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Wasteland 2 – How Kickstarter is changing the way everyone does everything

March 22, 2012

Some of you as old as I am might remember this….

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That’s right… Wasteland.  The game that came out in 1988 featuring a turn based post-apocalyptic tabletop RPG, where you ran a team of up to 6 characters with unique skills trying to survive and thrive in the harsh environs of an irradiated future. The characters faced moral decisions, sometimes disturbing reminders of the horrors of nuclear war, and giant rabid mutated bunnies…  

To many folks, this game was their first exposure featuring such a setting (though other games, such as TSR’s Gamma World, had been on the market for years at this point). Video games reached different audiences, and as we looked down the barrel of our ICBM’s at Russia in the 80’s, this game was… relevant.  

Still, for a video game, there wasn’t much going on until Wasteland came on the scene.  It’s fans are legion, and despite decades passing, a recent Kickstarter has shown that mutant dreams really can come true.

Brian Fargo, founder of the video game company Interplay, has used Kickstarter to bring to life a long running dream of resurrecting this franchise for PC and MAC users (with rumors of a possible tablet format before they’re all done).  After numerous rejections in the now very corporate world of video games, Kickstarter is allowing good ideas like this to get off the ground and circumvent corporate greed that has killed so many good and beautiful things. (Insert lost cause here).

It makes me wonder what the possibilities might be as this idea begins to evolve.  Certainly, there is the opportunity to fund great ideas by small entrepreneurs, building an empire of the New Creatives that can produce their untainted dream product.  While there may be some instances where editing and oversight are good things, we can see lots of examples where the “suits” have trashed a really great idea based based on policies, surveys, polls, marketing reports, etc.  

But maybe there’s also the distinct possibility of a market flood when all this potential for funding gets out (which, you know, is happening right now).  You have to presume that people will spend their hard earned dollars on the best ideas, and apply liberal common sense.  Maybe I’m just too cynical, however, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see slicker promotional videos in the future promoting less phenomenal products.  The potential for a  smoke and mirrors vaporware product seems high, considering that many might aspire to do more than anyone realistically could, money or no money.  

We’re seeing a moment in economic history where technology has risen the consumer/producer relationship to its most perfect state in human history.  Will it unleash a monster? Will corporate greed somehow insinuate itself into this process?  Will the system get glutted with Edsels?  Or will things continue to grow and improve in ways that we never thought they could? 

I’m holding my breath for a Cadash 2, Kickstarter… Let’s see that.

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