Damn you other obligations that have kept me from digitally flapping my gums about all of the crazy business happening over at Double Fine studios! The past few weeks have been HUGE for all fans of old school adventure games, which isn’t something anyone gets to say very often these days (or ever) and boy have I wanted to post about it.
Things first heated up early in the month when stupid-rich Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson made a very public display of affection for Tim Schafer’s criminally ignored last-gen mind-bender Psychonauts. Devoted fans (read: anyone who ever played the damn thing) have been foaming at the mouth for a sequel for ages, but unfortunately sheer force of will can’t make games happen without the necessary capital (if this wasn’t fact, there would be would be a copy of Skies of Arcadia 2 nestling next to me in my bed). Luckily, the difference between fans like us and Notch is roughly a few gajillion dollars, and amazingly enough, the Swedish genius wants to throw buckets of said cash at making our dreams come true; a fact he decided to loudly announce to the world via Twitter. The discussion between the two devs quickly found a more appropriately private home, but not before the internet was lit on fire with the heat of a thousand Linsday Lohan crotch shots. Honestly, I’ve never really had much interest in playing around in the ridiculously popular virtual playground that is Minecraft, but I can safely say my respect for its creator is now through the roof.
And if that wasn’t enough, mere hours after the dust began to settle on this wondrous news, Double Fine announced the launch of a Kickstarter campaign designed from the ground up to blow my mind. It seems Schafer and crew looked at the sadly barren landscape that is the classic point & click adventure (a genre that Tim and long-time collaborator Ron Gilbert used to utterly own) and decided the best way for them to put a new dent in it was via the joys of crowd funding. What probably started as an experiment to see what would happen if you bypass the usual money-chain and let the studio’s fans put their cold, hard cash where their mouth is ended in ridiculous success. In fact, it hasn’t ended at all and it’s already a ridiculous success. The campaign hit it’s $400k goal in a mere 8 hours, and it’s still going strong 2 MILLION dollars later and with 18 days left on the clock. That means if you haven’t jumped on board already, there’s still time for you to be a part of one of the greatest victories in the history of gaming.
If you can’t tell, I am more than a bit over the moon for the folks at Double Fine. In a world of endlessly mind-numbing Call of Duty sequels, a new point & click adventure from the minds of Schafer and Gilbert seems like nothing but the most magical of fever dreams. So, so much of my youth was spent neck deep in every title churned out by the likes of Lucasarts and Sierra On-Line, and I constantly pine for the glory days of my still favorite genre, back when the likes of Space Quest and The Dig were commonplace. It’s been kept off life support by the talented devotees at studios such as Revolution Software and Telltale Games (the latter almost doing it single handily at times), but never in a million years would I have seen a groundswell of support like this coming out of the woodwork. Seriously, this is now the most popular campaign ever run on Kickstarter, and all for a game that most major publishers would have probably laughed out of the room, regardless of the artists involved. Suspect grooming habits aside, I kind of want to hug every person who has contributed, but only after I ask them where the hell they were hiding back when Psychonauts came and went with a commercial whimper.
If you haven’t already joined team Double Fine Adventure, and my endless blathering hasn’t convinced you that you’re not a good person unless you do so, then watch this charming update (and EFIGS lesson) from Tim himself and hopefully you’ll change your mind. You know deep down you want to be the “you” in his “thank you”. Do it.