In all the time I’ve been making my own games, I’ve never really felt inclined to charge money for them. Oh, sure, I’ve often thought about it — it’s always nice to be compensated for hard work, even when it’s a labour of love — but it’s never been a plan that I’ve put into action, save for maybe a short-lived donations button that appeared on an earlier incarnation of this blog. At first it was because I was a relative beginner at game development, and didn’t feel comfortable competing with the “big boys”; today, it’s because I already have paid work in the game industry, so the projects I work on in my spare time tend to be chosen for personal self-expression rather than commercial viability — and as we very well know, it’s very, very difficult to have both when you’re as iconoclastic as I am.
Then, this new site called Kickstarter went live, which I discovered after a handful of indie game development teams started using it for fundraising. I found myself really liking that the site focusses specifically on quirky, personal art projects and encourages a general atmosphere of creativity and personalisation, so I figured it might just be the perfect home for a project like Life Flashes By. A couple of weeks ago, I asked my friend Vince Twelve, whose game Resonance  is on the site, if he had any invite codes to spare, and as luck would have it, he had exactly one left. So, I grabbed it, and after spending a good chunk of time tinkering around, my project page is now up! 
Now, here’s the thing: I don’t really want Life Flashes By to be a commercial product in the standard sense of the word. I’d really like to release it for free when it’s done, just like I have all the other games I’ve written under the Deirdra Kiai Productions banner. But since this is the last personal project I’m going to finish before I turn twenty-five,  I want to make it extra special: the best possible culmination of what I’ve learned about game design and interactive storytelling up to this point in my life. And to do this, I’m going to need support, in both the financial sense and the emotional sense. I have to admit that I feel rather uncomfortable asking this of people, but at the same time, I know I have many readers who care about the same kind of grandiose ideals for the future of video games as I do, so I figured that maybe in some small way, we could all take part in helping bring those ideals about.
So, here’s where you come in: visit my Kickstarter project page and pledge whatever you feel my work — both current and past — is worth.  In exchange, if my funding goal of $1000 US is met, you’ll get a special gift, whether it be a postcard, a nicely-packaged signed physical copy of the finished game, or even an original short story/poem that I’ll write just for you if you’re feeling especially generous. If my funding goal isn’t met… well, we’ll cross that bridge once we get there. But it certainly can’t hurt to try!
And finally, if you’ve got even more cash to spare, I highly recommend checking out some of the other game projects on Kickstarter, particularly Borut Pfeifer‘s game set in Iran during the post-election riots, which I have a vested interest in due to my part-Iranian background, and of course, Resonance. Knowing that there are other projects out there whose goals share many commonalities with my own makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself, and gives me hope that maybe someday, even more aspiring socially conscientious game developers will be able to bring their dreams to life.
- Which, as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m doing some writing for. ↩
- I would’ve had it up sooner, but I ran into a few bumps trying to get my US bank account validated as a Canadian, and I’ve been much busier than usual at work on DeathSpank as of late. ↩
- Why twenty-five? Because it’s the new twenty-one, which is the new eighteen, which is the new… I don’t know, thirteen? The bar for “fully-fledged adult” seems to be getting set higher and higher nowadays. Anyway, I needed a milestone, so I thought a quarter century seemed fitting enough. ↩
- Within your financial means, of course. I know these are tough economic times for a lot of people, which is part of the reason why I want the finished game to be free. Still, if you could spare a few kind words and/or spread the link around to your friends, I’d very much appreciate it. ↩
I’m happy to be among the supporters for this project in my own small way. I very much believe in your work. Good luck, and I shall play and enjoy it. (I am psychic. I know these things.)
You’ve got my pledge! Best of luck!