Kickstarter.com is a website that allows people to pitch ideas, set a financial goal, and ask people like you and me for pledges. Traditionally, users offer funders things in exchange for their money. For $x, you’ll get this. For $2x, you’ll get this and that. For $5x, you’ll get this, that, and the kitchen sink. For $100x, I’ll hand deliver all those things to your house and bake you a cake to boot.
The first successful Kickstarter fundraiser I personally saw was Jason Scott’s. Jason Scott said “$25k will keep me going for at least 3-4 months, and probably longer. That’s full-time, constant work on saving computer history, speaking, and presenting.” 342 people thought this sounded like a good idea, and $26,658 later, the Jason Scott Sabbatical had officially been funded. Sure, 7 people pledged $750, but 63 people pledged $50 and 127 people pledged $25. A lot of little payments can add up.
On November 1st, Andrew “Zarf” Plotkin launched his own Kickstarter fundraiser. Plotkin is one of the cornerstones of modern Interactive Fiction (Text Adventures), and said that, should he raise $8,000 in 35 days, he will quit his day job and work on multiple IF projects, full time. The biggest of these is Hadean Lands, Plotkin’s latest game, but that’s not all. Plotkin plans on releasing the game for iOS. Not only will he develop the framework, but he’ll release it as open source. Plotkin has his hands in several other web-based interpreter projects as well, which he has promised updates for.
Not to spoil the ending, but Plotkin received $8,000 worth of pledges on the first day. And that’s not all. Three days into the pitch, and the project has been 208% funded. And people keep pledging.
While I think this says something about Mr. Plotkin, I think it says more about the current state of Interactive Fiction. It seems like people are ready to give text-based games another chance.
I can’t wait.