Kickstarter Reviews: Cats & Cabs, Family Matters and Dungeons & Dragons

Kickstarter has been very hit or miss for me. It’s a combination of that and financial issues that have kept me away from actually pledging to anything. Most (but not all) of the projects I’ve pledged have been very satisfactory. A few as of yet have not yet reached my hands to properly be critical of them either way. The ones that have been super successful though are the comics. In recent weeks/months, I’ve received three great comics with awesome Kickstarter only bonuses and I’d like to discuss them here now. Especially as they are also now available to all, minus those bonuses through online stores and other resources.

GALATICAT: I have not actually heard or seen a thing about Galaticat when I hit on their Kickstarter, but the art by Kasey Williams won me over right away. Then I went and read a few strips and even asked writer Gene Goldstein a few questions and was sold. While this was one of those projects like pretty much any project I’ve pledged since a few of my large ones early on, I knew I had to at least come in on the level for some original Kasey art.

The strip is about a cab driver in space. A reckless dangerous cab driver, who is also very good at his job, but also risks killing his passengers from his erratic behavior. After enough complaints, a reviewer is sent out to him and in the end the reviewer lets the cab driver keep his license, but insists on staying on board for future fares to make sure the driver doesn’t kill anyone… and hilarity and adventures ensue. I forgot to mention that the driver is a cat and that the reviewer is a duck right? The cat is anthropomorphic, the duck is not. This only adds to the awesomeness of the story.

The collection of the webcomic has tons of great extras as well including bonus stories not on the web, concept sketches and pin ups from Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos, Mare Odomo, Pia Guerrera and many more.

While you can’t get a copy with buttons, a crazy cool postcard or buttons that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a book if you don’t have one, it like the other two I’ll be writing about deserve to be in your library.

Here’s the store link for GALACTICAT.

GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS: Ryan Browne is quickly becoming a beloved cartoonist through his work over at IMAGE on books like The Manhattan Projects and Bedlam, but before that he was cranking out his awesome stuff including Monstro City in the backpages of HACK/SLASH. On top of that though he made the madcap Gods Hates Astronauts, a superhero science fiction romp of absolute psychoticness with owls, big heads, cowboys, hippos, nazis, boxers, um, stuff and other things and a other stuff and also Carl Winslow with ape arms. Yes, that Carl Winslow.

The Kickstarter he ran was to produce a Completely complete edition and it is one of the most gorgeous things ever. A Hardcover with vinyl on the cover and tons of never before printed material. While Ryan’s original story recolored and remastered is the star of the book, the little origin stories are totally worth the price tag alone. You got art from Tom Scioli (Opus-8, G0DLAND), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Hilary Barta, Jenny Frison (cover artist extradoniare) and more. On top of that there’s some crazy pin-ups from Ryan Stegman (superior Spider-Man), Zander Cannon (HECK), Ethan Nicolle (Axe-Cop), Mike Norton and of course more. The Kickstarter basic package came with amazing extras as well that if you missed out on it you’ll be “Mannnn…” such as a bookmark, sticker, print by Joe Quinones (currently of FF) and Maris Wicks and a poster by Paolo Rivera. For my copy I also ordered a copy of his special BLAST FURNACE collection as I didn’t have a copy.

While this amazing version is not available to purchase as I believe he truly tried to print to order and then brings whatever is left over to conventions there is a TPB coming out from IMAGE. Yes, this book is so great, so awesome and IMAGE loves Ryan that much that they’re publishing (or well at least dsitrbuting) the mass market paperback. So be on the look out for that.

EDIT:  For a short time the hardcover beauty is available again… RUN to the GHA etsy store and grab yourself one.

One extra note of how awesome Ryan is? I asked a small request for him to draw an Urkel for me because in the origin story for the ape armed Carl, Urkel was drawn by Greg+Fake and he indulged me.

PENULTIMATE QUEST: Three of my favorite comics are Northworld Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and the side story bonus book by Lars Brown. So when Brown opened a kickstarter for a collection of a new story I went and read the whole thing on the web and knew he’d create a book that would be another one of those books that collects stuff you’ve seen before but is filled with extras.

What is exactly going on in Penultimate Quest isn’t completely clear but it combines fantasy, drama, swords, sorcery and a bit of sci-fiction. Actually possibly a LOT of sci-fi, but explaining that would really be major spoilers. What’s so great about is how “cute” Lars art is. It’s highly cartoony and that’s the energy that really makes his work so much fun.

Truthfully the collection itself doesn’t really have much in bonus footage but it was worth it none the less to read it in the way the artist wants it to be read. Plus by Kickstarting I got special stickers. I also opted for Lars drawing option which he is still offering for all orders on the book, just no stickers, I think.

This is another book worth owning if you don’t already.

Here’s a list of books I Kickstarted that am still waiting for to eventually “review”:
TO BE OR NOT TO BE by Ryan North and MANY more
VERY NEAR MINT Vol. 3 by Justin Peterson
EARTHWARD by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara
MEATSPACE #2 and 3 by Josh Gorfain and Matt Furber
RUMPUS-ON-THE-RUN by Jess Smart Smiley

KICKSTARTER CATCHUP: The Legend of Ricky Thunder

I never thought of Kickstarter as a place to introduce me to awesome comics artists I had previously missed out on as they made their name on the internet mostly, but it did JUST that with Kyle Starks.

The Legend of Ricky Thunder, his oft-praised wrestling meets sci-fiction/fantasy comic is what called me to his project, but as I followed his twitter and read his other comics such as PUNCH CAPITAIN and THIS IS WILD DOG I just became a fan of him period. I became super doubly excited when his stretch goals allowed him to be a in a position to finally put some of that stuff in print. Sure Ricky Thunder is awesomesauce beyond awesomesauce, and Kyle better never give up doing wrestling inspired stuff (with his Chikara love I doubt he ever will).

It’s really hard to resist Ricky Thunder, even if you absolutely utterly hate wrestling. If you hate comics, then there’s no winning you over, but if you like comics then this is a comic with almost everything. Humor, fisticuffs, drama, Presidential ghosts, aliens, robots, electricity and even Chuck Norris. For those who missed the Kickstarter, SLG Publishing is currently handling distribution. Kyle will as well soon, but for now, why wait?

The Ricky Thunder Kickstarter had stretch goals as I mentioned. One of the first being a special short follow-up to Ricky Thunder which also had an awesome pledge level of being the wrestler that Ricky faced in this followup. This opportunity got snatched up quick, which made Kyle open a new special pledge of becoming a member of the Thunderverse as part of a special trading card series and receiving the original art for it. That level tier is what I ended up going for since I lost out on the higher one.

These tiers also allowed Kyle to go over the top in his pledging, although I have to think the endorsements from Chris Sims as well as Jill Thompson helped. Reaching those stretch goals as I stated above allowed to publish a collection of some other short stories which he titled I CAN KILL ANYTHING, a line taken from the Frankenstein story in the collection. Also included are two PUNCH CAPTAIN stories (one never seen online), and his much loved WILDDOG story. As far as I know this book is only available from Kyle at conventions for now, but he is now on that circuit so here’s hoping you can see him. I CAN KILL ANYTHING is the true gem of books and shows that while Kyle is one awesome wrestling artist, he can do pretty much anything he wants to and make it fun.

Here’s my persona in the Thunderverse… one “The FEAR” Rob Connor. Those who know me well will know The FEAR name goes back way to college. It has been used as a joke, a curse, a wrestling name, a band name, a performance artist name, a comic name, a fiction name, a prose, a play and more and now it’s a FAKE wrestler too, who looks exactly like me and has a name that is almost like mine.

KICKSTARTER CATCH-UP: THE WHOLE STORY WINTER 2013 COLLECTION

Ryan Estrada MORE then delivered on this project, especially in my personal case. Yet before we get to that I think I’ll just discuss the fan service he basically gave everyone who joined in on his Kickstarter.

Fully funded after one day he took a leap of faith with his backers and gave them his comic PLAGUED way before the campaign ended. Then as the campaign just kept getting larger he gave backers the second book, THE DOG’S SINS by KC Green/. The final two books at the main set up for this Winter collection were Ryan Andrews’ This Was Our Pact and a English translation of South Koran comic Definition of a Dead Body. Currently only the final hi res editions of both Ryan’s book are available at a name your price point.

They can found at the following links:
PLAGUED by Ryan Estrada
This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

Unfortunately for the world but as a good faith to Kickstarter and exclusives, the rest including the Beat the Average books including e-book editions of more work by the Winter collection folks as well as newly translated to English of Nam Dong Yoon are as of now unavailable. Most of KC’s stuff as well as Ryan Andrew’s can be bought in print form though.

Now I shall attest that I chose to come in at the $100 tier which provided me with a bunch of print material, art supplies, original art and more. What’s more amazing is that Ryan had thought with my package he had bundled up some Korean Comic Con stuff as well and he hadn’t… so he made a second package, bundled that up with some more original art . All together it comes out to an amazing set. I even have a instruction comic on how to read Korean so those mini comics will eventually be extra special.

 

Kickstarter Experience: A Look Back Through My Succesfully Pledged Projects

My Kickstarter experience began with backing my friend Fritz Donnelly’s film “I Like You”, it was then followed by throwing in with a graffiti/streetart gallery project. After those two it quited down although I seemed to star projects once and awhile and then one day I just stopped. That is until the project that actually brought so many people to Kickstarter in the first place brought me back and not just back, but falling into a trap of kickstarterolism. That project was Double Fine Adventure and it has steamrolled from there. While I have actually only backed 22 projects in my time I have kept track of, promoted, helped support, etc. many in that time. Here I thought I would look at those projects I actually supported to receive something in return through my pledge and see where they are in development. Kickstarter itself doesn’t have a section for backers to actually report on the success of project other than comments. Nothing to say that your pledge resulted in so and so, and while they in one hand say they aren’t a preorder site and don’t check the background on their project creators, they also have a system in place to help pledgers fight to get their money back if the project creator seems to never actually make any progress towards their project with the pledged money.

If I could do this for any project creator, especially creators who start new Kickstarter’s before fulfilling their previous Kickstarter or people who just keep recreating a project changing basically nothing trying to get funding as Kickstarter gets bigger I would. I can’t though, so at least this article will serve as a an experience of how projects can go and what they can lead to for my personal story.

I LIKE YOU – A Hi Christina Movie: I could write essays galore on my life with Fritz Donnely and Christina Clare-Ewald over the last 3-4 years since we became acquainted and then became close friends. Their film project was something that I had to do be a part of as soon as I could. They had an absolutely awesome countdown party at a loft, then after funding they had an excellent post funding party where they showed a very early cut of various scenes. Since ending I have actually helped out on a scene and according to Fritz I even have a speaking role. At that after party I mentioned I received a hand-made shirt from Christina. The film would be ready now, BUT Fritz and Christina went itno another major product… a child. That baby is named Keats and he is the most wonderful thing ever. For those who joined in on I LIKE YOU who don’t have a closeknit relationship with them I could see frustration that as we approach February 2013, the film has not come out officially yet, but this is the year. Fritz’ creative juices have been flowing like mad since starting his project Secret Door and I have faith that that project is fueling his energy to make his first full length feature to come to fruition completely.

THE PANTHEON PROJECT: This project found complete production with an exhibit in the windows at the former library located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit featured some amazing pieces on display for anyone and everyone to appreciate the gallery style, it was accompanied by a large exhibit catalog which is now completely sold out. The website is no longer up, but there are images on Flickr.

DOUBLE FINE ADVENTURE: Anyone who followed video gaming news or Kickstarter knows that this project brought a ton of attention to the site. It ended up with quadruple + it’s initial funding and instead of being a small little adventure game/documentary it has balooned into a full fledged project with a current release date not to be seen yet. That is not to say a lot has not been happening. While updates have been less frequent that liked by a portion of backers I have been very satisfied. If one includes the episodes of the documentary titled SIDE QUESTS which either feature indepth bios of creatuve members or show Tim Schaefer playing his old games there have in total been 15 episodes of the documentary feature. In terms of the game the backer forums have featured some amazing programming updates, concept art updates, story updates and more. They have been more than forthcoming in letting us see the full development of this game, warts and all, more than any studio has ever dared try. From a rewards standpoint, Fangamer in a timely, efficient and sexy manner sent out amazing shirts & posters with secret extra buttons and stickers. Of course if you only pledged at the $15 level and don’t take advantage of the fourms at Double Fine you’re just waiting for a game you thought would be out by now. To you I say… that’s your fault, not theirs. If you didn’t actually get in on the ground floor of DFA and would like to see this documentary in real time and see amazing forum posts, go check the program DFA Pay, which allows you to join in the fun early for $30 anytime before release.

CARL’S LARGE STORY: Marcos Perez’ comic appealed to me greatly. When I first found the Kickstarter I noticed he didn’t have an option for all the swag, including the new book, the one of a kind drawing, the original collection and the handmade crochet. I requested it, he made it, and then I almost missed out on actually getting to pledge at this level. Almost is the operative word here. This was also one of the most exciting packages I’ve received from all my Kickstarters so far. Of course what it was going to contain meant it would. If you don’t already have a copy of Carl’s Large Story, head over to the website and grab one. Here’s images!

GAME OVER INSERT MORE QUARTERS ANTHOLOGY: I’m not completely what made this be the next thing I kickstarted. I think looking back it was a combination of the art, the passion, and the energy shown. Somewhere in this apartment of a treaure trove library this book sits happily. Equally a year later the books organizer Nicky Soh, has an excellent illustration project titled SIXTY SHADES OF BLUE. At the same time Nicky’s sister Jen who was also in Game Over is kickstarting her own anthology titled PLAYLIST. Both these projects look fascinating. My pockets need to be much larger, these are books you should look at and own, especially if you’re looking comics and artbooks to add to your collection. I am kneedeep in projects right now, but I am supporting these two projects as much as I can, spiritually, and hopefully financially if that arises.

GODS OF THE FLIES: This short film using awesome animation came out great! In the mail I received some seriously amazing stickers, a great note and even a little finger puppet fly. I’ve watched and rewatched the hi def film on repeat and keep track of the maker Danger Charles has been up to. While this might be the only short narrative film I’ve backed, I am very happy about this once and glad to always have it been part of my collection.

BOY: I had pledged this at the minimum simply because I wanted to be able to read the backer updates and have them saved in my email box forever. I did get to see the film at the special screening in Brooklyn where I also got to meet Taika. Based on comments, American fans have yet to receive their Crazy Horses patches and there seems to be no USA DVD release on the horizon. Still, great movie.

YUMIKO-CURSE OF THE MERCH GIRL: This is a gorgeous package. The comic by Josh Blaylock and Jose Garcia is amazing. The album by Murs is stellar. After the successful Kickstarter, Devil’s Due as a publisher has been back in full swing, continuing to use the platform to prefund their efforts.Yumiko is now available on their website in various packages. I personally recommend the one you can get by clicking Buy Now on the project’s official site.

GASTROPHOBIA VOL. 2: Comics looked to becoming the trend, unsurprisingly, they had proven to be the most reliable of projects and tend to bring me my largest entertainment value. In this case I had already owned Vol. 1 that I had purcahsed directly from David McGuire via a convention and felt it best to assure my copy and also get some special Kickstarter combo editions such as high quality PDFs of both books and a special pin as well! The book is availble for purchase right now if you missed the Kickstarter and can be read online as well as GastroPhobia.com

SPIKE – A LOVE STORY TOO: The first version of Matzerath’s different thinking style of pixel art game was absolutely some of the most fun I’d ever had on a computer. When he announced his desire to make it bigger and better, I had to be a part of it. So far he has made a new version of the game that is available to play for free on New Grounds. A bigger version with expanded story, amazing modes and much more are on the horizon.

EDIT: While working on this article Houser added an update to the backer version of the game where you play as Red Haired Guy. It’s rad!

CAVEGIRL FUDGE: This was easily the most successul projects I was involved in personally. They kept us appraised of their efforts along the way and then out of nowhere, the product arrived. I loved every morself of it. It was just amazing and to die for. I loved it so much that the minute they made it available on their Etsy I ordered it. I know in the future I’ll order more. If I could I order lots and lots more, but I also know this isn’t a mass production, but a lovingly handmade product to be enjoyed while you have and miss while it’s gone so that when you can get it again, you fall in love all over again. The girls behind it have also be super kind and gracious. I’d asked for an extra sticker of their awesome label for my collection and they provided it gratis. I still also have my thank you note personally signed from the original Kickstarter order.

RIDDIKULUS! 2012: We come to my first pledged Kickstarter that hasn’t completely fulfilled their pledge rewards. They did end up doing their full tour and they got the shirts done. I even got to hit one of the spots on the tour and recorded the majority of it and posted it on Youtube. Go check it out, it was a great concert and since it was free I don’t feel bad about my donation. Yet I am frustrated that the special compilation has not yet been made available. Via Facebook on Januarary 28th I was assured it was still happening though and that when it was done it’ll be all worth the wait.

The following Kickstarters are ones that have yet to finish their rewards, in some cases they have provided half of them with promises of completion still to come.

DETECTIVE GRIMOIRE ADVENTURE GAME: This game is greatly delayed as they keep finding snags in development for making it ready for OS. I’m now wishing they focused surely on a standalone PC Version and that when I had the chance to pledge towards that version I did. Although right now it doesn’t matter, there’s still no game. It does look like their physical rewards of T-shirts and plushies are going out though. A few months back they also got the wallpapers out and gave all backers three free ones and higher tirered backers a few extras. Still at this point I’d really like my digital soundtrack and/or digital art book. They are probably holding onto sending those with the game itself though, feeling like out of context they won’t make much sense. I’ve replayed the demo like a hundred times and it still makes me excited for the final product though. I even replay the original version sometimes which has artwork that is not that great and no voiceover, BUT the storytelling, puzzles and mechanics are all in place. This big Swampy’s case version is just basically that game but better. I’m hoping once they have all these programming bugs done there’s a plan to eventually redraw the original game too though, it was a fun mystery.

JOHN K’S “CANS WITHOUT LABELS”: John Kricfalusi’s short authobiographical toon is actually coming along really nicely. I don’t think that he’ll actually end up getting the cartoon available by the end of this month though. I know he hoped he would, but based on the toons blog, we aren’t there yet. A Backer Only Clip showed us we aren’t THAT far off. Maybe by the end of March we’ll get our downloadable version. I’m pretty satisfied here. I didn’t pledge towards any of the crazy doodle or toys so I can’t really complain about the progress on those and the cartoon really has developed a lot.

SCIENCE FICTION LAND: This documentary is going to be bonkers. Especially with all the awards ARGO has received it’ll only help in making the final product of this even larger and more expansive. Packages with most of the pledge rewards other than the film itself have all gone out. I got my package with stickers, pin, postcard, laminated pass, CD (which I already owned because I love the band, so I need to figure out who to give my old copy to) and a thank you note. These extras are really fun and add to the entire thing. Swag is great, but this is one where it’s being to download and watch that final documentary with any extras that it comes with that I’m really awaiting.

THE LAST DOOR: This game hasn’t launched yet, but the updates have been happening. They just finished their third sprint of development and the BETA launch is for Feb 25. At that time I assume I’ll finally see my pixar avatar as well. That might not be till March though on official launch. The ARG they have put together has been extremely immersive. I think I’m now in the home stretch. I may or may not have to learn morse code backwards and forwards to pass it. That might not even be the answer. Luckily though the ARG I have become friends a young man in Croatia of all places. If anything else comes out of this game of that kind of experience it shall be all worth it. Yet, I still really want to get emerged in this 8 bit poink n click adventure and then listen to some classical music.

EDIT: They have pushed BETA back till March 1, with launch for March 11th to refine and perfect everything.  They are on top of us keeping us updated very well, so no complaints.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE: What convinced me to grab this what should be amazing book was Ryan North’s Choose Your Own Adventure comic of Adventure Time. The final product should be super exciting with illustrations from some of my favorite independent comic artists going today. Stretch goals on this got so insane it offered the most amazingly tangible package for the lowest physical tier. This is going to be one kickass book. It’ll take years to read and re-read. It’s just… so much awesome. I can’t wait for this to come out. It’s not scheduled till May. If you missed out on the Kickstarter I’m sure breadpig will be publishing plenty more to go to bookstores, comic shops, etc., etc. It’s going to be an amazing worthwhile book at any price.

Michale Graves-Lost Skeleton Returns: Scheduled for a June release, I’m very happy this music album got funded and that I put myself into a position to guarantee a special edition exclusive version of the pressing. There’s not much more to say as June is far away.

THE WHOLE STORY-WINTER 2013: Never have I seen a Kickstarter that started releasing it’s material DURING the pledge drive. Backing meant you got access to many of the books offered, but the more you backed the more you got, as is the case with most things. This was a case of seriously getting more if you packed and still getting more if you didn’t though. Some of the most impressive stretch goals that provided tons and tons of comics. On the day AFTER pleding Ryan Estrada unleashed about 75% of the promised content and 100% of the original content the project planned to present. I pledged at a very high level here impressed so much with what Ryan was going I felt he deserved it and knowing what I’ll be getting in return will be worth it.

EARTHWARD: I jumped in on the physical version of this book by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara at the last few hours. I’m thinking of it more like when I do my monthly Previews Order. When it finally arrives in my mailbox it’ll just be a lovingy read graphic novel like my many others which will be read, then lost in a pile till one day it is found again and read again. I feel in love with Miller on his Batgirl run and Takara on his The Incredibles work with Mark Waid and then Landry Walker so I expect the two of them to do big things!

My Two Current Pledges, due to close over the next three days!

VERY NEAR MINT VOL.3: I purchased both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 at comic conventions and somehow completely missed the Kickstarters for them. That isn’t happening this time. I chose the Baby Variant and am super excited about the entire package being created for this with all the stretch goals, including swag, prints, stickers, buttons and a new comic. This is one of two comics I am in at a major level for personal artwork and I can’t wait for it.

LEGEND OF RICKY THUNDER: Professional wrestling meets comics in an amazing crazy way. This beaty also hits it’s super stretch goals. Come in at $25 and get not only Ricky Thunder, but stickers, trading cards (inclduing one that will feature ME as a pro wrestler) and a collection featuring Kyle Starks other awesome comics (and that means his super hit This Is… Wildog). You really shouldn’t miss this while you still can! I don’t think he’ll be offering it like a package at this level after the Kickstarter. The same probably goes for Very Near Mint. The comic, lanyards and prints MIGHT be available but all at extra costs to recoup the investment.

I am also ALWAYS looking for new Kickstarters that really grab my eye. I’m kneedeep right now especially waiting on my The Whole Story package and then for my Ricky Thunder and VNM packages, but the right project will pull right into pledging and promoting the heck out of it.

On Thursday I’m actually getting to visit the Kickstarter offices and this week I became the process of being serious about my own Kickstarter projects so it’s all coming together and this is the perfect time for this reflection.

In a year or so from now I’ll probably revisit this all too. Maybe I’ll make a Kickstarter to make something about Kickstarter even!

Best Point n Click/Adventure Games of 2012/Early 2013

In 2012 the point n click adventure game of yesteryear saw a true resurgence. This return to a beloved game form that had been more cultist and present over in Europe for the last few years started making mainstream breakthroughs with the success of Double Fine’s Kickstarter. That success brought forth a lot of other old guard to bring their games to life such as Jane Jensen of Gabriel Knight fame, Chris Jones & Aaron Conners of Tex Murphy fame, The Two Guys From Andromeda, Al Lowe, all popped up on Kickstarter. Not to mention a bunch of other folks with new ideas for point and click adventures with new Ips such as The Last Door, Homestuck Adventure, Jack and The Necronauts and more. Some games on Kickstarter actually preceded DFA successfully and they’ll be discussed shortly as I analyze some of my favorite adventure game experiences of 2012 and early 2013 with a look forward to what the rest of the year will bring. In some cases I’m thinking it might be best to just link to my review that already exists with maybe a single line from it.

Resonance: “Hit it out of the ballpark with a few fouls. I absolutely loved using all four characters to figure out different puzzles, the clues and development of the long term and short term memory, the variants in puzzle style and design that kept things interesting and yet never stopped one from being able to continue on.”
It was also one of those games that got its support on Kickstarter and before DFA, so it was a long time coming and came out great.

Cognition-An Erica Reed Mystery: Two chapters of this game episodic game from Phoenix Online Studios (creators of the excellent Silver Lining which started as King’s Quest fan game) that also found its backing on Kickstarter. The first chapter “The Hangman” introduced a great world, story, characters and intriguing gameplay. Chapter two kept up the great writing and story, but the mechanics and puzzles definitely suffered. I have more to say on this and hopefully will, but despite many flaws in Chapter 2’s “The Wise Monkey” I am still excited and interested in the continuing story and how it will all come together in the end.

The Cave: Double Fine’s first new game of 2013 and it’s first to launch on PC, Xbox, PS3, etc. on the same day is a strange creature. Not fully an adventure game despite it’s marketing, not completely a platformer even though it works like one, it’s got its great own little niche. The kind that one has expected from a games company whose yet to make a game that can actually be classified as they all had elements of adventure, puzzles, platforming, action and other gameplaying tecniques. The Cave’s graphic design and abstract puzzle design shows that the team is still rooted in its Lucasarts beginnings even as it branches out from there.

Kentucky Route Zero-Act 1: Another project that started out on Kickstarter, it is less point n click adventure and more interactive visual fiction, but that doesn’t take away from it’s amazing use of art, game mechanics and storytelling to create an excellent “game”. If you haven’t given this one a go you’re really denying yourself an experience worthwhile.

Primordia: “This game presents a very large and over encompassing story about a post apocalyptic (or seemingly so) world in which only robots remain and these robots live in a 1984 lifestyle in which your character invades, upturns and rearranges in surprising ways. All along the way you’ll laugh, cry, be amazed and question your choices.”

The Ballads of Reemus- When the Bed Bites : I amazingly never wrote an actual review of this, but I did shoot an unpacking video showing my pure excitement for it. Made by Clickshake games this was the promise of an epic after many successful flash games and they delivered on their promise. Amazing artwork, great vocal work, intelligent puzzles, amazing humor. I wish there was a way they could do their games like this more often instead of simpler although that takes nothing away from their more recent production Wentworth which must been played.

Screen 7 Summerbatch: This amazing bundle offered four games of varying style, but all old school point n click. I loved everything about this. This is one where I must direct you straight to my review. Unfortunately only one of the games in the bundle are available (and for free), but the creators of the games have other games they’ve made that are available and if you go the main website and click on each developer you should find something worth your time if you really look.

Botanicula: The weird, fun, awkward work of Amanita Design followed up on Samorost so nicely. This isn’t your typical point n click, but it’s still totally a point and click game in that there are puzzles to figure out, things to click on and even “conversations” in its own strange way. Visually it might be my favorite of all the games I played in 2012.

Papo & Yo: It’s hard to argue Papo & Yo as an adventure game as it has platforming and action elements, but it really is an adventure game as well as interactive fiction. Unfortunately it’s also a Playstation exclusive and a PSN exclusive at that. I could see the game easily ported one day to PC though here’s hoping for all those who didn’t get to experience it.

Da New Guys: This humorous wrestling classic point n click was another awesome exciting adventure for me in 2012. I just had a lot of fun with it, but my review will let you know even better.

Secret Files 3: Animations Arts out of Germany has been making the Secret Files series for all while and Part 3 was another excellent example of the company understanding how to make drama filled pont n click traditional with comedy. As excellent as Secret Files has been, their Lost Horizon game was

Shadows on the Vatican Act 1: Part of this episodic drama is a balance of easy and hard with comic book style art and old school point n click, along with some of the newer additions to the genre over the years and some of the less appreciated puzzles of yesteryear as well, but none of them so bad that you’d not want to continue the tale and see where it is headed. Like Cognition, a big story is being told here in long chapters instead of one enormous game and it’s a story I’ll be following.

Deponia/Chaos on Deponia: From Daedelic, another Germany company with a track record of well animated, classic style point n click, these two games are the first two chapters of a trilogy of a steampunk comedy fantasy. Daedelic’s games are actually quite difficult, with puzzles that can really stump you and scratch your head. This isn’t a bad thing, but it has meant that I haven’t even beaten by Chaos yet and I might not by the time their next game comes out.

Yesterday: The last game from Pendulo Studios before focusing on remakes of their older games and trying to find the eventual funding for their next and possibly largest adventure, this horror themed adventure had a lot going for it. Albeit short and obscenely easy from a puzzle standpoint, it still had the great CGIesque art Pendulo has become famous for as well as their unbalanced, but funny and intriguing storytelling. It’s not one to be skipped.

As the rest of 2013 and even 2014 comes there’s a lot to look forward to in the adventure gaming genre, especially with many of the old stalwarts coming out of the proverbial woodworks even. Here are just some of the games coming that have me excited (even if I didn’t jump on their kickstarter bandwagon):

Double Fine Adventure/REDS: I’ll have lots more to say about this in a forthcoming much delayed Kickstarter experience article, but a quick note to tell you this is going to be one to look out for. This game in my mind will definitely be coming out and while The Cave has received mixed reviews, I expect the gaming community to really fall for this in a big way.

Moebius: The first game from the new Jane Jensen spearheaded Pinkerton Road feels like it’ll really one to watch for. Jane never really disappeared from games making, but her last game as full on writer was the much muddled and production delayed Gray Matter. Other than that she’s helped direct and design lots of casualesque adventure games as well doing consulting for Cognition. This is her first big return to the stage making the game she wants to make. It should be exciting.

Kentucky Route Zero Chapter 2: As it’s planned to be released in chapters, of course I am very excited to see what the next chapter of this will look, sound, feel like.

Reincarnation-Root of All Evil: The flash games for the series about a little purple demon who takes the souls of evil for hell have all been amazing. I really look forward to seeing what a full fledged game will be like. The last truly classic feeling point and click he did was years ago and it was awesome, yet hard, which their small games are as well, but they look great and are fun.

Shadows on the Vatican Act 2: I feel really grateful that I got a free pre-order on this through a bundle as a secret surprise bonus, but if I hadn’t I’d totally ended up buying it when it came out. Really good story, awesome art and in part 2 the promise of controlling two characters for the whole game instead of just a portion? Sold.

Lifeless Planet: This was a project that launched on Kickstarter before the DFA explosion so I missed it, but as doing research this sci-fi 3D epic looks promising.

I could go on and on with games such as the new Broken Sword, the new Tex Murphy, Beyond Two Souls from the makers of Heavy Rain and more. I just love that my favorite genre is alive!

A Quick Kickstarter Roundup to start 2013

It has been a long time since I’ve done a roundup of Kickstarter’s that catch my interest.  In the past I’ve done a long roundup of many Kickstarter’s including one’s that I could’nt invest in because of lack of funds.  If I could I’d invest in over 50 Kickstarters a month, even with the risk of not seeing a project fufilled (an article forthcoming shortly will be all about my Kickstarter history).  This time around there’s just three Kickstarter’s here.  Three projects I felt were too awesome not to open my wallet as well as marketing, pushing, prodding, supporting skills for.  One music project, one comics project and one products/branding project.  They all have their charm and are worth checking out.

MICHALE GRAVES – THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS:

I am one of those rare birds who sometimes like bands with their second frontman more than their first. Not usually, but in two specific cases this is a fact and coincidentally the two bands where this is a fact came together in my life in an unexpected way. The first is ANTHRAX, I never got into them until Sound of White Noise with John Bush on vocals. The second would be The Misfits when Michale Graves joined. The only Misfits albums I own are American Psycho and Famous Monsters… and those are on cassette! Now for the fun part, when I went to see Anthrax during their The Threat Is Real Tour, Michale took the stage with them. All of that has nothing to do with this Kickstarter, but it does. Michale wants to make brand new versions of many of the songs he wrote with The Misfits as Skele-Crow and I assume some of the ones he developed with Graves, the band he had with Misfits Dr. Chud. Not just re-recordings though, but new explorations with what he’s learned musically over the last fifteen years. I missed out on Michale Graves first new major solo project last year, I don’t want to miss out on this one. I know that there has to be more fans out there of the Graves version of Misfits who would be excited to hear Michale bring it back, re-birthed, refurbished and well, let that lost skeleton return.

STOMPADON:

This is one of the cutest characters I’ve seen in like forever. Artist Kelsey Wailes has created something that is just truly charming and has so much life in Stompadon. The work she’s already finished for the Children’s book is amazing, the art for the print is mind dazzling and shows she can do realistically grotesque as well as super cute and the prototype for the plushie is just so awesome that despite myself and already owning more than enough plushies and cuties I can’t resist. He actually will go well sitting next to my handmade Carl from Marcos Perez. What really pushed me over the edge is the actual complete preview of the children’s book. Once seeing it I realized this is something I want to own for myself and for my future children or any future children who might be in my life. I’m sure even my nieces would love these up to even my age, because they’re the kind of girls who will always love cute, but weird… but I can’t buy 4 of these things as much as I want to! You can though, buy as many as you can and make this thing happen!

THE WHOLE STORY WINTER 2013 COLLECTION:

The first digital collection of comics called The Whole Story  totally grabbed my attention with its stories from Box Brown, translated Korean Comics re-envisioned by some amazing indie comics talents and the fully realized version of Ryan Estrada’s non winning Zuda comic The Kind (here’s a PDF file that previews what that first collection had) . This time around he’s brought the concept to Kickstarter to really help build the brand and the company. At over 500% there’s no reason to not pledge for this one and if it gets to those stretch goals or near them, I am damn near proud to up my pledge to get a print edition of The Kind, etc. The new batch features comics by KC Green, Ryan Andrews and of course Ryan Estrada. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least do the $1 for some awesome comics not available anywhere else.

 

Kickstarter Roundup for July 27th, 2012

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these and there’s no enough stuff that holds my interested to shoot it out to you. I am not pledging all of these, actually I’m probably only pledging what I can afford, but know these are ALL things I want to be a part of.

Cans Without Labels-A Cartoon by John K.: The creator of Ren & Stimpy and founder of Spumco Animation wants to make a very different, more personal cartoon than anything he’s previously done. Still drawn and designed in his undeniable style it’s the kind of work that once seen will probably be loved and enjoyed and if shown for two weeks in a real movie theater in L.A. be nominated for an academy award, but before any of that can happen he needs to be able to make the cartoon.

Detective Grimoire Adventure: The first Grimoire game was made for flash and wa sonly PC with no vocals and minimal music. This is going to be a full ledged production available on iOS, Android, PC and Mac with a hilarious story, great art and reasonably priced. There’s some awesome incentives at the higher pledge tiers too. Go play the demo to get a taste.


Boxer Story – Animated Film: I love traditional short animation that attempts to tell real stories. There isn’t enough of it usually so anything that comes by is good and this is exceptionally different.

I Am Big Bird: A full lentgh documentary detailing the life story of Caroll Spinney. While he recently published a memoir, a film piece fully supported by him is a different thing all together. For a man who lived most of his life on camera, it seems it’s the way his life story should be preserved for everyone.

Two Headed Cop- Animated Film: As much as I love traditional animation I love funny CGI with quirky characters and ideas as well, so here’s Two Headed Cop.

Sirius Black fanmade Prequel: The majority of these fanmade Harry Potter prequels, sequels, sidestories have all been high quality, their fans are truly some creative types. JK Rowling has to truly be credited for helping creative people who were stuck find their inner artist. This project is no different.

AR-K Adventure Game: Yeah two indie adventure games. You know me. I like my point n click and I like it best when its done well. While the first episode now free of this series has lpots of animation bugs, the story, characters, voice acting and puzzles are really good. Give it a go.

Super Big Kickstarter Roundup (April 18th, 2012)

The following are projects I would love to pledge to for rewards and to see the projects happen. In some cases the projects are at 100% and that just means I wish I had hundreds of thousands of dollars just to be on board, in others they’re struggling or at the half way point and so they need your help as much as mine. All of them are stuff I really think is awesome and wish I was full of disposable income.

Cooking In Heel-A Memoir Cookbook: I absolutely love cook books which are more than just a collection of recipes and this one seems to be just that. Combining some Southern style seafood with pulling up the memories of being black, transgendered and I believe a lesbian in New York City and the troubles of that and that is one amazing read or at least it sounds like one.

Fairy Quest-Outlaws: Paul Jenkins isn’t one of my favorite writers, but he has written lots of stuff I’ve enjoyed. Mostly his Werewolf by Night, his issues of the Tecknophage series with Al Davidson and some of his issues of Spider-Man. In terms of Humberto Ramos, I actually never really loved the guy. He can be awesome of some stuff, the vampire series he created himself was awesome. So you’d be wondering why I’m into this book… well it looks awesome and sounds awesome. It reminds of TELLOS in ways and that book is one of my favorite things ever.

A WALL: I checked out Lila Roo’s prevoious art projects and I was really impressed. She has a great visual eye and this project could be awesome. She’s also beautiful and makes beautiful stuff.

NEKRO: This strategy adventure game has some amazing graphics and a conceptually good story. I don’t tend to get attracted to RTS or warfare games, but the premise behind this one with the artistic design really has my eyes open.

Dr. McNinja’s Radical Adventures: I love simple reflex platforming games, combining that mechanic with an original story featuring Christopher Hasting’s Dr.McNinja for mobile platforms is just awesomness and Chris agrees and he’s only marginally part of the project other than giving permission.

Mystery Pets Art Book by Diana X. Sprinkle: I’ve loved Diana’s comics for a long time. True Hue has been a steadfast favorite forever. I of course never got to see the first book she did here cause the internet is too huge, but this larger follow-up looks awesome as all let out.

Wish Pictures: I don’t talk online anymore, least at all webcam… but this could totally make me get back into it. Every conversation to be in a different room? Also this type of technology getting going could lead to it’s inspiration, Star Trek: TNG’s holodeck to becoming a reality.

Rob Schamberger paints professional wrestling’s Heavyweight Champions of the world: I’m curious to see how much he can really tackle here if he succeeds. He’s got Punk, Harley Race, Ric Flair… but will he really go all the way with this? He’s going to have to a Great Khali, and as comments noted, a David Arquette, not to mention a Tyler Black, a Sid Vicious, a Yokozuna, a Vader and when it comes to guys like Big Show and Kevin Nash… will he do Diesel and The Giant or consider those as one painting reflecting them as a whole?

Jane Jensen’s Pinkerton Road: The first official gamne has now been announced for Jane Jensen’s production company, that would be Moebius, but they’re still far from getting the financial backing to making that dream a reality. Jane Jensen is an incredible writer and I believe with no one and nothing holding her back in the publishing area she can do something amazing in this influx of the rebirth of old school gaming as a main stream concept with periphery engines instead of everyone using Wintermute and AGS (even though those games are awesome including everything by Wadjeteye) and having games be American made instead of ports and localizations from Spain and Germany. I want this to happen and so do you. Telltale Games are awesome, but there needs to be more big guys are the market!

Super Powered Revenge Christmas: An original graphic novel with Santa Claus and others as superheroes and villains written by Bill Corbett of MST3K and Rifftrax fame and drawn by Len Peralta. I don’t think there’s much more to say.

 

Xombie-Death Warmed Over: After sitting in development hell, James Farr has finally got XOMBIE back to do with as he pleases. Unfortunately that means the big movie isn’t happening, but he can now focus on getting a second season of the cartoon finally out there to the adoring public with your help. I was much more into the comic series that was birthed from the Xombie cartoon, but this fact remains… awesome.

Giant Donuts-NYC shop: I’ll never be able to eat a donut shop, unless they go for Gluten free or something. Or if I just have one donut a year, but the charm of their pitch video and the idea behind the shop just makes me excited. Worth checking out.

The Great Chicken Wing Hunt: This documentary looks amazing… it deserves a final cut and the ability to go out to markets to be seen in festivals and picked up for distribution on HBO or Showtime or something like that…maybe Bravo? Anyways, watch the full official trailer too. Also New Yorkers, come see it in downtown Manhattan on April 28th.

Cold and Loud-An Alaskan Rock Anthology: I’m completely unfamiliar with the rock scene of Alaska, but there seems to be a lot of Metalcore going on. Good metalcore at that, well, if you like Metalcore, I do sometimes. It’s not just Metalcore though, there’s some Electronica, Ska, Folk and Poppy stuff happening. Here’s some of the bands on this anthology so you can get a feel of what they’re all about.
Anchors Alive, City In Ashes, Bolt Action Beaver, Kallahanak, Pretty Birds That Kill, The Rocket Surgeons, T.I.A..
It’s important to note that all the tracks on this anthology were recorded new in a session at one studio with each band, they are all unreleased which makes it extra special.

Altruistic Complex-Book 1: This manga-esque anthromorphic comic by Zilford is really cool looking and reads well too. See for yourself right here.

Ace Kilroy: I can’t believe I’m just discovering this awesome webcomic now. You can see the thing yourself at Acekilroy.com, but this collected edition sounds awesome. A little hefty in price but that has to be because of the Kickstarter feeds and just making it available in the format they want with having their full colors being printed in color and such, which has to be expensive at a lower print run. Good stuff. 

 

Road Trip with Bibi the African Grey Parrot: Hilarious pitch video. This could turn into an awesome webseries. I’d be curious to see where the bird ends up and how it reacts to new things and if she can really learn new phrases and words. Bibi hates New Jersey, it stink. Bibi want La Brea, tar…tar… don’t belong. I don’t know.

The Car: This almost finished short looks pretty cool. I’m curious to just follow it.

Franklin, The Ladies Cat: Now this is some serious fun right here. This cat looks great and the voice is hilarious. I could see Franklin easily on Comedy Central or Adult Swim.

PuppeTyranny!’s Beans, Beans, Beans: This is one of those weird things where the pitch video really caught my eye that I just had to include it in this list.

Plastic Galaxy-A Documentary About Star War Toys: I still have a ton of my Kenner’s. The pitch video on this is actually weak, but the premise is really good. I hope they speak more to the actually Kenner folks on this then the collectors, because I really don’t need to hear from more collector’s and fans, but stories from the folks at Kenner who basically created toys from production sketches for a live action that hadn’t even been cast yet like Bobba Fett would be amazing.

2D6, geek rap group’s second album, Hey Fartface: Do not go by their pitch video. It shows a badly filmed live performance. Go to their Last.FM page and download the free mp3s. These dudes are really good and really funny. They deserve to expand their act, especially their live act which needs work.

Eryn Woods West Coast Summer Tour 2012: This Kickstarter is more a case of discovering a musical talent in Eryn Woods that I was not privy to before this. The tour is all west coast and I can’t see myself getting out to Cali anytime soon without a bigger deal involved, but for those out in Cali and the West coat, worth checking out and those not, just check out her music. She’s also absolutely stunning which is just a bonus.

 

 

The Many Worlds of Mr.Diddlewit: There many good children’s series up on Kickstarter, but this one in particular caught my eye so here I offer it for your information to check out.

Kickstarter Projects you should check out (March 22, 2012)

SPIKE-A Love Story Too: A one man video game production of a sequel to an excellent flash game with humor, cool graphics and ingenious ideas about gaming. The sequel promises to be bigger and better with an Atari mode, a Bob Ross mode and a Visual novel mode.

Cavegirl Fudge: A big part of my weight loss is finding new products that would allow me to enjoy the pleasure and still keep my weight down. These girls are making fudge I can eat. No sugar, fat free dairy… all that good stuff. New York is full of companies making healthy chocolate, but none of them are making FUDGE.

BEYOND-The Adventure Short: This could be one really interesting little film and the director’s previous effort Paradox is great.

The Gills – Motor Running EP Release: Some good music and tons of charisma from a rock band of four brothers, well, two brothers and two brothers.

The Last Of McGuinness: A documentary of professional wrestling’s Nigel McGuiness (Desmond Wolfe in TNA) final wrestling tour before retirement, he visited tons of wrestlers who like him had the talent, know how and skill, but was never given the ball in the big leagues. Stories, road trip, history, looks like a good one.

The Little Red Bird : A Multi lingual children’s storybook designedd to be offered for free as an e-book, but also making limited edition traditional style book.

I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator: Keith “Keef” Knight wants to do his first original graphic novel and like all his work it’s autobiographical.

PULP BOY film: Great movie project with an awesome star lined up (Allen Enlow who you might recognize from commercials and web series) and to be made from a script by crime writers Victor Gischler and Anthony Neil Smith.

Professor Cat’s ‘Mazing Machine : I’m not sold on the puzzle game the developer is making cause it’s not my kind of thing, but the design of Professor Cat by artist Caldwell Tanner is awesome.

Borthaniel : Comic book about a genetically engineered teddy bear like thing. Maybe a little much Boris The Bear looking, but still cool.

Manga Animated Music Video for original song by Cristina Vee, pretty self explanatory. Here’s Cristina’s Youtube.

Album for Johnny BHive called Jaggar Jones-Poetry in Motion. I listened to some of his stuff at ReverbNation and it’s pretty good.

I’ve started looking at IndieGoGo as well for possibly interesting projects and here are two:

The Bret Braddock Adventures: An awesome web comic collection from Australia about the production of a ridiculous TV show. Great art work and really funny.

What is it Katy?: Another collection of a fascinating web comic that was done as an experiment and turned out excellent.


Some Kickstarter Projects You Can Join In that Caught My Eye

I started working on this last night and just wanted to finish it off because right now I’m just not feeling it. It’s a good distraction from the whole world, but it is still about money and stuff… and more about money than stuff… still, we need distractions.

Batton Lash’s Wolff & Byrd is preparing for a printing of a volume 6 collecting issues #30, 34-37 and more. Wolff & Byrd is an awesome comic and this is basically like pre-ordering. Kickstarting a book, pre-ordering a book, same thing in the new world.


GAME OVER: Insert More Quarters is an anthology of a bunch of very talented young comics makers, they had some amazingly cool rewards at the %50-$75 but those are gone, BUT if some super rich folks can do the $100 or a bunch of folks go for the $25 pledge it’ll bring us to FINAL BOSS level meaning even more rewards for the same pledges. On the page they have links to most of the contributors and I checked all their pages, these are a talented group of folks who if they weren’t doing this project would probably get discovered by Kazu Kibishi for FLIGHT or something like that.

Curse of the Merch Girl is a diverse multimedia project from hip-hop artist MURS and comics creator Josh Blaylock. It’ll be a music video, a comic book and a 10 track cd. The 10 songs are designed to be listened to while reading the graphic novel. This is one of the projects I really am excited for. It hasn’t reached full funding yet and it really is one of those that shouldn’t be stuck. If I had $2500, I’d totally do that pledge.

Kiko The Brave Little Bat, so if you have $150 to spare I want one of the complete kits of book, DVD and plush, wants one too and then the third is for you. I really can’t bring myself to spend $50 for a plush doll and a children’s book even though I want it. $25 for a very mature graphic novel and CD as in the above, yes… but $50 for a kid’s thing? No…not really, but if I had a child? Hell yeah!

Man of God-The Death of John Morris: This comic featuring art by Yvel Guichet is actually available in the current March Previews and seems interesting enough to pre-order. If you’re into variant covers and the such I suggest hopping on the kickstarter though.

Zach Meets The Zombie is a great looking children’s book. You might be aware that I am not much of a zombie fan. I like about 2-3 things in the zombie genre, and if this book is as good as the pitch is, this would become the 4th.

Feeble’s Fable: This is no DOUBLE FINE ADVENTURE, but for a small independent adventure production and design it is definitely a worthwhile project. I’m still confused why their pitch videos outside of game footage look they were shot on cheapo cameras in 1991 though. Despite that, Feeble is adorable.

Riddikulus 2012 – A Rolling Wizard Rock Festival: I know for a fact a bunch of you are Potterphiles. I’m more an admirer and I never got into Wizard Rock heavily. and ‘s promotion and marketing for some of them is closest I’ve gotten, but as I listened to these bands and look at the rewards I support this project and considering what venue they hit in NYC I’ll go.

Gnombre the hispanic Garden gnome: I was really on board for the bobblehead 7inch version here for $20, but they want an extra $10 for shipping now. That’s unfortunate. I still think this thing looks awesome and if you have a home with a lawn, the 13 inch is worth even $50.

Suspect Device 2 is a comic featuring some amazing folks using an awesome idea. Panel 1 is from Jim Davis’ Garfield, the final Panel is from Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, and in between some of the wildest, craziest and funniest cartoonists in the world create a story that connects the two panels. Josh got a great selection of folks on board for this one. This is gonna be an awesome book.

Gastrophobia Volume 2-Amazon Attacked: I loved Vol 1 of David McGuire’s series, he’s got a fantastic storytelling sensibility and awesome art style. It’s actually sitting on my desk right now just to re-enjoy in the meantime.