Hi there! My name is Thomas Brush, and I've been making games since I was a teenager. Because of Kickstarter, the emotional story of an ex-minister's journey through Hell called Pinstripe was released to glowing praise in 2016 from Steam, The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine. After five years of solo development, I couldn't be prouder of what we released together.
After Pete wakes from a strange coma, he discovers things aren’t exactly as he remembers. His home-town is overrun with naughty children, and the grown-ups have vanished.
Pete quickly learns of massive insects, child-eating zombie-parents, other-worldly puzzles, and intricate maze-like forts woven together throughout a large late-summer dreamscape. The same forts Pete and his gang built a year earlier are suddenly larger, stranger, and more dangerous than ever.
With the help of your childhood pals, your pet bird, and your father’s trusty razor blade, it’s up to you to discover the secret of your missing sister and the bizarre world around you. To do this, you must learn various pieces of music written by your sister scattered across the world. Play them on your old piano to unlock secret passageways, clues, and new abilities for traversal across the increasingly threatening landscape.
Leave the safety of your home-town of Reddington, and fight your way through insect-ridden childhood forts, like The Spiderian Well, Bloodwick Hollow, Ashcliff, Fluffbucket Deep, and Blackfork Hospital.
Engage your childhood pals in make-believe side-quests, like finding your best friend Preston’s home-made Coma Cards, a fun little card game revealing secrets about the world, creatures, bosses, and characters, rumored to give you magical abilities.
- A piano-centric, beautiful soundtrack inspired by Debussy and Chopin.
- Old-school, simplistic Zelda-inspired adventure featuring hack-and-slash mechanics, monsters, and collectables.
- Learn to play the game’s soundtrack on your piano.
- 6 Eyvind Earle-inspired, hand-drawn worlds (home-town, fields, water-well, forest, underwater, mountains, and more!)
- Fight your way through a bizarre cast of enemy types and bosses!
- That wonderful feeling of childlike wonder and exploration you used to get when you played games like Ocarina of Time, Super Metroid, and Super Mario 64.
- Did you and your buddies ever try and make a card game when you were kids? Pete and his buddies did, but they were stolen. Collect all Coma Cards for bonus abilities and outfits!
- Engage in hilarious dialogue trees reminiscent of Night in the Woods and Undertale.
Once Upon A Coma was lucky enough to be nominated by SXSW this year, featured at PAX’s Indie Mega Booth in 2017, and nominated for Best Action/Adventure at Denver DreamHack in 2017. I’m extremely honored to be listed among some incredible games at these events.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to make games. It all started when I was 3, watching my older brothers freak out when they opened the Super Nintendo on Christmas morning. But, believe it or not, after my first commercial release last year, I was burnt out, and wanted to quit indie game development altogether.
Prior to Pinstripe's release, Serenity Forge and I began working on the bones of a 1:1 HD re-release of Coma, but I wasn't really feeling the project. Even worse, after Pinstripe's release, I found myself wishing I wasn't a game developer. I took some time off, and spent some time talking with Z at Serenity Forge, and my dad. They both encouraged me to look hard at what made Coma special. That's when I found the time to finally sit down and play the original, the game that millions of player enjoyed almost a decade ago.
We scrapped the original plan of creating an HD Coma remake, and decided on making a full-on sequel, with all new graphics, music, mechanics, characters, and a brand new plot. And that's when Once Upon A Coma was born.
Along with Serenity Forge, my friends and family continually reminded me of what made Coma so special, and ultimately, woke me up. They reminded me why my childhood dream of being a game developer was so important.
There’s a very loud voice in my head that says I can’t be lucky twice. To be honest, I’m more frightened to launch this Kickstarter than the last one, because I know how important this is. Being an indie dev with a wife and brand new daughter is tough, but I know that I've proven myself to my fans, backers, and ultimately, myself, with my recent release of Pinstripe on Steam, Xbox, and PS4. I know that together, we can make an incredible game again, and this time, make it even better.
Because of your support, and the support from Serenity Forge Studios, I can confidently flesh out Pete’s strange adventure, and make it as epic as possible! I’ll be partnering with a brilliant developer and a long-time Coma fan, Erik Coburn, who will code the game, giving me time to do what I do best: music, story, art, and game design.
The gaming community craves games like The Legend Of Zelda, but it’s strange how rare games like these really are. Moreover, 2D adventure games done well are even rarer. My dream is to not only take inspiration from the Zelda franchise, but to also translate that into the classic side-scroller 2D space. It’s a difficult challenge, but that’s where your constructive criticism and encouragement comes in.
It’s also a story-driven adventure game about exploring a strange and beautiful world. That feeling that we all felt when we were kids is a huge theme in Once Upon A Coma — things seemed bigger, stranger, prettier, and more connected when we were children, and it’s my goal to bring that sense of adventure to your PC, Mac, and Linux.
Once Upon A Coma is about 50% complete. The core mechanics, look and feel, music, and story have been completed. The remaining 50% of a game’s development is notoriously known to be the most difficult, so your support through this expensive and exhausting phase is super important.
Fortunately, I've grown exponentially as a developer since my previous game's release. I’m smarter than I was during the development of Pinstripe, and Erik Coburn and the team at Serenity Forge will ensure development is on schedule. Your support will pay for various production costs associated with making any game (localization, ratings, team salaries, equipment, etc.)
With your help, and the help of the team at Serenity Forge, Once Upon A Coma is scheduled for release in Fall of 2018 for Steam, GOG and GameJolt!
I've never considered myself a "real" musician. I can't really write or read music, but I know what makes me feel something, so I'll typically guess and check while I record piano until it feels right. That's why Once Upon A Coma's piano-centric soundtrack was heavily inspired by Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune. That song makes me feel something, and I knew I wanted to game to feel like that.
Once Upon A Coma's prequel, Coma, and my other adventure game Skinny, received multiple music awards for their unique and atmospheric soundtracks. Like Pinstripe, Once Upon A Coma is unique in that the visuals, story, and music are all created by myself, leading to a rich world that is atmospherically cohesive and rich with emotion.
Full transparency: Serenity Forge's investment in the game was a year ago, and revenue from Pinstripe is certainly helpful, but this is not enough to make Once Upon A Coma what I know it can be. That's where you come in. With your support, Once Upon A Coma can be taken to the next level. I can invest more time, energy, and resources into making it one of 2018's best indie titles, I know it!
When I released the first Coma installment almost a decade ago, the game received resounding support from millions of players across the world, but Pete's world can be so much more.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know that the Kickstarter community is, in a way, a safe-haven for indies like myself, similar to that of the Flash community years ago. An outlet that allows for not only pre-ordering, but also ways for you to get involved in the project, and ultimately ensure studios like mine can make great games, just like the good old days of Flash, Newgrounds, and Salad Fingers. Your support for games like Once Upon A Coma is essentially one of the few effective ways small studio’s like mine can remain in operation.
With your help a beta build will be available for testing in July of 2018, and the final build in Fall of 2018. Once Upon A Coma will be released for PC, Mac, Linux, and maybe even Nintendo Switch, all because of you.
Once Upon A Coma’s total development budget including but not limited to this campaign is $158,000 USD (includes hours put in already + hours for this summer), coming from Pinstripe revenues and support from Serenity Forge. Serenity Forge will be providing development support from one of their brilliant developers, Erik Coburn, while also helping publish the project. Making a great game is difficult enough, so the support from Serenity Forge’s marketing team will ensure the game is released to as many potential players as possible.
The Once Upon A Coma team is spread all across America. From the offices at Serenity Forge in Colorado, to the small home office of Thomas' Atmos Games Studios in South Carolina, we're small, young, but extremely dedicated to making profoundly impactful games.
Atmos Games (aka Thomas Brush) is responsible for game design, story, art, music, and anything other than coding in Once Upon A Coma.
Serenity Forge will be coding and distributing Once Upon A Coma. From near death experiences to rediscovering the American Dream, Serenity Forge makes games that are unique and meaningful.
Some icons by on this page were designed by jr1018 from Vecteezy. Font Barkentina used with permission from Kiril Zlatkov.
Risks and challenges
Once Upon A Coma draws plenty of inspiration from Ocarina of Time. The unavoidable challenge of taking inspiration from a 3D adventure game and translating it into a side-scroller is certainly a challenge. Fortunately, I have a great team, including Erik Coburn, who is constantly researching, testing, and build a world that feels like Zelda, but works well in a 2D side scroller space. I've also had almost a decade of experience creating games of this nature, and feel confident I have learned what I need to to make an incredible side-scroller experience rich with Zelda-like mechanics and inspiration.
I'd also like to be transparent about the schedule. Many of you know that my previous game Pinstripe took almost 5 years to make. An obvious challenge and question is: "What's going to stop Once Upon A Coma from taking 5 years as well?" Two things: first, my team. Erik Coburn is a genius developer, and has already built a system that would have taken me 2-3 years to create. I'm not kidding. Additionally, I've learned so much. About 75% of Pinstripe's creation timeline was due to inexperience, and frankly, learning on the job. I was also working part-time on Pinstripe. Now, I have a team, experience, and more than 40 hours a week to dedicate to the adventure.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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