About this project
Hi, I'm Ray Barnholt, creator/editor of my own video game history magazine, SCROLL. In the two years making it, I've typically kept the subjects of issues under wraps until they were done -- admittedly for no other reason than my own amusement. But this time I'm coming to the public with several opportunities to make the next issue of SCROLL the best it can be, with a tribute to my favorite game series ever and a big interview with the man who created it.
SCROLL is about old stuff in a new way. I describe it as "video game history uncorked," which is a fancy way of explaining an approach different from other retro game books or magazines: the simple act of looking at obscure, weird, or just unique subjects in games. SCROLL has been routinely praised for its design, its cover subjects, and how it treats them. This year's issues are even more focused on "uncorking" games that people have either never heard of or never heard much about. And issue 10 has the potential to best represent what I want to accomplish with the magazine.
SCROLL Issue 10
The tenth issue of SCROLL is called "Summer." And as much as summer is about kids getting outside and being active at the end of the block or in the backyard, there's no doubt that many of us spent just as much time holed up in the house playing video games. The most memorable games can be associated with memorable times in our lives, and the inherent freedom of summer months bolsters those memories even more.
But more than that overarching theme, issue 10 is a tribute to my favorite games of all time: a Japanese PlayStation game series called Boku no Natsuyasumi ("My Summer Vacation"). It's a nostalgic adventure that is also about having fun as a kid in wide-open spaces, despite the fact it's in a medium often known for the opposite. The games are sweet and beautiful, and again, they're my favorites -- when I discovered the first game 13 years ago, it was like it spoke to me with its charming childhood story and lovely scenic backdrops. Last year I wrote a brief overview of the series at Unwinnable, so if you're already interested in learning about the games and want to know what to expect from SCROLL issue 10, go ahead and give that a read.
Issue 10's Big Idea
SCROLL issue 10 may not seem too different from the others, but my biggest goal for it -- and the one that inspired this Kickstarter campaign -- is an extensive in-person interview with the creator of the My Summer Vacation games. I would love to spend a few hours discussing his life and times, and what he thinks of the series after a so-ten-year run. Adding this interview to issue 10 would practically confim it as the most personally important thing I've done, and I'd love to share it with you.
The good news is this part is already on its way -- all involved have given their go-ahead, and right now there's no reason to think it won't happen. However, while existing SCROLL revenue could cover a decent amount of the expenses in even a short trip to Tokyo, it would still be a pretty big stretch to pay for all of it that way (including paying cover artist Jacob Smiley for his work), so the successful funding of this project would give a nice financial boost towards making this all happen.
The plan is not just to make issue 10 the best issue of SCROLL, but as the following section shows, it's also to provide a special edition for all backers, and allow some of you to directly contribute to this celebration of summer, and the games that represent it.
To be absolutely clear, anyone outside Kickstarter will be able to buy issue 10 as easily as any other once it's finished, but those who do back this project can get something unique in return:
- Issue 10 Backers' Edition
As mentioned, talented artist Jacob Smiley (who you can also see interpreting Dragon Quest III in SCROLL issue 02) is providing the cover art for issue 10, and he's prepared to pull double duty. Everybody who pledges enough money to get a copy of issue 10 through this project will get the "Backers' Edition" of the issue, an exclusive variant cover with alternate My Summer Vacation-themed art by Jacob.
- Issue 10 Limited Edition: Basically the same as the Backers' Edition, yet even better: the Limited Edition will be print-only, and numbered and signed by me. The run will be extremely small -- 125 copies as of project launch. (While the LE is print-only, the PDF version of the regular Backers' Edition will be included for good measure.)
- Art print: The Limited Edition is also available in a package that will include a giclée digital print of Jacob Smiley's cover art, suitable for framing. Also available in other tiers; please see sidebar.
- Editorial contribution
SCROLL has not been totally open to other voices -- it's basically a passion project for me, and I wanted it to reflect that -- but this will change slightly for issue 10. Those who pledge in the "Contributor" or "Ultimo" tiers will be invited to send in a short gaming-related summer memory that will run along the bottom of the issue's pages throughout the feature articles. Exact details will be forthcoming once the campaign ends, but be aware that the contributions are expected to be only a couple of sentences long, so plan on keeping it short and sweet.
- SCROLL print collection: After a new issue comes out, there will be some people buying every issue just to keep up. For like-minded people who haven't done that yet, the most expensive tiers include most every reward, plus a collection of every previous issue of SCROLL in print. Your coffee table will never be the same.
While I have my optimism, I've meant for this to be a relatively modest campaign, one that covers the main goals and not something designed to explode into a glittering frenzy. It's just one issue, after all. Regarding the funding goal, the non-travel-related money is naturally going towards making and shipping the rewards (which is what really makes up the bulk of the total, as I don't save much money buying copies of my own magazine compared to the public). That isn't to say there's no plans for wiggle room if/when things get a little explodey, but we'll see what happens, and updates will be sent out accordingly. At the end of the day, this is a one-man project, and completing the issue trumps all.
I've written about the My Summer Vacation series before, and have surprised (and annoyed) many of my friends when I mention it or try to get them to play it, but that was all on a small scale. With SCROLL, I feel I have the biggest and best platform to finally do the games justice in the way I've always wanted, simply by telling you about them in the pages of the magazine.
Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your pledge.
Risks and challenges
The good thing about SCROLL is that it's rarely had any risk. By using third-party services, the overhead has stayed low and it's more or less paid for itself. However, with this issue, some things could always go differently. Should the project not get funded, or the interview fall through (or both), I still intend to go forward producing issue 10 as planned with the same basic content -- there just obviously won't be the special editions or any of the other rewards.
Speaking of the rewards, I've estimated that getting all the physical stuff made, sent to me, and shipped back out will take at least another few weeks after the issue is completed, and made sure to note that in the reward descriptions. There could always be a hold-up somewhere with that, though, but I don't foresee something as bad as this "Summer" issue being shipped out in the fall. And virtually every tier includes a PDF download so as to get the content to people as early as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I've purchased some print issues of SCROLL before -- would you offer a way to customize the issues I get in the Big Box/Ultimo collections?
Within the context of this Kickstarter project, that isn't super reasonable. If you did buy the remaining issues yourself, for instance, you'd be paying just a few dollars more each than I would if I did the same thing (assuming you're American), so I feel it's better to offer them all in one lump. Plus, those tiers are geared more towards newcomers to the magazine. But either way, you could always give your duplicates to a friend!
Being digital, that doesn't make much practical sense. You can go to http://scroll.vg right now and buy all of them at once, and I still get paid for that. And you'd get them immediately!
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