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Kickstarter Katchup - 30th June 2012

Throw money at screen

As I stare down the epic list of Kickstarted and Indiegogoed PC projects, my tired eyes cry out, "sleep John, it's Saturday morning." But then my fingers call back, "No eyes! That is weakness. And we can show no weakness in the face of trying to think of a word other than 'goal' or 'target' for every entry." "But you just typed 'goat' instead of 'goal'," retort my eyes. But even this can't stop me.

Usual rules. Our mentioning a game here doesn't mean we endorse giving it your money - it's all on you. And if there's a game you'd like to see mentioned, email me via my name above - but this of course doesn't guarantee that a project will be mentioned. And a new one, below.

Indiegogo has an option for "Flexible Funding" - this means that whatever is raised goes to the developer at the end of the time. We're concerned about this. There's a reason Kickstarter has their rule in place. If a project thinks it needs $50,000 to be viable, and only $3,000 is pledged, then clearly that money wouldn't successfully fund that which people had donated to. It's there to protect donators from throwing their money into a hole. I've yet to decide whether to just not feature flexibly funded campaigns, so they're still in this week. But I'll warn you each time.

The Winners

Super Retro Squad - Exploding Rabbit

As often seems to be the case, we're only spotting winners after they've already won, but of course no one really wants to make the amount they say. They want to make loads more. And Super Retro Squad already has made more than twice the $10,000 it asked for. You may remember Super Mario Bros. Crossover - a very successful mashing up of all of Nintendo's classic platforming games. Of course, if creator Jay Pavlina (apparently the child of Jason Schwartzman and Stephen Wright) tried to sell them, he'd be sued so hard he'd wake up in the past. So instead the team is making Super Retro Squad - essentially the same idea, but with all the IPs switched out for their own creations. In the loosest possible way. For instance, this game stars Manni and Lanzo, two German miners, from the Asparagus Kingdom. They've put up stretch goals up to $50,000, with 19 days to reach it.

Haunts: The Manse Macabre - Rick Dakan

I'm not sure from where the push came, but finally the world's slowest moving Kickstarter has accelerated right past its goal. Originally asking for $25,000, about four hundred million years ago, he's now exceeded that, with just under a week left. So it looks like ghostie/human multiplayer is going to be a thing.

Quest For Infamy - Infamous Quests

Another success story just to cross our paths is a project from Infamous Quests (nee Infamous Adventures), they behind fan remakes of other classic Sierra games. This time they're looking to bring Quest For Glory back to life, and have are almost double their original target of $25,000. They're stretching up to $80,000, with mobile platforms, a larger game, and translations added along the way.

The Losers

None to mention this week, but I fear this will be a busy section over the next couple of columns.

The Players

CLANG - Subutai Corporation

With 9 days left, what at first looked like a sure thing is beginning to get a bit shaky. Despite almost immediately raising half of its massive half million aim, it then significantly slowed down. I mean - that's relative to the scale - in the last two weeks they've raised enough to fully fund half the games in this list added together. But with $368,693 raised, that's an absolutely massive amount of money to not get if they can't top it up to $500k in just over a week. Saying that, they raised over $60k since last Saturday, and the really only need to double it-and-a-bit-more, which is perfectly doable in the final run of a campaign. And with the videos they've been releasing, they should certainly be getting attention - but can they top a cameo by Gabe Newell in the final week?

OuterEdge - WAK Design

The voxel oddity I think deserves a bit more attention than it's received so far. My gut feeling is that a big group of RPS readers would be into this Minecraft-meets-Killing Floor. But they've made less than five hundred dollars in the last week, putting them just a tenth of the way to their $20k target.

Kenshi - Chris Hunt

Pretty much certainly going to fall very short, they've raised a fraction over $2,000, when they were hoping for $40k. With two days left, it's going to take a sudden change in interest for this free roaming RPG to see all its cash. Concerningly, this is using Indiegogo's questionable "Flexible Funding", meaning it'll get whatever's pledged anyway. Although he doesn't appear to need it, explaining in the description that this is about raising awareness more than money, since alpha purchases have him covered. Then at the same time, he's not bothered updating the campaign for well over a week, during its final run, and when a developer doesn't seem to take any interest in his project, it's hardly a surprise when gamers don't either.

Retrovirus - Cadenza Studios

Also looking troublingly like it's going to move up one section is this splendid-looking six-axis shooter. Aiming for $75k, the developers with pedigree really should have raised more than the $18k they're on. In a big push with less than a week left, there's now an alpha of the game you can download for free - just do that please.

Coma: A Mind Adventure - Wibbly Wobbly Bumplops Studio

Admittedly I've made up the name of the developers here, since THEY DON'T BLOODY SAY IT on their Indiegogo. They'll probably get sued into space by Explosions In The Sky for nicking the music on their trailer, but gosh it looks interesting. This is a group best known for their Left 4 Dead campaigns, who are looking to make something pretty damned interesting. You play someone in a coma after an accident, in a world created based on the abstracted feelings of the character. You will apparently solve puzzles by changing the time of day and the weather, which is a new one on me. Definitely check out the video below. But be warned, despite asking for only $7,400 (with $1,400 raised so far, 17 days left) this is flexibly funded. They explain that they intend to develop flexibly as well, doing as much for the game as they can depending on how much they receive. But that pretty much defines the issue. If I'm donating, I want to know what I'm donating to. I want to donate to a game that achieves their main aims, not find my money has gone to something that can only get halfway there.

Watch on YouTube

Z. - Downward Viral

The CCG-themed zombie turn-based game has a fortnight left to raise the other two thirds of its $100k goal. An endorsement from Schafer and Gilbert garnered it some attention, and they've recently added fighting game champion Justin Wong as a consultant on the game.

Cold Fusion - Dustin Gleaves

Despite getting halfway there, Gleaves' goal isn't looking too likely to be reached in the next two days. A slightly controversial project that showed amazing concept art, then a rather generic looking game environment, and a woeful lack of updates (nothing at all in its final week, for goodness sakes), means things don't seem promising.

Ground Branch - BlackFoot Studios

Gosh, this is a pessimistic week. But again, I really can't see how the former Red Storm developer's goal to rebirth the tactical FPS can make it. With less than $100,000 raised of an enormous $425,000 desire, and less than a week on the clock, it's going to be quite a twist to see this succeed. And I'm dead surprised. With the talent on board, and the enormously popular and much ignored genre, I really thought this one was a dead cert. I wonder if this is a victim of Kickstarter fatigue and empty wallets - perhaps if it had waited a couple of months, or even managed to exist a month earlier, it would have caught the attention and money you'd imagine it could have seen.

Watch on YouTube

Exodus Wars: Fractured Empires - Membraine Studios

This is a weird stall. Asking for $35,000, for a promising looking turn-based strategy, in the last week it's picked up only six hundred bucks. I hope it wasn't anything to do with my getting their studio's name wrong last week. (Which reminds me - small tip - if you're using Indiegogo, for goodness sakes put your developer name in the description at the top.) There are still three weeks left, and they're using IGG's "Flexible Funding" option, which means they get whatever they raise.

Alpha Colony: A Tribute To M.U.L.E.

As mentioned here before, half a million was a ridiculous amount of money to ask for, and with just under two weeks left, the decent $50k it's raised doesn't look at all likely to be received. A more modest relaunch of this project, which looks like a huge amount of care and effort has already go in, would seem a sensible direction.

Rapid Assault - Cornered Rat Software

A new game this week, Rapid Assault has strong visual vibes of early Call Of Duty and Medal Of Honour games, and they say plays like ARMA or Red Orchestra - a PvP FPS multiplayer. They're looking for a hefty $100k, which seems to be aimed at polish on a pretty much completed game, and future DLC packs. Currently they're just on $6,000, but there are three weeks to go.

Jack Houston And The Necronauts - Warbird Games

Also new this week is Jack Houston And The Necronauts, a sci-fi point and click adventure that's already gathered a big chunk of its funding. Asking for a specific $56,000, they're already exactly halfway this Saturday morning. And that's despite a video that doesn't bloody start for a minute and thirty. You'd think a filmmaker would also get his audio levels right. But sigh, eh! He makes some fairly bold claims, comparing the writing to Edgar Rice Burroughs, and classic pulp science fiction. Lots of confidence here, and another 40 days to make the second half of its cash. But the reason this grabs my interest is the promise to make the world out of miniatures, and the characters through stop motion - that could be pretty damned special.

Paper Sorcerer - UltraRunawayGames

The turn-based RPG with the really engaging style has revealed a new in-game video. They're only asking for $5,000, which after KS and Amazon fees, tax, etc, I think nets them about 43 cents. But still there's over a week left and $4,000 already raised - perhaps it'll get a bit more than its very low asking price. But please, please change that awful, awful font.

Watch on YouTube

HeXit - Full Throttle Games

The old-school Myst-like pre-rendered adventure didn't get too well received by RPS commenters last week, with its blow-up-doll main character. I think there's more to this one than that, but yes, it's not exactly a pioneer of twenty-first century gaming women. There are ten days left to reach their modest $75,000 goal. So far they've made just under $17k, just a two grand increase on last week.

Skyjacker - Digitilus

Three weeks left on the clock for this second try at making $200,000. They've done better than last time, but things really do seem to have stalled. A decent $7k was made in the last week, but with a bit more attention being brought to what looks like a really impressive space sim, it's slower than I'd have expected. Still, there's a lot of time left. We took a closer look here. And there's a demo here. The latest fleet video is pretty pretty:

Watch on YouTube

And Something Else

Let's Give Karen A Vacation

This is a sad story that gets happy. You may well have heard about this via the press attention a week ago, but the story got even better since. An older lady, US school bus monitor Karen Klein, was filmed being horribly bullied by a bunch of dumbass brats, and the video found its way to the internet. After going a touch viral, a guy called Max Siorov had the smart idea to start an Indiegogo to raise some money to give this lady a holiday. What a brilliant idea. They probably weren't anticipating that they'd be giving someone whose annual salary is $15,506 at the very least over three quarters of a million dollars. With three weeks left of a flexibly funded $5,000 target, the total currently sits at $671,441. I believe IGG only takes 4%, which means she's already got $655,000, and apparently doesn't have to pay tax on them! This has propelled her to some impressive fame in the US, appearing on the Today show this week, as well as Inside Edition, and the Al Sharpton Show. Clearly Mrs Klein's life is forever changed. But rather brilliantly, so is Max's, who now seems to be focusing on anti-bullying campaigning for the future.

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