kickstarter-in-video-games

The Kickstarter video game roundup

So in the last 6 months Kickstarter’s popularity has skyrocketed and made it a household name, (well in my house anyway). It has done some very tantalizing things in the video games world which is of note. Here is a quick roundup of some of the more interesting projects that are now able to get off the ground due to crowd sourcing.

Let’s start with a big hitter

Oculus Rift
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game?ref=live

So remember when tomorrows world were predicting that we would have a totally immersive 3D gaming systems like Lawn Mower Man (sans the cool telepathic minds powers and crazy haircut). I got excited, I was a kid and I really wanted to experience immersive 3D.

Well the closest I got was a uncomfortable headset and a blocky version of WWII biplane fighter. It was at Chessington World of Adventures it cost £5 for 3 mins (in the 90’s!) and to me it was amazing. Even if the screws from the massive headset did leave marks on my scalp. I was hooked and ready for a bit of 3D, then nothing. For a decade! It just petered out. I was a little disheartened sure but I thought someone would pick up the tech and run with.

Then 3D films and Games came along, sweet I said. Until I saw what they meant by “3D”. You would have to wear a small pair of glasses that gave you a Stereoscopic image.  The Stereoscopic effect stops working as soon as anything hits the edge of the screen. All of a sudden I felt like the know it all in the class, raising his hand once again guaranteeing him a kicking later. “But this isn’t 3D, its a steroscop”……thwwwwaaaaak shut it Pepper!

Now I have my hopes up for third time but this time if it doesn’t pan out at least there’s the crowd sourcing part of it to make me feel warm and tingly. The Oculus Rift is touting some impressive features that if they pull off will be a huge step towards full 3D immersion. One thing that stands out to me is the field of view.

A 110° field of view would help the immersion factor immensely, plus this coupled with some decent accelerometers could make it a decent bit of kit. Additionally the fact if looks like something out of Ghost in the Shell isn’t hurting its chances with me either. There are lots of other technical snippets to get excited about and you can view its official kickstarter page.

And by the way, this was funded in a day! And people are still adding to the total, I may even chip in I mean what’s ten bucks now to ensure I will be floating around in a 3D world in the next couple of years. And if it doesn’t work sod it i’m down a tenner which I may have spent on booze anyway.

Well new hardware is cool but there is also a retro part of my gamer side that was made happy by Kickstarter, classic games!

Retro Games make a comeback!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/texmurphy/tex-murphy-project-fedora?ref=live
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leisuresuitlarry/make-leisure-suit-larry-come-again?ref=live
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stainlessgames/carmageddon-reincarnation

Carmageddon was a huge deal to me as a kid, a stupidly fun game that never took itself too seriously, plenty of gore and a rock & roll soundtrack. It was perfect for its time and generated a huge fan base. Then as these stories normally go, management changed people were replaced and all of a sudden it sucked ass.

Now the original creators of the game brought it back from its bloody death bed through appealing to the right people, its fans. As there is already a article about this here:(link to article) I won’t natter on too much but to say the little boy gamer inside me was a little happier that day.

Then something I wasn’t expecting happened, Leisure Suit Larry kickstarter Funded, then a new Under a killing moon funded, a new space quest funded. WTF!

These games where classics which died well before their time in my eyes and now they’re making a comeback. Not with a list of provisos produced by its corporate backer but by the well wishes and small amounts donated by its fans. All their fans ask is that these startups stick to their guns and make the game they want because their fanbase trusts them. Wow, how is that not brilliant?

Lastly but by no means least its time to upset the console market. So Microsoft won this recent round of the console wars, sony lost everyones trust and Nintendo made its money by marketing to kids and the elderly. The next round will have a additional challenger.

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

So an android based console, that supports onlive, thats open source and allows users to root the console without voiding the warranty. This truly is a game console for gamers and developers.

Okay its not going to compete with the next generation of consoles in terms of graphics or stunning breakthroughs in raw processing power. But it will do one thing better than the other consoles, be entirely devoted to and answerable to its users. It couldn’t of even come about without the say so of its potential customers.

It has a lot of things going for it and a lot of people are excited, the companies openness encourages people to hack it open it up and share what you find. Is that not a huge step away from the normal business practice of a game console makers?

Plus Google Play already has a library of competitively priced and exciting new game properties. It’s hard not to see a downside but it still has to be actually made. However with the minimum amount needed set at $950,000 and its pledge amount at the time of writing is well over $6 million. I think its got a pretty secure future.

All in all kickstarter has created a lot of new hope in the video games world. It seems to be a breath of fresh air in already innovative and very competitive market. This may be a video game world changer or it may remain as a small yet productive funding powerhouse. We will have to wait and see the what the first wave of these publicly funded projects bring to the world but I at least have high hopes.