I’m A Backer.

I hate to say it, but I feel like Yakov Smirnoff. Remember that hack of a comedian (who has apparently been sequestered to Branson Missourri for the good of the rest of the country) who’s ad hoc tagline was “Only in America!” Well, only in the internet could you have something like Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a “crowd funding” website, which provides a fundraising platform for various creative projects, be they films, music, comics, video games — or other projects that have yet to be thought of. The importance of such a platform is two-fold, not only do the creative developers receive funding for their projects, but those funding actively choose what projects get funded.

Mind you, Kickstarter (the website) does not guarantee that developers will deliver on their projects or even use the money on the projects. The whole thing isn’t willy-nilly, however — leaders on developing projects are warned that they could be liable for legal damages if their projects are not delivered.

I see the platform as a major breakthrough for gaming, mostly — seeing as how aided by such a platform smaller developers (those without the backing of major publishing companies) can get their projects off the ground by public support alone. Case in point: Shadowrun Returns. For the unwashed, Shadowrun was originally was a pen-and-paper RPG (role-playing game) that was recreated in a series of cross-platform videogames in the early to mid 90’s — my favorite being the version developed for the Sega Genesis (which basically took over all my free time for nearly a year). Later versions of the game weren’t as successful — the last being a seriously foreshortened “action RPG hybrid” that appealed to noone.

But wait, here’s Shadowrun creator Jordan Weisman with an idea for a new game — more faithful to my beloved Sega Genesis version — for PCs and tablet PCs. And true to the old-skool vibe of the project, the developers even promise to release the level editor they use for the game, so players can create their own Shadowrun stories. What was the Kickstarter response? The project made it’s funding goal in 24 hours:

Needless to say, Kickstarter is in many ways showing the true power of the internet — the power of the people. It could even mean a turning point in how media and other projects are developed, in a way that not only ensures their success, but their audience, as well. I’m sure this sort of thing will lead to online petitions for projects, with promises for funding once the developers choose to accept the challenge. Folks will finally be able to put their monies where their mouths are, and developers will be listening.


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