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The story of a music game which forged lifelong friendships, only to be abandoned by its company, and embraced by its community.
The story of a music game which forged lifelong friendships, only to be abandoned by its company, and embraced by its community.
105 backers pledged $8,223 to help bring this project to life.

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Touching Sound - The Technika Documentary project video thumbnail
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$8,223

105

Update: WE ARE FUNDED!

Our Backers will be able to help us decide which of the following stretch goals to pursue:

  • Korea Trip (NEEDS $9500 TOTAL): Fly to Seoul, Korea, in attempt to interview members of the Technika development team, members of Technika owners Neowiz, and Technika-successor team Nurijoy. 
  • East Coast Trip (Option Now Available!): Fly to New York, New York, and adjoining New Jersey to film American East Coast Technika players, and their historic arcades at Chinatown Fair and 8 on the Break.
  • Festival Submission (Option Now Available!): Submit to premier film festivals across the world (reserving some funds to attend particularly prestigious ones, should the need arise. 
  • Theater Premiere (NEEDS $8500 TOTAL): Rent a theater to hold a premiere for the finished film, to which all backers will be invited, and all $140 level backers (and above) will be special guests! (Will be held in Northern California.) 
  • Korean Subtitles (Option Now Available!): Create Korean subtitles, added automatically to all DVD and Blu-Rays! 
  • Expedite Delivery (Option Now Available!): Fund time to work exclusively on Touching Sound (as opposed to working the project in addition to other work), expediting its completion by several months (relative to part time work schedules). 

Note: Unallocated funds will be added to a miscellaneous fund to supplement other parts of the budget.

QUOTES:

"One of the negatives of any video game that relies on internet functionality for any major feature is that one day, that service will be shut off, leaving fans of the particular game in the wind(...)such was the case with DJMAX Technika..." - Arcade Heroes

"...a very exciting documentary focused on the DJMAX series [including] firsthand accounts of taking the series outside of Korea." - Nichegamer

"...this story deserves to be told!" - Arcade Belgium

The Technika story - the story of a rhythm game that was abandoned by its company and embraced by its community - a story too long left untold.

We plan to portray the Technika story in the form of a half-hour to 45-minute documentary. We will chronicle the history of Technika, its rise to prominence, its gradual decline and sudden end of online service, and the state of the community today. We need your help to do it.

To Korean Backers:

모든 한국인 테크니카 플레이어들에게.

해당 다큐멘터리는 미국 내 유저들에게 초점이 맞추어져 진행될 예정입니다. 하지만 우리는 전세계에서 ‘테크니카’라는 같은 게임을 플레이하였고, 같은 경험을 공유하였습니다. 만약 저희가 펀딩 목표를 달성하게 된다면, 저희는 한국어 자막 버전을 입힌 버전을 제작하게 될 수 있습니다. 저희의 테크니카 스토리 프로젝트가 빛을 발할 수 있게 프로젝트를 공유하고, 또 도와주세요. 이 프로젝트에 관심을 가져주신 모든 분들께 정말 진심으로 감사드립니다.

2009 – Apple’s and Google’s mobile app stores were almost one year old. Guitar Hero 5, the second-to-last Guitar Hero ever, was releasing alongside The Beatles edition of competing rhythm game Rock Band. The first iPad hadn’t been announced.

One game would make a quiet, international debut that year – a game which sought to reinvent the game genre which was fading from the mainsteam, using the technology that was about to enter it. It was called DJMAX TECHNIKA, and it was exclusive to arcades.

Technika arcade machines
Technika arcade machines

Its unique gameplay, 27 inch touchscreen, and blend of Korean pop sound and slick techno looks drew in arcade regulars and passersby alike. The people who waited in line to play the game got to know each other. Friendly rivalries spurred connections which spread beyond the arcade, across coasts and over seas, and held fast for years.

And after just 4 years, the game franchise died, leaving its community to disperse and abandon everything that had brought them together. 

This is the story of the game which would never be the biggest name on the block, how its sound brought people together and changed their lives, how those people couldn’t save the game from oblivion, and how they still might.

Technika players reminiscing outside arcade - the only way in which Technika's history has been regularly preserved. [Touching Sound microphone at left]
Technika players reminiscing outside arcade - the only way in which Technika's history has been regularly preserved. [Touching Sound microphone at left]

Technika is one of the least well-known and most interesting case studies in gaming. It accrued a passionate and tight-knit community, and couldn’t sustain itself for more than 5 years. The question of why it died is a fascinating one for observers and game developers alike.

Technika is a mystery. Even for its own community, much of the game’s history is shrouded in rumor and 1st person accounts of playing Technika are only available to those who know veteran players in person. With Touching Sound, we can, for the first time, preserve and analyze Technika’s history in a form that anyone can access.

We have made significant progress so far. On the good-will of numerous volunteers and contributors, we were able to acquire basic equipment, permission and cooperation to film at the 2014 Best of the West music game tournament, where we filmed the entirety of the year's first post-offline-era Technika tournament.

We have conducted over 15 interviews with a variety of important personalities within the community including:

  • Josh “Equinox” Rosario - Founder and Operator – Cypher Gate Technika Wiki
  • Jeff “[ICNH]” Lloyd - Best of the West Tournament Co-Founder, Organizer
  • Jason Kenney - Golfland Entertainment Centers Arcade Division/General Manager
  • Mark “Billyjr82” Johnson - Technika Cabinet Owner and Tournament Organizer
  • Steve “Meatspin” Foster - Technika Community Member, Tournament Champion
  • Anthony “Serika” & Marjorie “Butters” Bui - Met via Technika, subsequently married
  • Mitch Stoltz - Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Attorney – Member of the E.F.F. (A non-profit organization which fights for internet rights), leading an effort to make it explicitly legal for the public to create and maintain servers for software which has been abandoned by their companies.

And a variety of players and their unique experiences including:

  • Al “Yongjun” Tuialuuluu
  • Andy “DJTurtle” Castro
  • Ben “SFXAzure” Kirzhner
  • Carl “Ephshi” Valencia
  • Chelsey “KIWEE” Yang
  • Derek “Dickey” Dickey
  • Eric “Drayneo” Andrus
  • Emily “Extrio” Hung
  • Matt “Phn!x” Brettrager
  • Oliver “Telpie” Wing
  • Tu “Madokami” Le
  • Warton “Piroko” Chan

But much is left undone.

In spite of the amount of interviews already conducted, there are at least 3 more which are absolutely integral to the film:

  • Michael Yum was among the founders of P.M. Studios, the company which first localized Technika outside Korea. They brought Technika to the world, and took on the task of introducing it, becoming idols amongst the community they created.
  • Eddie Lehecka founded the music-game website Bemanistyle in 2002, which quickly became one of the largest online communities devoted to rhythm games. He assisted Yum in promoting Technika, eventually becoming a Product Manager with Pentavision Global through the release of Technika 3. 
  • John “JET” Edward Torres was a huge force in the community, organizing tournaments, and founding the Note Reapers Technika crews. He is referred to by some as the 'father' of Technika.
  • Our connections have opened also up the possibility of interviewing members of the Technika development team, including lead programmer Feels, Art Director Panax, and video animator Z_B.
  • Additional interviews with members of the Indonesian Technika community are also being considered.

Although these potential interviewees have expressed interest in participating, the costs of transporting a crew and equipment to Los Angeles to do filming are too considerable to attempt without assistance.

Almost none of the interviews we've filmed have been transcribed. The editing process for the film necessitates that the 12+ hours of material recorded so far (and all future interviews), be analyzed and organized for the rest of the project to proceed. 

The Technika experience started with its music. To convey that experience, we seek to legally license actual Technika music for use in Touching Sound. Liberty Music Licensing, the company which licensed several Technika 3 songs, have confirmed that we will be able to pay to license the songs ‘You Should Get Over Me’, ‘Just for Today’, 'Ooh La La', and 'Victim of Love'. But the fees for doing so are substantial, and without outside support, such an action is unfeasible.

Compensation for our staff composer, who will be composing music to supplement the Technika licensed tracks, purchase of equipment to store the 400+ gb of footage involved, payment for color correction and payment for treatment and mixing of the thousands of lines of dialogue add a substantial amount to the project’s budget. Finishing Touching Sound is unfeasible on our own.

We need your help.

We are asking for $6500 to see the Touching Sound project to bare minimum completion. The money will be allocated as follows:

  • $3000 for acquisition of Technika song licenses and composition of original songs
  • $1000 for bare-minimum Sound Mixing and Color Correction services
  • $1000 for hiring out of transcription services for completion in a reasonable timeframe
  • $500 for transport, lodging of crew and filming of non-local interviews
  • $250 for purchase of storage media, and other equipment
  • $250 for creation and delivery of Kickstarter rewards
  • $500 [Kickstarter share of funds]

There are also a variety of other activities we could consider, [UPDATE: NOW POSTED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE!] should the Kickstarter raise funds in excess of these goals, including exhibition at film festivals, superior color correction and sound design, and more exotic trips (such as the East Coast’s iconic Chinatown Fair and 8 On the Break Arcades, etc.).

You will not go empty handed for your troubles in supporting the cause of Touching Sound. We want to provide you with as much value as we can for helping us bring the Technika story to the world, through the following Reward Tiers:

  • $3 - 3 dollars in remembrance of Technika 1, 2, and 3, and the knowledge that you’d helped their legacy be preserved. Credit on official listings as a backer (website, DVD-case, etc. NOT in film credits). Exclusive access to updates, polls and preview clips of the film.
  • $10 Original Touching Sound backer icon, suitable for general internet use, and official credit as backer in film credits. + All the above. 
  • $15 Digital download of the completed film upon release + all the above.
  • $25 Digital download of the soundtrack of original songs composed for Touching Sound (does not include any songs originally composed for Technika). Exclusive Touching Sound button pin. + All the above. (International backers, please add $5 for shipping)
  • $30 Physical DVD copy of Touching Sound, including Bonus Features (expected to include things like behind the scenes features/or a Kickstarter retrospective) + all the above. International backers please add $10. 
  • $40 Blu Ray Copy of Touching Sound including extra Bonus Features (DVD features + outtakes, non-used/long-form interviews) + all the above EXCEPT the DVD ($40 only includes Blu-Ray disc, does NOT include additional DVD copy). International Backers please add $10.
  • $55 Exclusive Touching Sound Keychain + all previous tiers; DVD & Blu-Ray combo. International Backers please add $10.
  • $75 Exclusive Touching Sound Poster, CD copy of soundtrack, and T-shirt. CD, poster and DVD/BluRay signed by Touching Sound crew. Additional shipping charges apply for all rewards at this level and beyond.
  • $130 Touching Sound full transcribed interviews booklet – a physical book copy with the full transcripts of the interviews, both used and cut from the finished film (including a general retrospective from the top-four players in the BotW 2014 Technika tournament) – a unique and substantive window into the opinions and memories of the Technika community. Your merchandise will be signed by members of the Technika development team. Premium Backer icon, in flat color of your choice, suitable for general internet use. 
  • $300 Tier Backers will be shown early, in-progress cuts of the script and edits of the film throughout production and asked for input and advice. Will receive finished film before all other tier members. 

    UPDATE: Thanks to our newfound connections, we are ADDING a new perk to the $300 Level: Ask a question to a Technika developer! We will convey one question of yours to one of the developers we meet (keep it respectful, but it DOES NOT have to relate directly to their work on the game) and make sure you get their answer, even if it does not go into the film.

    Signed Touching Sound Script. Credit as ‘Technikal consultant’ (name subject to change) in addition to backer credit. Consultant backer icon in non-gold/silver color gradient of your choice. + All the above
 
  • $600 Executive producer – top billing in credits. Supervisory position over other backers's advice. Executive Backer icon in Signature Gold, or Platinum Silver (other colors subject to approval, as we are considering rendering the finished icons in different, more elaborate ways than other icons) with your name or custom short message. Custom designed icon for inclusion in animated section of credits (also delivered in format for general use as internet icon). Name one of the songs made exclusively for Touching Sound (cannot be inappropriately vulgar) - opportunities to name songs will be assigned in order of backing, so supply is limited. Get exclusive, one-of-a-kind merchandise including posters, notes, early draft materials, and other items used in or to promote the actual documentary (selections will be in limited supply and choices for materials received will be given in backing order). 

* All art shown is placeholder - designs for covers, buttons, posters, etc. are subject to change, possibly to be decided via poll. *

Note that we're estimating a Fall shipping date in most rewards, but many rewards involve previews throughout the process which are hard to set an end-date on. We will be updating everyone on the progress and estimated shipping date throughout production.

Nick Dobkin

[Director, Producer]

A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (whose alumni include George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis), Nick was first introduced to Technika in 2010. The first time he saw it, a group he didn’t know was running a roulette, and asked him to join. His passion for the game and its community never faltered since. As part of his degree in Film Production, he produced a short Technika documentary showcasing the game’s concept. When online support ended, he took it upon himself to begin the arduous task of planning out one last attempt to chronicle the mark it left on its community.

Nick has created a variety of festival-featured animated and live action films. His latest project, Kanon Rock, also funded through Kickstarter, was an animation following the life of a conductor guided by the spirit of Johann Pachelbel to reimagine the Canon in D for the modern era.

Website: http://nicholasdobkin.wordpress.com

Galen Borson

[Original Composer]

A skilled Technika player, Galen has experience playing and associating with the communities of a variety of music games and cultivates a polished, iconic techno style. His inherent musical preferences and experiences make him the perfect candidate for imitating, augmenting, and complementing the music of Technika in composing original music for Touching Sound.

Galen is a graduate of Pyramind Training, certified in audio production and engineering. His songs have been featured in DDR Universe 2 and the Attack the Music album Frequency Blitz.

Website: http://galenborsonmusic.com/

Eric Le

[Sound Engineer]

One of the most pivotal members of the Northern California Technika community, Eric was known for hosting the ‘Kitchencore’ Technika community parties, which helped many music game enthusiasts make the jump to actual DJing. He offered his time helping to the project from the start, assisting with on-the-set microphone work and tuning up the recorded sounds.

Romy Abad

[Graphic Artist]

Romy was an enthusiastic Technika community member, known for creating and running monthly 'gimmick' tournaments in Southern California under the title Technika Specialists, and for founding the close-knit crew S4 League. He took it upon himself to create custom banners and promotional art for his crew and tournaments, which put him in a perfect position to assist in creating graphics for Touching Sound.

Remember the Past, Play the Future

Rainbow at Sunnyvale Golfland - filmed for Touching Sound
Rainbow at Sunnyvale Golfland - filmed for Touching Sound

If the Kickstarter Goal is not reached, there is little hope for the footage thus far taken being categorized and edited in any reasonable amount of time, much less for any efforts relating to additional interviews or acquisition of songs, which in effect means that the project, unlike others which have found alternative means of completion, will likely never see the light of day.

A half hour documentary is the perfect medium to tell the Technika story, and we have every reason and all the ability to tell that story now. Help us share the Technika story. Help us make Touching Sound. 

For information and updates, Connect with us on our Facebook Page

Risks and challenges

The largest risks for the project once funded are in the timescales. Prices for the acquisition of songs, the most expensive endeavor yet unaccomplished, have been confirmed at the amounts we’ve calculated, and other operations like transcription can be completed, slowly, even if money were to be used faster than anticipated. Operations like color correction or sound mixing have a reputation of being highly expensive but could be minimized (at some cost to quality) if the budget demanded as much. In the very worst case, it may take longer than expected, but once funded, there is extremely little risk that the movie will not be completed at all.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    $3 in remembrance of the three arcade versions of Technika. Access to exclusive updates, including surveys to determine aspects of the finished film, behind-the-scenes videos, and progress.

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    Exclusive Touching Sound backer icon. Backer Credit in film credits. + previous reward

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Early Digital Download of the finished documentary, emailed months before any public screenings + all previous rewards

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Digital download of the original soundtrack for Touching Sound (includes all songs made specifically for Touching Sound - no licensed songs from Technika will be included)

    Exclusive Touching Sound button pin. Please add $5 for non-US shipping. + all previous

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    DVD copy of the finished documentary, includes exclusive special features. Please add $10 for non-US shipping + all previous

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Blu-Ray copy of the finished documentary, including special features and extra interviews. DVD NOT INCLUDED + all other previous. Please add $10 for non-US shipping.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    DVD & Blu-Ray combo. Original Touching Sound keychain + all previous.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    CD version of Touching Sound original soundtrack. Exclusive poster and T-shirt. CD, DVD/Blu-Ray, Poster signed by Touching Sound crew + all previous.

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    14 backers
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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    Exclusive premium backer icon in solid color of choice for personal use.

    Touching Sound transcribed interviews booklet – a physical book copy with transcripts of the interviews, both used and cut from the finished film.

    Merchandise signed by members of Technika development team + all previous

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Access to early, in-progress cuts of the script and edits of the film throughout production and asked for input and advice.

    Will receive finished film before all other tier members.

    NEW: ASK ONE QUESTION TO A TECHNIKA DEVELOPER.

    Consultant Icon in gradient color of choice (not gold or silver). Credit as ‘Technikal consultant’ (name subject to change) in addition to backer credit + all previous

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    Executive Producer - Top Billing Credit

    Supervisory position over opinions of consultants and other backers. Signature Gold or Platinum Silver backer icon and custom designed portrait icon for inclusion in animated section of credits (also delivered in format for general use as internet icon) + all previous

    NAME ONE SONG from the original soundtrack. Opportunities to name will be given in order of backing. Limited to 8 backers to ensure everyone gets a choice.

    Exclusive 1-of-a-kind production merchandise including posters, notes, and first-draft materials (specifics to be clarified over course of production - choice of desired merchandise given in backing order).

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Funding period

- (24 days)