very appealing.

The Banner Saga (Donated: $50)

Turn-based combat, ambitious storytelling by ex-Bioware developers, animated film-inspired art design and a Viking theme? Sold! The Banner Saga is a really intriguing little game which became an early Kickstarter success story when it was 700% (over-)funded and the project grew in scope and scale far beyond what the developers had anticipated.

Pinkerton Road Studios/Moebius (Donated: $50)

It's admittedly not saying much given the generally miserable state of video game writing, but industry veteran Jane Jensen remains one of the more ambitious game writers and designers around. I'm normally a gameplay-over-story kind of guy, but titles such as the underrated Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned and the mostly over-looked Gray Matter overcome their mechanical flaws by providing mature (if undeniably pulpy) storylines and compelling characters. Jensen's "Pinkerton Road" initiative has an unusually long-term perspective for a Kickstarter project and promises to bring us several new adventure games over the coming years, starting with the intriguing Moebius and an as of yet unrevealed mystery title...

Grim Dawn (Pledged: $50)

With Torchlight II and Diablo III coming out pretty soon the world might not appear to be needing another click-heavy ARPG in the near future, but Grim Dawn's ambitious open world design, distinctive art design and deep character customization got me interested. Also, the game has been worked on for quite some time before the Kickstarter initiative and thus represents a more substantial proposition than a lot of other KS projects.

Republique (Pledged: $40)

In the brief history of Kickstarter game projects, camouflaj's slick and innovative stealth/survival horror game Republique is probably the most nerve-wrecking tale of an experienced team of affable developers racing against the clock to get their dauntingly ambitious new IP off the ground (they got fully funded with less than 8 hours to go). Part of the problem with Republique - as well as its underlying appeal - is that unlike most Kickstarter games it's not at all about feeding on nostalgia and resurrecting a dormant franchise; this is a new and decidedly "modern" game with intentionally high production values, innovative control mechanics and cinematic storytelling. Some grumpy Luddites were undoubtedly put off by the emphasis on iOS, but for once I feel that a "serious" (i.e. non-casual) gameplay idea has been tailored convincingly to the strengths and limitations of the platform. And while it's clear that the team didn't take the decision to add a PC version lightly, they've been very clear about their ambitions to go beyond a mere port and adapt the experience and interface to PC standards.

Xenonauts (Pledged: $30) (not including a previously placed pre-order)

Almost everything I hear about Firaxis' re-boot of X-COM warms my geeky heart, but there's no question that the independently developed Xenonauts is even more of a "spiritual successor" to the original Enemy Unknown. Lead Designer Chris England has already invested a lot of his own time and money into resurrecting this innovative combination of isometric combat, UFO spotting and base management, and judging by the early demos this looks like a very accomplished and faithful take on the classic gameplay formula.

Legends of Eisenwald (Pledged: $15)

Probably one of the nerdiest indie game project on Kickstarter (...and that's saying a lot!), Legends of Eisenwald was almost worth $15 just for the adorably geeky promotion video in which the Eastern European developers dress up in silly medieval-looking costumes (with considerably less irony than might be expected given the surplus of fake armor). The game itself is an intriguing Heroes of Might & Magic-style strategy/RPG hybrid with a dynamic campaign and lots of tactical turn-based combat. As with Grim Dawn and Xenonauts, the game has been in development for some time already and could be among the first Kickstarter games to actually get released.

Leisure Suit Larry (Donated: $15)

Helping to fund a remake of Leisure Suit Larry is not exactly on the top of my list of priorities in life, but the original game was an early and formative adventure game experience for me (disturbingly early and formative, given the subject matter), so it could be interesting in more ways than one to get re-acquinted with the tasteless sleazebag Larry Laffer. If nothing else, "Ken sent me" is forever etched into my brain...

Nekro (Pledged: $15)

I'm not sure I quite understand what Nekro is all about, but the guy and the gal in that video looked like awfully nice people so why not? To be serious, though, I get a cool Overlord/Dungeon Keeper vibe from this action/strategy hybrid (Myth is also cited as an inspiration) so I hope this one turns out well.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation (Pledged: $15)

The original Carmageddon always had its twisted heart in the right place; belonging as it did to an interesting era in video gaming history when the industry was becoming rather large but not big enough to constantly have to worry about being all respectable and tasteful. My strongest memory of the original game is playing it together with a classmate who had been hit by a car a few months earlier and, well, needless to say he wasn't too excited about the whole experience. In either case, the mere concept of mowing down pedestrians might not be as quite as cool in 2012 as it was in 1997, but it could still be capable of providing some mindless irreverent fun. If nothing else, Stainless Games are the original creators of the series (as well as a fairly distinguished developer of downloadable XBLA games such as Risk Factions and Magic the Gathering), so one would think that they know what they're doing.

Two Guys SpaceVenture by the creators of Space Quest (Pledged: $15)

I know embarrassingly little about Space Quest, but apparently the games were very funny. Worth $15 for a spiritual successor? Only time will tell, but this one will probably get funded on the strength of its (implied) brand...

Online
#2 Posted by laserbolts (5331 posts) -

I wish I had money to waste like this.

#3 Posted by Redsox44 (485 posts) -

Damn well hopefully they turn out good after spending that much.

#4 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

I wish I had money to waste like this.

Me too! And I sure as hell wouldn't spent it on Kickstarter, even though it's fun to see enthusiastic developers pitch their games. Nobody knows yet how the actuall games will turn out. Since stuff like Costume Quest is $2-3 million, it's hard to believe Ryan Payton can actually make anything close to a AAA game with only $500k along with something like $500k from a publisher. At least there's a real sense of ownership and an obligation to produce something good.

#5 Posted by BeachThunder (12114 posts) -

Well, thank you sir for helping to fund some awesome (sounding) games.

#6 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

@Redsox44: Hell, there are lots of people who've spent more on one Kickstarter game than I spent on 15. I feel like I've spread the risk quite nicely; they can't all fail...or can they? ;)

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#7 Edited by Kidavenger (3584 posts) -

I haven't donated to any of them, the only one I regret is not backing the Double Fine Adventure, most of these games interest me and I'll probably end up buying many of them, but Double Fine had the only appealing rewards mix, their $100 tier was great with the shirt, poster, in game credit and a copy of the game on Steam.

I had missed out on the Idle Thumbs one also which I wanted to get in on, but they aren't making much progress now that it's done and seem to be spending money on stupid things so I don't know, don't feel too bad about missing that one anymore.

#8 Posted by Brendan (7846 posts) -

Bumped for INSANITY!!

#9 Posted by Seastalk (123 posts) -

You're so crazy; however your craziness gets my envy, because I wish I had that kind of money to just spurge on games.

#10 Posted by ShaggE (6572 posts) -

I need a couple thousand to kickstart a website for people to kickstart alternative websites to Kickstarter (I'll call it Jumpstarter). Who's in?

#11 Posted by BeachThunder (12114 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

I regret is not backing the Double Fine Adventure.

Well, lucky you, you can now pre-order it from their website and get the same rewards as $15 kickstarter people.

#12 Posted by MrBoBo (102 posts) -

@Egge said:

Almost everything I hear about Firaxis' re-boot of X-COM warms my geeky heart, but there's no question that the independently developed Xenonauts is even more of a "spiritual successor" to the original Enemy Unknown.

I agree. The reboot will be shit because of mainstream console audiences. Not much interest in that. Go xenonauts.

#13 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11930 posts) -

@MrBoBo said:

@Egge said:

Almost everything I hear about Firaxis' re-boot of X-COM warms my geeky heart, but there's no question that the independently developed Xenonauts is even more of a "spiritual successor" to the original Enemy Unknown.

I agree. The reboot will be shit because of mainstream console audiences. Not much interest in that. Go xenonauts.

Dude, you already made that thread. Get that PC elitist stick out of your ass and maybe accept that of all developers, Firaxis is perhaps the most capable of making a X-COM reboot that works in a modern context and isn't just a straight imitation the way Xenonauts seems to be (Still totally put money towards it though).

@Egge: Do you feel like a venture capitalist with the way you have spent your money here? I've backed my share (and by that I mean Wasteland 2, Banner Saga, FTL and now Xenonauts) of projects, but only at the minimum level because I am both cynical and poor.

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#14 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

@MrBoBo: Maybe the 2K Marin first-person shooter reboot will be "shit", but I really don't think the Firaxis strategy reboot will be bad. Xenonauts is still awesome, of course.

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#15 Posted by artgarcrunkle (970 posts) -

I was gonna clown on you until I saw what you donated to Wasteland 2.

#16 Posted by ch3burashka (5126 posts) -

I think I spent 50 bucks on the Pokemon Symphony, and I still feel bad about that. All my other donations haven't exceeded 15 bucks.

#17 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

@Seastalk: Again, $700 is actually not that much money compared to what some people have spent on Kickstarter. If you add them all together there are thousands of backers on the $250-500 tiers for most Kickstarters game projects, and let's not forget the really crazy outliers such as $1,000 for the honor of getting killed in Carmageddon or $5,000 for "consulting with an art director" for Shadowrun. But I guess most Giant Bomb users are probably still in school so $anything is going to sound like a lot of money to them...

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#18 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: A "venture capitalist" is an investor of some form so that wouldn't fit in this context, but as mentioned above there's a bit of self-interest involved since the low $15 donations could work out in my favor if the games in question are more expensive than that on release (assuming that they do get released, of course).

By and large, I see most of my donations as acts of pure ideological conviction (the proper analogy would be donating to a political campaign), since these are the kind of titles I believe the video game industry as a whole would do well to produce more of. To some extent Republique is the exception in that there was a more emotional "root for the underdog" element involved (the campaign was struggling for a long while and Ryan Payton and co. seemed like nice people with a really intriguing concept etc.). Overall the desire to make a strong statement about modern game development was definitely the primary motivation, though; which to some extent makes it less relevant whether all of the games actually turn out to be any good or even get released at all. Getting the message out to publishers about what kind of games we as fans are willing to collectively spend millions of dollars on - or at least pay a hefty premium for - is what truly matters in the end. If nothing else, it might help rejuvenate the middle-tier "AA" game, which is what a lot of my favorite niche genres would benefit from.

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#19 Posted by Seastalk (123 posts) -

Last time I checked I finished High School a number of years ago. Unfortunately being sick a lot I don't have the finances available to spend my money without thought. It is quite silly of you to assume that I and/or other people do not spend money/think that $700 is a lot of money (which it is) because we are children.

Also I would like to say that $700 in anyone's language is a lot of money, unless your income exceeds $250,000 annually.

#20 Posted by TruthTellah (9362 posts) -

Nice list of projects!

If you're looking for something a little different, I've been really impressed by this Kickstarter for something called ClassRealm. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1367241051/classrealm It actually seems to be something pretty cool for possibly helping some teachers encourage their kids to participate.

#21 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

@Seastalk: You're quite right that $700 is a lot of money for most people, but as a direct response to your broad generalized statements about me as a person (being "crazy" and spending money "without thought" etc.) I do think it's useful to make a direct comparison to the genuinely insane sums being spent by plenty of other people on various game-related Kickstarter projects. I certainly qualify for the "big spender" category as far as KS projects go - after all, the majority of donors pledge the minimum amount $15-20 - but I'm still a pretty minor player in the grand scheme of things.

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#22 Posted by Brodehouse (10104 posts) -

Double Fine Adventure - 115
Wasteland 2 - 115
Shadowrun Returns - 190
Republique - 135
Banner Saga - 50
The Dead Linger - 25
Valdis Story: Abyssal City - 15
Legends of Eisenwald - 15
FTL - 10
Aura Tactics - 5

675 for me. You've defeated me.

#23 Edited by envane (1164 posts) -

im lookin at $3000+ in steam games , uuuuhg

#24 Posted by mosdl (3229 posts) -

@Egge said:

Two Guys SpaceVenture by the creators of Space Quest (Pledged: $15)

I know embarrassingly little about Space Quest, but apparently the games were very funny. Worth $15 for a spiritual successor? Only time will tell, but this one will probably get funded on the strength of its (implied) brand...

My largest funding on Kickstarter is for that game, Space Quest has a special place in my heart.

#25 Posted by odajay (3 posts) -

This is great! I really respect such commitment from an individual to fund projects, either it is on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or even Kiva.

#26 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said:

@MrBoBo Firaxis is perhaps the most capable of making a X-COM reboot that works in a modern context and isn't just a straight imitation the way Xenonauts seems to be (Still totally put money towards it though).

"Modern context" and "Contemporary design", Same old tired words that in truth mean "typical and standard." There's no elitism in having a functioning brain that makes the obvious observation of the quality and depth of games decreasing because of the cockblock that is the consoles, the ancient hardware that limit multiplayer player counts and proper memory usage, and the limited and barely competent input device that needs artificial aim assistance as well as limited tasks because of the limited amount of buttons. 
 
After playing Human Revolution for 33 hours, and comparing it to all the shitty fake-feeling cinematics-heavy shovelware we've been fed in the last few years, I'll take an "imitation" over a "modernized" game anytime, at least in the past there was truly innovative design to be imitated, much more than what modern games provide.  
#27 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11930 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic: But even Human Revolution was clearly updated to fit with modern standards in between all the parts meant to evoke the original Deus Ex. I'm just saying that, from a raw "This is stuff I am interested in" perspective, the idea of someone trying to take XCOM and evoke that kind of gameplay without just trying to make UFO Defense again (which is basically what Xenonauts is, they've said as much) is something that I am very interested in seeing. It could be terrible, absolutely, but Firaxis proved they could streamline Civilization without ruining it, so why couldn't they do the same for XCOM? They already have their First Person Shooter, so why would they need to make the turn based strategy dumb as a brick?

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