Kickstarter Kompilation: May 2020 edition
Support struggling arcades worldwide!
Greetings, Retronauts readers. I realize that this monthly collection of gaming-related crowdfunding campaigns must feel extra frivolous in a world when so many people are out of work or struggling to make ends meet. However, these campaigns all seek to keep businesses afloat and dreams alive during this ongoing global pandemic, so I felt the tradition should continue; please, don't put yourself at risk for these causes, only give if you have funds to spare. Our usual disclaimer still applies: we have no insider information or financial interest in any of these projects, and no one at Retronauts has been compensated for including anything on this page.
For starters, here is a list of links to support video game arcades and related businesses around the world compiled by Retronauts contributor GSK. Unlike Kickstarter, most of these campaigns have no set goal or deadline, they're just open calls for financial assistance during this period of hardship.
And now back to our regular feature: video game kickstarters!
Terra Nova: Legend of the Runes
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Campaign ends: May 7
Estimated delivery time: January 2021
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $15 US
Terra Nova, a 2D RPG "inspired by 8 & 16-bit entries of the Final Fantasy series, but honestly all of the great RPG's of the 80's, 90's, and beyond" started out as a "solo task" but has since blossomed into a larger project yet still one that is overseen by a small team. In a fun twist, all the character sprites can be edited, and the player can choose between an 8-bit or a 16-bit aesthetic at any time.
Sword of the Necromancer
Platform: Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Campaign ends: May 8
Estimated delivery time: November 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: €14 (about $16 US)
Sword of the Necromancer is a Rogue-like with dungeon-crawling action inspired by Enter the Dungeon, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Azure Dreams, the latter being the reason for a mechanic wherein defeated foes can be used to aid the hero. Players will also be able to collect in-game perks from IR codes, either via scanning physical cards or by entering them manually.
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Campaign ends May 9
Estimated delivery time: July 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: CA$ 15 (about $11 US)
In Commander '85, the lead character is celebrating his birthday with a "Commander 85" home computer. So when the player isn't solving the "nostalgic sci-fi thriller and hacker simulator" that is Commander '85, they can enjoy a variety of games on their 80's computer, watch movies in their VCR, listen to the radio, and read old comic books - all in the name of "immersing yourself in the life of Polish immigrants in 1980’s America." I'm only partly Polish and that sounds like my version of 1985!
Campaign ends: May 10
Estimated delivery time: April 2022
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $0 US
"I'm raising funds to allow me to continue working on Witches Brew by being able to afford a new computer" is the first sentence of this Kickstarter campaign, a frankness I can appreciate. The game in question will be a "lofi dungeon crawler played from the first person including magic, a hub world, and multiple playstyles" which makes it sound like a long lost King's Field clone. Witches Brew will be released for free when it is finished, hence the "$0" figure above: everyone can play the game regardless of contribution, but if no one contributes, it may never exist.
Platform: Steam, "possibly other storefronts"
Campaign ends: May 23
Estimated delivery time: June 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $2 US
I am not good with phone calls as my past work as an internet tech support flunkie can attest to. 911 Dispatcher sounds like my personal nightmare: handling emergency calls and determining which callers need help and which are probably just drunk. Making the wrong choice means someone in dire need of assistance might not get it! The game will allegedly feature "at least ten drawn out and serious calls with difficult decisions and consequences, and at least twenty shorter and more lighthearted ones." Hear me out: what if they were all lighthearted?
Only If I Remember
Platform: Itch.io, Steam
Campaign ends: May 24
Estimated delivery time: August 2020
Minimum pledge to receive the game: $10 US
Only If I Remember began life at a game jam but now looks to be a full-size tear-jerker where the player must decide which aspects of an elderly man's life he can remember and which he can let go as he succumbs to Alzheimer's disease. As the player chooses how to manage his fading recollections, his home will shift to reflect their decisions, emptying certain rooms in favor of others based on their choices. Grim, but the developers want to illuminate "the impact Alzheimer's disease can have."
Boss Fight Books: Season 5
Platform: books (digital and physical)
Campaign ends: May 29
Estimated delivery time: December 2020
Minimum pledge to receive one book: $5 US (digital only)
We've profiled Boss Fight Books before so I imagine most Retronauts readers are familiar with the niche publisher who focuses on tomes about single video games. Frequent Retronauts podcast guest Chris Kohler wrote one about Final Fantasy V! In this campaign, Boss Fight Books is launching five new books about Red Dead Redemption, Resident Evil, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Silent Hill 2, and Final Fantasy VI. Backers looking for just one book can pledge $5, but "season subscription" pledges (which start at $25) include all five books plus bonuses that include Good Nintentions by Retronauts' own Jeremy Parish! That's a lot of Retronauts-adjacent material in one link.