Mighty Number 9 is picking up a lot of press, especially now that it's received its backing and made its first three stretch goals. If the Kickstarter makes it to $2.2 million, the team will move forward with making console versions, "the traditional home for this genre", and probably for all available consoles at that. I backed at $20 to get the digital download of the game, but this stretch goal update got me thinking about why I like Kickstarter, and how I back the projects I love.
A little background first: I never got the chance to play Mega Man when I was a kid. It wasn't until 10th grade, sitting at Decipio's house consuming giant cartons of Goldfish, that I got to finally see what the fuss was about. I'm not the biggest fan of 8- and 16-bit graphics, but the game was very fun, and beating levels was pretty gratifying. I liked it far more than Mario, since not only could you jump, but you could shoot. But I wasn't a fan, so I didn't know anything about Mega Man X or Mega Man Legends until the fiasco with Fat Mega Man and the collective sinking feeling of the gamer world that Mega Man would never come back. But two bright spots of hope have appeared for fans of the series: Mega Man's appearance in Smash Bros, and Mighty Number 9, created by Inafune himself.
The rewards for backing MN9 are pretty sweet.
- $5 gets your name in the credits
- $20 gets you the game itself (which is a very fair price, I think) on PC
- $60 gets you a physical retro-style box with a retro-printed manual (your choice of Japanese or English, not region-locked!), digital art book, digital soundtrack and in-game golden color variation (no physical game available, but you get the Steam code with it)
- $175 gets you all the previous plus a printed art book, two t-shirts and a plushie
- $10,000 (I skipped a few rewards) gets you dinner with Inafune. 6 people are already going to do so, and three more have the opportunity.
When you think about the price of most t-shirts, plushies, art book/strategy guides, and games in boxes, it all sounds like you're paying the correct prices, not more, so the return on your investment is pretty big as long as you end up enjoying the game. But I think it's bigger than just our personal enjoyment, which is why Kickstarter is so important.
There are 4 projects on Kickstarter that I've donated to, and all of them are not just because I want the product itself. I of course donated to A Hat in Time at $15 to get the game, but I've also donated to Punished Props' Prop Space Gun Project and to the Men vs Cosplay Calendar. All three of these seemed to promise something I want to see more of in the world. A Hat in Time looks like retro-style gaming done right, with an emphasis on fun gameplay. The Prop Space Gun is all about providing cosplayers with a tool to create better original characters and aid those cosplayers who don't have the fabrication skills of others. As you can see from the page, the gun fits in well with Borderlands, Mass Effect, futuristic Assassin's Creed and just about anything else you can think of, like the Nerf Magnum revolvers but high quality. It's an equalizer. The Men vs Cosplay Calendar is because I really don't like the trend of female cosplays moving only towards sexy cosplays, and think a calendar of dudes with a nice balance between sexy, armored and clothed cosplays would be useful in pointing out the problems I see in cosplay to anyone who questions why I don't show skin. I may not be completely invested in the project, but if I want the product and something that can make the hobbies I love better, I'll support it.
Which brings me to why I supported MN9: I want to play the game, and I want to play some of the older Mega Man games too, but it's also about sending a message about consumerism to game companies. In a time when other game companies are actually rehashing too much and are too stuck in the past, Capcom seems to be doing its best to piss off fans and squander the millions they could make off of renewing the Mega Man franchise, and seeing Inafune break free of the idiocy of that system and take control of his own vision is very refreshing. I think Mighty Number 9 can herald in a new era of games that are broader in scope than indy titles but don't require the insane budgets, cutscenes and marketing that go with a AAA title. Mid- and low-tier games were beginning to disappear for a while, so maybe MN9 can bring back that much-needed sector.
What do you think about it? Here's a couple other interesting Kickstarter articles from around Kinja, buried deep in the tag system: Erdnase asks questions about how important it is to know what the money is spent on, and Hazzard provides a cautionary tale about using Kickstarter for physical products without a dedicated customer base to pull from.