A Double Fine Adventure Indeed

In last week’s update, I lamented the tepid learning technology of my youth in comparison to what the children in the Minnetonka Public Schools are using.

While Oregon Trail and Math Blaster Plus were a far cry from the cool stuff kids get to use today, those old titles did foster my love of computers and video games. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? gave way to Might and Magic II, which eventually led to The Secret of Monkey Island, my first SCUMM game, and favorite of all time. The 90’s was the decade of the adventure game genre, and, with respect to Sierra’s ‘Quest’ games, LucasArts games were the coolest. I have fond memories of wiling away the hours playing Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Full Throttle.

After spending a while on the Google machine revisiting these classics, I stumbled upon an interesting story regarding Double Fine Adventure, a forthcoming point-and-click adventure game by Tim Schafer, designer of a number of LucasArts games, including The Secret of Monkey Island! The tale of Double Fine Adventure is interesting for a number of reasons, but it all centers around the unique approach his company, Double Fine Productions, took to generate funding for the project. Rather than trying to pitch his adventure game to traditional game publishers, Schafer decided to instead appeal directly to consumers via Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding website for creative projects.

Schafer knew that there was a market for his game, but felt that no publisher would take a risk on an adventure title. Schafer’s Double Fine colleague and partner in SCUMM,Ron Gilbert, wrote in his blog: “From first-hand experience, I can tell you that if you even utter the words “adventure game” in a meeting with a publisher you can just pack up your spiffy concept art and leave. You’d get a better reaction by announcing that you have the plague.” 

Schafer’s goal of raising $400,000 was obliterated within 8 hours of their company’s announcement of the project, and currently stands at $2,422,107.00. In a few weeks since his announcement, Schafer has managed to establish a market for his game, side-step the meddling publishers, and get a remarkable amount of free publicity. Double Fine’s is a bona fide underdog success story, for sure. But it is also an example of how connectivity via the internet is significantly impacting, and perhaps upsetting, the way entire industries have done business for decades.

Interesting things on the information super-highway:

2 thoughts on “A Double Fine Adventure Indeed

  1. Carol Hinz

    Oh no, that mention of Math Blaster brings back some bad memories. My mom used to make me play Math Blaster to improve my math skills over the summer. Let me tell you, it was not my favorite part of summer vacation!

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