Welcome to the first issue of our new feature, the Kickstarter Weekly. Each week, we’ll pick one to three games on Kickstarter that’s currently being funded, and we’ll give you the scoop on each game and why we think they should be funded, or why you should at least check it out. This week, we're covering two games that promise players tough choices: Lisa and 1979 Revolution.
Project By: Austine Jorgensen
Current Funds: $10,225
End: December 16, 2013
Billed as “the painful RPG,” Lisa takes place in a post-apocalyptic world of non-descript origins; what we do know is that only the men have survived. With no women around, the world of Lisa has gone to shit. Its remaining male citizens have become increasingly violent, addicted to drugs, or hopeless.
Brad Armstrong is the central protagonist of Lisa. A former martial artist, Brad now spends his days with his buddies abusing the drug, Joy, and generally accomplishing nothing. In the Kickstarter demo, he is accompanied by his fellow junky and friend, Rickard Weeks, who dreams often of his beautiful wife and baby boy in his drug-fueled dreams.
Lisa looks as if it belongs in the Mother franchise with cutesy graphics that elaborate on the quirkiness of some of the characters, but it doesn’t hide the ugliness—in some cases, the graphics make them stand out. Battles take place in first person, like in Earthbound or Dragon Quest, but they’re faster in pace, and it shows the characters’ animations in battle. Interestingly enough, players navigate the world as a sidescroller, jumping from ledges and entering the occasional caves or dens. Accompanying this is an eclectic soundtrack that players will remember long after they’ve played the demo, and there will even be tracks from Jake “Virt” Kaufman.
Living up to its billing, Lisa promises players that they will have to make painful choices. Unlike most moral choice systems, these affect your survival; there's no saving or dominating the world in this game. By the end of the demo, Brad and Rickard encounter a quirky group of men who are obsessed with hair. The music grows tense as the leader notices that the two men are, in fact, bald. It’s at this point Brad and Rickard must decide to strike before the hairy men try anything funny, or they can accept their fate. By fighting, players kill the men but score the drugs; by refraining, they find out that the men only wanted to give them wigs, avoiding what could have been a costly mistake. In the actual game, players will have more difficult choices, such as permanently removing one of Brad’s limbs to save a character from perma-death, or trading sexual favors for fast cash. Again, it’s not about saving the world, and the morally sound choice can be costly.
Thankfully, the game has already been funded at $7,000, and they’ve recently reached an important stretch goal, meaning the developers will implement a separate campaign starting the lone female survivor, Buddy. As of writing, Lisa is at $10,225, but you can try the demo for yourself and decide whether you want to spend the $10 for a pre-ordered copy of Lisa—I promise it’s worth your time.
Project By: iNK Stories
Current Funds: $93,563
End: December 16, 2013
Like Lisa, 1979 also promises to be a painful experience. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is a historical representation of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Players take control of a photojournalist, Reza, from Tehran. Reza witnesses the brutal murder of his cousin, which prompts his decision to join the revolution. 1979 chronicles Reza as he participates in the revolt.
1979 is the dream project of creator Navid Khonsari, who has worked on huge projects such as Grand Theft Auto 3, Alan Wake. 1979 mixes elements of stealth, decision-making and exploration. In addition, Reza will take photos of the events surrounding him. What’s interesting is that players will be able to compare the pictures they take in game to the pictures taken during the revolution. The creators stress that the game will have intuitive touchscreen controls, bringing console-quality to mobile devices and tablets; however, they would definitely consider porting it to other consoles.
As he says in the video, Navid has a personal stake in the project because he’s lived through the actual events.
Is this project personal? Absolutely! I had my grandfather walk me through the streets of Tehran during these exact protests.
This dream project faces an encroaching deadline this December 16, 2013. I’m quite baffled that they haven’t raised the funds yet. Not only is this an incredible premise for a videogame, but Navid has a respected resume’, and they’ve received coverage from CNN and PlayStation’s blog. They’ve raised $93,105, and as of writing they have 12 days to raise the full $395,000. I realize that with that short period of time, they are not likely to be funded; however, the game has too good of a concept to ignore. Then again, maybe we can use Kickstarter to turn the tables.
Have you seen any interesting projects on Kickstarter that you think deserve mention? Are you a developer who is currently running a Kickstarter campaign? Let us know in the comments section, or send an email to email@example.com.