Not all Kickstarter projects are created equally. While the crowd-funding independent projects has been a huge success in recent years, the projects it attracts are variable in quality. Some look to kickstart projects with wide-eyes and a lack of proper research and preparation, some are genuinely impressive in scope and ambitious, and a some inspired passion projects are only made reality on Kickstarter.
Kickstarters come in ebbs and flows as well. Spring and summer of last year had the big boom of game developers getting onto the platform, with the Double Fine Adventure project pulling in over $3 million, well over the requested $400 thousand, paving the way. Pebble Watch’s huge success, raking in more than $10 million of donations, helped further legitimize the model. These projects helped raised awareness of Kickstarter and made it a household name, and the subsequent influx of funds from consumers excited to help back projects was huge.
We like to keep on our eyes on cool Kickstarter projects here at CultureMass, and have noticed a recent crop of exciting new projects; from games, to cartoons, to podcasts on design and technology, there’s a lot of new cool stuff out there. Here are four Kickstarters you should be keeping an eye on:
By Infinite Fall
The Project: A 2D side-scrolling exploration adventure game with paranormal themes, A Night in the Woods is a delightful looking indie game by Alec Holowka and Scott Benson (together known as Infinite Fall). Besides a distinctive and striking visual style, the game seems to seek to enchant with its story of anthropomorphic teenage angst. The story is about Mae a college drop-out who’s recently moved back to her hometown of Possum Springs. She’s begun notice strange occurrences around town, which seem to stem from something strange going on in the local woods. Having developed a vertical slice of the game, Alec and Scott have come to Kickstarter looking to make the project a reality.
Why we love it: An anthropomorphic angsty drop-out cat with paranormal powers who hangs out with her loser friends, what an amazing character! The art-style and animations here are incredible for the size of the project as well, and the burnt oranges and midnight blues displayed in the trailer give it a warm and deep entrancing look.
By Frederator / Cartoon Hangover
The Project: Bee and Puppycat is a cartoon short that features Bee and the mysterious Puppycat (neither cat nor puppy). Bee is an out-of-work 20-something who finds the seemingly abandoned Puppycat who takes her on an intergalactic babysitting mission to make another month’s rent. Bee and Puppycat published two five minute episodes earlier this year on Cartoon Hangover, and now Frederator Studios (the publisher behind Adventure Time and The Fairly Odd Parents) are looking to help develop half a dozen 6-minute episodes with the help of their backers.
Why we love it: Bee and Puppycat is an adorable show that’s made for adults and touches upon anxieties many of us millennials feel in modern society.
By Cyan, Inc
The Project: Obduction is a game being produced both in the style of Myst and by the creators of Myst. In an age where Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty often dominate the mindshare of what people think modern video games are, Obduction is a more introspective, ponderous affair. Myst was the highest selling PC game of all time until the debut of The Sims in 2001, and was a household name for much of the ’90’s so it’s exciting to see Cyan returning to the first person exploration puzzle genre. While it’s easier to see the legacy of Doom these days (another PC game that came out the same year as Myst), games like Dear Esther and Gone Home show that there’s still an appetite for less-violent, quieter first-person games like Myst. Not much detail is given on the game in order to preserve the mysteries within, and Obduction is the most ambitious project on this list seeking $1.1 million in funding.
Why we love it: Myst was among our first experiences with games and enchanted us a beautiful, eerie world to explore. In an age where violent video games dominate, we’re excited to see what the creators of Myst can do when they’re left to their own devices.
By PRX, Inc
The Project: 99% Invisible is a fantastic podcast hosted by Roman Mars about design, technology, architecture, and pretty much the 99% of the world that goes unseen by your everyday person. The show has always been publicly funded, and has relied on campaigns to get through it’s first 3 seasons. With season 4, 99% Invisible wants to go from a monthly format to a weekly one, and bring on radio journalist Sean Cole as a monthly contributor. This is the kind of Kickstarter that seems like a sure bet, as they have a proven track record and product, and are just looking to expand their scope.
Why we love it: 99% Invisible represents some of the best radio journalism out there, and belongs in the conversation with shows such as This American Life and Radiolab. Consistently entertaining and enlightening, we love this show. Doesn’t hurt that they have some pretty great Kickstarter rewards.