Kickstarter Spotlight: Sword of Fargoal 2

In a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment, it was suggested to me that maybe I could do a write-up here about current Kickstarter project Sword of Fargoal 2. You know what? Absolutely. I should have been doing this kind of thing since three months ago. Making an awesome game or prototype is less than half of a success story; marketing is arguably more crucial even in the traditional publishing model, but definitely so in the crowdfunded model. What good would it do anyone if one of the world’s greatest games floats out there in the ether, known only to eight people because it didn’t get needed exposure?

I’ve already been giving advice to Kickstarter creators that they sometimes take (most notably, Two Brothers moved the soundtrack reward down to $25 from $50), but I can do more. Starting today, I begin highlighting any Kickstarter games that I back.

Sword of Fargoal 2

Great Things about the Game

  • It’s a roguelike: a rare genre, to say the least. Root for the underdog!
  • The art is done right. Retro styles aren’t always handled well; many games attempt them and fall into the 8-bit or 16-bit equivalent of uncanny valley—they almost look old-school, but not quite. Something tiny is off that. Sword of Fargoal 2 nails the art correctly and genuinely.
  • Visible equipment changes in a 2D game. Between 2D RPGs and adventures, I’ve played probably over 150 games and I can remember two with visible equipment changes: Wonder Boy in Monster World and Landstalker. It was cool there and it will be cool again. I love seeing the results of a character moving through progressively more awesome equipment, so rock on, Fargoal 2.
  • Random dungeon generation
  • and a high challenge level. I like lootin’ time always and I like clobberin’ time when it’s a two-way street. Dungeons, dragons, monsters, mayhem, swords, slimes: I want it all.
  • Great Things about the Project

  • A responsive creator who personally acknowledges backers. This is a project creator who really knows communication. Even if you put aside everything I mentioned above about why I like the looks of Sword of Fargoal 2, Jeff shows enthusiasm and energy and that alone would convince me that he has a great game in the works. When you have something good going, you know it—and when you know it, you show it!
  • Giving away the first game for free for a limited time. I downloaded it even though I can’t play it for the time being—I know, I know: how can a person even live in this modern era without having an iPhone?—but it’s an admirable and audacious attempt at attracting an audience. In fact, this is one of the possible ideas to get eyes on a project short of giving away free money. (That’s banned on Kickstarter anyway.)
  • Creative reward tiers. A Sword of Fargoal letter opener? A working Commodore 64 and disk drive? Who thinks of this stuff? A clever and creative mind. In other words, exactly the kind of person I want making video games.
  • A creator who also believes in Kickstarter. I back projects big and small based on the game, but I especially love seeing a project made by someone who also helps others realize their dreams.
  • How much did I pledge? Why not less and why not more?

    The first two reward tiers I look for when backing a Kickstarter game are the game and getting into the credits. If I like the music, I also look for the soundtrack. Sometimes these tiers mix, match, and merge. With Sword of Fargoal 2, $15 got a PC copy of the game and soundtrack, so that set a minimum. Getting credits on the game’s website happens even for $1, but getting credits in the game was all the way up at $100.

    While I appreciate any chance to get into a game’s credits and get the Jelly Paladin studio name out there in even a tiny way, $100 is a bit much unless there’s something special about those credits. (It can be justified; I’ll comment more about how Kickstarter creators price credits another time.) I might have made the jump if I had separate reasons to go up to the $75 level, but almost all of the rewards above the $15 mark center around physical goodies and I’m not much of a collector.

    However, the $19 tier gave access to all kinds of looks into the making of the game, which is invaluable insight to someone who’s slowly getting an indie studio off the ground to make an RPG and certainly worth another $4. (I backed Phantasmaburbia up to a similar behind-the-scenes reward level for the same reason.) There were other additions in the $19 tier, but these were the important ones for my money.

    All in all, I pledged $19 to Sword of Fargoal 2 for a game, its soundtrack, making of notes, and a thank you on a website. Pretty good haul!

    Where’s the Kickstarter at?

    The project is currently just above half of its $50,000 goal, which is pretty modest, so do give them a look and a backing if you have a heart for classical, challenging, survival-driven, never-the-same-twice RPG experiences.

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    1. Pingback: Kickstarter Spotlight: Rainfall: The Sojourn | Game Design and Deconstruction

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