Adventure games; from ancient PCs to Kickstarted gems

When I first started playing video games in earnest, it was on the family’s Atari 1040 ST. I loved that machine and the games looked soooo much better than on a PC (not just 16 colours, but 256!), the music was better too.

Anyway, I was (and am) a real sucker for adventure games, both text-adventures and graphical adventures. My first encounter was on our very first PC, which was a Texas Instruments (don’t even know the model number) which ran off of tapes. I think the adventure that ran from it (programmed in Basic) was simply called “Adventure” at the time. I thought it was awesome (and later proceeded to write my own on the Atari as well).

But I’m digressing… The games I played the most were King’s Quest 1-4, but other games followed; Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island etc. One of my favourite game series was Gabriel Knight. When I finally gave up the Atari in 1999 & bought a x86 computer, I got Gabriel Knight 3 that same year. The theme is based on the same myths as “The Da Vinci Code“, but definitely a lot cooler. This was a great game, even though I wasn’t a fan of this new “3D thing” in video games. No idea if it’s still even playable these days…

Anyway, Gabriel Knight was created by a woman called Jane Jensen, who approached writing video games that way you’d write an actual novel. Backstory and all. This definitely made for a very immersive game.

In the time between GK and now though, adventure games went into decline; too expensive to produce & not enough people buying them, sadly. Jane created one adventure game in this time, Gray Matter, I still need to check that one out as it kept being postponed & I lost track after some time.

Back to the present. Jane and her husband Robert recently started their own studio; Pinkerton Road, which “will be solely focused on story-driven, 3rd person adventure games”; is this great or what?

To be able to fund all this, they started a campaign for two of their games through Kickstarter (which is an awesome concept all by itself btw) and they proceeded to get the required funds two days ago, while the Kickstarter campaign runs until May 19th.

The idea of Kickstarter is that anyone can back a project, whether you want something out of it, or just want to help people create something wonderful. You can start backing a project for as little as $1. However, usually if you want something tangible out of it (like  the product the project was started for), you need to pledge more than that. When the projected goal is made (there’s always a minimum amount of money which is set at the start of a project), the project will go through & your pledged money will be collected and the project will proceed. If the amount is not made, your money won’t be collected and the project will stop. Crowdsourcing ftw!

Anyway, the lowest amount you need to pledge for the Pinkerton Road project to get a product is $16; for this you get:

“One of our studio releases this CSG cycle (your choice) on PC download. Access to quarterly Pinkerton Road CSG studio updates and our CSG-only forum.”

Sounds pretty good for the money. I pledged the $16 on May 6th. To also be part of this Kickstarter, go to the project site & pledge before Saturday May 19th:

Jane Jensen’s Pinkerton Road Kickstarter Project

I really think that, especially for video games, Kickstarter can work very well and this really is a new way of “voting” for what you like with your money directly. All these big companies get circumvented this way. And though I love the big franchises by big companies like Sim City by Maxi/EA, I think crowdsourcing is the future.

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