Indie Games and Kickstarter: How You Can Help Make Great Games


Posted August 2, 2011 - By Rob Manuel

Behind nearly every great indie game is a story of sacrifice. Long hours and little rewards are practically the mantra of indie developers. Computers don’t come cheap – neither does advertisement, coding, artists, and Starbucks isn’t exactly handing out free cups of coffee. Imagine working for months on a project as your funds slowly dwindle to next to nothing as you keep hoping to hit the magical number of games that you need to sell just to break even. Now imagine going into debt for your project. It’s the fear that strikes the heart of every game maker and perhaps the one issue that keeps many great minds from entering the field.

Kickstarter might not be the magic bullet to this problem, but it’s another tool in the box for developers looking to garner a little cash (and interest) before diving into a project. The website combines some rather ingenious ideas while keeping hands off of the process between developer and donor. Each page comes with a short video or pictures of the project along with a description of where the money goes once you hit send. There’s a goal and a time limit that goes with each of the projects. Most Kickstarter projects last for only a couple of weeks instead of lingering in cyberspace. You can donate past the goal but all projects must meet their goals in order for money to exchange hands.

If they don’t reach the goal, you don’t have to pay. Not reaching a set goal helps developers by giving them a chance to rework their proposal or maybe re-tweak their game. This is their audience after all.

Another clever twist is getting something for certain dollar amounts. One dollar might get you a hearty thanks, but five dollars might get you a cool piece of art. Most developers will give you a copy of the game if you throw down enough green. Let’s face it, we’re all greedy bastards and seeing something attached to those dollar signs gives you a better reason to give. Likewise, attaching gifts to certain levels of donation often gives people an incentive to give more. You might be thinking about shelling over twelve bucks, but for a couple of extra dollars, you can get your hands on the beta. Higher dollar amounts even come with some rather interesting gifts such as personal artwork or something equally as unique. Kickstarter has not only made it easier for artists to find money, but also to help them find an audience that wants in.

But finding that audience can still be difficult. Here are five Kickstarter campaigns that could use a little love. Again, act quickly. They need to reach their goal or we will all miss out on some innovative titles. I’ve even thrown down a choice dollar amount along with what you get with your donation if you are one of those indecisive types.

In The Dark: Puzzles Past Bedtime

It’s about time someone made a game where you play as something that goes bump in the dark. In The Dark looks to be a rather interesting take on the platforming genre by turning light into your enemy. Puzzles work around the idea that you as a shadow cannot pass through lit areas and must find some other means to get by. This charming story comes with some intriguing designs.

Why You Should Donate At Least $30 – Not only do you get the game but you get some artwork to go along with your donation. Who knew that shadow beasts could be so adorable?


This iPhone RPG comes from the minds of two rather accomplished EA developers who have taken a chance to go out on their own. The game seems filled with great ideas and clean animation. To use the battering ram, you have to pull it back with your finger. The shield spell envelops you in a ball where you’ll need to tilt your iPhone in order to move around. This could be a very exciting game once they get it off the ground.

Why You Should Donate At Least $20 – You get the game, soundtrack, and your name in the credits. This could be the best Jackson you drop all month.

Blade Symphony

I’m a sucker for a good sword fight, and Blade Symphony looks like a great one. Like a chess match with steel, Blade Symphony pits your sword against the blazing steel of your opponent. Elegant, simplistic, beautiful; this could be fighting game for people who like to think with their heads and not with their thumbs.

Why You Should Donate At Least $30 – Again you get a copy of the game, the soundtrack, and a thanks at the end of the credits. But here you'll also get a special skin. Throw in another twenty bucks and you get a special sword as well. Could be worth it.

Indie Games and Kickstarter: How You Can Help Make Great Games

Bloody Castle

If you read my article a couple of weeks ago, then you should already know a little bit about their XBLIG Bloody Checkers. This would be that game but without the checkers portion of it. Already, this could be the Amnesia of the console but we won’t know unless there are enough open minds and wallets to make this happen. Bloody Checkers completely took me by surprise with its originality, humor, and even a good couple of scares. I expect great things from this team of developers.

Why You Should Donate At Least: $25 – You'll get the game and artwork, but I just want to see what these guys can really do with a little money.

Octodad 2

Octodad is at it once again to prove to the world that he’s a great father instead of an octopus in a suit. Starting out as a student project, this little title caught on quickly with its quirky mechanics and sense of humor. If playing this game doesn’t bring a smile to your face, then you might be dead. But then again, even the dead may enjoy missions focused on doing simple tasks while keeping up your human-like appearance. You honestly have no excuse not to like this game.

Why You should Donate At Least: $800 – To give me the Octodad suit. For another two hundred, you could get the oil painting of Octodad. That would be too much, so I’m just asking for the eight hundred dollars to get the suit. I might just have to start a Kickstarter project of my just to pay for this Kickstarter.

Where will you be spending your dough?

Indie Games and Kickstarter: How You Can Help Make Great Games


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