After logging into Kickstarter one morning this month to see whether there were any new campaigns worth checking out, I received a notification letting me know that the platform was ten years old. That’s a decade of crowdfunding since 28 April 2009, bringing communities together to help bring creators’ dreams to life and hopefully giving them the chance to get their hands on some amazing products.
I’ve now backed 36 projects since February 2013 so that’s an average of one every other month. Although the quantity and quality of video game campaigns has declined recently, I still visit the website occasionally to see what’s happening; and I enjoy being able to show my support for unique titles which are a little different from the norm, although there’s obvious no guarantee there’ll ever be made. In celebration of all things Kickstarter, here are ten campaigns I’ve pledged to over the past six years.
First project backed
Shortly after starting to blog in February 2013, I made my first pledge on the platform and backed Lucky Pause’s campaign for Homesick. It was the mention of some of my favourite classic titles in the promotional video that drew my attention and I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this ‘puzzle exploration mystery game’. And for the part we played, my other-half and I did; but unfortunately we got stuck after three hours or so and ended up putting the title to one side. I really should get back to it one day and finish it off.
Best game backed
I’ve been a fan of The Longest Journey for a very long time and jumped at the chance to support Red Thread Games’ campaign for Dreamfall Chapters shortly after the project above. But I still haven’t finished the title despite playing for 23 hours! The reason for this is slightly strange: I just can’t bring myself to complete the final instalment of the series because once I do so, it will all be over. Ragnar Tørnquist said in a forum post that he didn’t think a further sequel would happen for ‘many, many reasons’ so this may sadly be the last we see of Zoë Castillo.
Most controversial game backed
Elementary, My Dear Holmes! was a release being made by Victory Square Games in August 2013. The developer had signed up to Ouya’s Free the Games Fund so if their Kickstarter campaign reached a minimum of $50,000, the company would match the funds. Unfortunately a number of dodgy high-value donations were received from backers who were new to the platform and these resulted in accusations that head Sam Chandola or family members had made these pledges themselves. The project was then suspended admit the controversy.
Worst game backed
I backed the campaign for Pandora: Purge of Pride in May 2013 because I kind of felt a little sorry for developer High Class Kitsch. They were young, inexperienced and looked like they needed all the help they could get. But this game was one of the worst I’ve ever played: it was full of bugs, the story was incredibly flimsy with very little character development, and it just looked awful. The only thing the title had going for it really was the fact it had been made by a studio whose logo was a cat wearing a top-hat and monocle.
The campaign that meant the most
The Tomb Raider Suite by Nathan McCree was a celebration of the music of Tomb Raider and I backed the campaign because it brought back a special memory. My brother played the original game extensively and The Tomb Raider Theme could continuously be heard throughout our house – so it’s therefore no wonder I decided to use it to accompany my GCSE Dance examination piece. After receiving the backers rewards, Pete and I decided to use the recording as the music to which we signed our wedding vows in January.
The campaign with the best physical reward
Who wouldn’t want to get their hands on a physical Linking Book? This was the opportunity offered by Cyan Worlds with their campaign for the Myst 25th Anniversary Collection in April 2018. The book is awesome, and it was great to get my hands on the whole collection of games too as this inspired a complete playthrough on Twitch. Well, I say ‘complete’, but a rogue Bahro unfortunately caused Myst V: End of Ages to crash at almost six hours in and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to restart the game from the beginning.
A project backed that’s unrelated to video games
As if often the case with YouTube, one day I was idly passing the time by flicking through videos and came across a performance of Sensitive Badass by The Doubleclicks. This was an excellent song about being strong, fierce and honest: “Don’t tell me to calm down, don’t tell me it will pass, I’m not just sensitive, I am a badass.” It was with some pleasure that I then discovered the Kickstarter campaign for a related pin and made my pledge in June 2018. I’m still wearing it on my denim jacket today.
The unsuccessful campaign I’m most disappointed about
The Black Glove sounded as though it would be amazing: an eerie, surrealistic first-person game by a team of developers who helped make BioShock and BioShock Infinite. Unfortunately however, Day For Night Games’ campaign totally felt short of its target in October 2014. Some people say that it’s because readers couldn’t understand what the title was about from the information provided on the page but for me, it just made it all the more intriguing. The developer has since said their idea is shelved so it might not be a game we ever get to play.
Game most likely never to be made
LAST LIFE by Sam Farmer was a Kickstarter campaign which caught my eye immediately, as it was a sci-fi noir adventure was inspired by modern point-and-clicks such as Kentucky Route Zero. I made my pledge in April 2014, received updates that decreased in frequency until August 2017… and then nothing until Farmer announced his new game in September 2018. Take a look at this post for the full story, but to sum it up: the developer seems to have disappeared along with $103,058 of funds received from thousands of backers.
Latest game backed
I decided to back Twinspell Studio’s campaign for Descend recently because the idea of exploring a giant ruined structure, with different floors that have their own seasons, flora and fauna, is immensely intriguing. Nobody has seen the bottom floor but many of the characters in the game believe that whatever is down there could be the key to several mysteries that bewilder the inhabitants of Hemonnet. Unfortunately the project wasn’t successful and only achieved around 50% of its target, but hopefully this doesn’t mean the end.
As mentioned at the start of this post, the quality of campaigns on Kickstarter has been gradually declining and Jessica Saunders of Salix Games even said recently that it was ‘dead for video games’. I therefore have my doubts about whether I’ll be writing a similar post for the platforms 20th birthday. But hey: the past decade has been fun and I’m glad I’ve been able to support indie developers through crowdfunding, so that’s worth celebrating.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.