Kickstarting success: Becker alum crowdfunds game
Published on: September 4, 2020
Making independent video games is hard work, and finding the funding to make them can be even harder. But Becker College graduate Christian DeCoster ’19 recently found a way to bring his vision to life, by asking the crowd for a hand.
By the time his campaign was completed, DeCoster’s game, “Don’t Take It Personally, I Just Don’t Like You” had surpassed its funding goal on the popular Kickstarter platform.
DeCoster, who majored in interactive media with a concentration in game production and management, said he came up with the idea for the game after noticing that there seemed to be a genre missing in the world of gaming.
“I thought about how so many genres we find in other mediums (action, drama, mystery, horror) could also be found as games, but there weren’t a lot of the sort of coming-of-age romance stories,” he said.
According to the pitch for the fundraising effort, “Don’t Take It Personally, I Just Don’t Like You” is a lo-fi relationship dramedy about camping illegally on government property in the chill of early autumn, having public anxiety attacks in crowded shopping malls, the people we choose to be with, and what we do when they don’t choose us back. Watch the trailer here.
“It’s also about finding friends (and maybe some people who can be more than friends) in your first year of college in a new city,” said DeCoster. “The setting, a small college in the middle of a city in New England, will be fairly familiar to anyone who’s been to Becker.”
Working with a small team that included Ashley O’Handley a character artist and current Becker College student, and Lofi Dreams, who wrote all the music in the game, DeCoster created short game prologue to gauge people’s interest.
The prologue shot up to near the top of the Itch.io downloads board and has been getting consistent downloads since then. In fact, the prologue has received more than 10,000 downloads.
Based on that result, DeCoster decided to finish creating the game. The next step was to get funding. DeCoster decided to ask the growing gaming community to help them build a bigger and better game through a crowdfunding campaign.
“We made a big list of possible incentives, taking some ideas from other Kickstarters, and capitalized on the fact that our characters were the main draw of the game and people would want to support their favorites,” DeCoster said.
DeCoster said his experiences at Becker helped him with the fundraising effort.
“The many networking opportunities and extracurricular talks helped with marketing and setting up the Kickstarter,” he said, “as did the time I spent working with MassDiGI.”
In the end, DeCoster’s Kickstarter effort was even more successful than he had hoped. While his goal was $5,000, he was able to raise $7,722 from 210 backers.
“That extra funding means we can polish certain areas up, expand the soundtrack, and we’re even doubling the sprite count, all of which will make for much more polished end product,” said DeCoster. “I’d just like to thank everyone again for their support, be it from backing the project, sharing it on social media, or leaving a review on the demo! All of it makes such a huge difference.”
“Christian’s talented team really earned this opportunity,” said Tim Loew, executive director of MassDiGI (The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute at Becker College). “I’m looking forward to playing the game once it launches.”