The Good, the Bad, and the Zapper:
Inspired by the best kinds of bar games (ones with simple rules that become more enjoyable the longer you play), by goofing around, and by my generation’s childlike enthusiasm for that piece of gray plastic, Super Russian Roulette (SRR) is a brand new party game for the NES. One unhinged 8-bit cowboy is prepared to call you yellow, call you crazy, mourn your death, or kick up his boots for the last time. One bullet waits in the light gun’s chamber. You, up to two friends, and The Cowboy take turns passing the pistol, spinning the chamber (or not!), and drinking to your own demise (or not).
I want to sincerely thank everyone who pledged, shared and supported the work that I do. The outpouring of support I've received for this project has been overwhelming.
I'll be posting a proper update shortly, but just know that at the amount this campaign has raised will allow me to implement some of the wilder ideas I had for the game / rewards, I can't wait to share them. Really exciting times, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I've added stretch goals! They're going to be seriously fun.
I've received many requests (plus a few threats from Australian friends) and I'm happy to announce that the game will be offered in versions for both NTSC and PAL regions! You'll receive a backer survey at the end to select which version you would like.
$60,000 - Taunt Contest
I've reserved 16 one-second samples for backer created taunts / nicknames. When the kickstarter ends I'll send a survey and we'll pick our favorites. Cowboy Rob will record the insults and they'll be included in every copy of the game! Winners will also be featured in the game credits screen next to their taunt.
Just a reminder, all of the existing dialog is PG and none of it is truly mean spirited (well, except if you shoot his teddy). Any submissions not within the spirit of the game will be disqualified.
Some existing taunts to get you thinking:
$70,000 - NSF Saloon
The "NSF Saloon" is an additional mode for the game that turns Super Russian Roulette into an album on a cart, with a player piano where you can listen to the soundtrack as well as bonus tracks that don't appear in the main game!
$80,000 - CHR Upgrade
I've taken the time to rewrite the animation engine to make the cowboy even more dynamic. If we hit this goal I'll update the specifications of the cart to include double the graphics (CHR) memory (128KB->256KB) to include all new animations drawn up by Alex Baderian!
$100,000 - ?????????
- Brand new cartridge hardware with 1 MEGABYTE (wow!) of program memory designed to push the limits of the NES and bring the character to life!
- Over 4 minutes of speech recorded by Rob Kurtz in glorious 8KHz Delta Pulse Code Modulation. Never was there another game for the system with this much human speech! Because it wouldn’t have made any sense!
- Fully animated cowboy drawn by masterful farmer and 3D-sculptor Alex Baderian. Customized outfits, facial hair, animations, and random behavior each time you play! We took advantage of the limited color palette of the NES to create only the most garish combinations.
- Original "Morricone-Meets-NES" Soundtrack composed exclusively for the game by Nick Gargiulo. You've never heard your NES whistle like this.
The NES has a special place in my heart. So when I set out to make a game using the zapper, my intention was to work deliberately: to push its limits and show what it could do. I thought the result might be funny, but I didn’t think it would be fun. Along the way, my technical endeavor turned into a project designed to amuse my friends. I worked on it with their input, and the game skewed dark and weird. We got a lot of satisfaction out of creating an NES-centered social experience that let people bond over discomfort.
We also liked the idea of a shooting game where the non-player character is on the same footing as the players. Besides giving the monitor a seat at the table and a cowboy hat, I used every 6502 assembly programming trick I know to make the cowboy lifelike. The cart’s designed to have room for a bunch of stuff too impractical to have ever been on an actual game—like a huge on-screen character with AI and over four minutes of a crazy human’s cowboy impression. Finally after almost no discussion, my friend Rob sent me an email attachment with 100 .wav files named “cowboy.zip.” Super Russian Roulette was born.
All of the (many many) late nights I spent programming were instantly validated the first time I witnessed the cowboy turn friends against each other, slamming their fists against the table and chanting in unison with a fictional character. I've heard the cowboy-assigned nicknames stick with people long after the game is over, and the players looked at each other as much as they looked at the screen which really is something magical.
I was floored to hear about how many people still had their NES hooked up in their living rooms, and many asked me for a copy but I had no plans to release Super Russian Roulette. Until Fantastic Arcade.
Super Russian Roulette won the Fantastic Arcade 2015 Audience Choice Award. It was a huge honor to be considered alongside some of the best indie games of the year.
So I started thinking that the audience for SRR might be bigger than I thought.
The step up from producing a single prototype to multiple copies is a big one. I’ve done it before, but it requires a substantial initial investment. I also have to fit production around my day job. Receiving a single batch of orders that I can work to fulfill over the course of a few months will help me with scheduling, and with fine tuning the process of making the carts in bulk.
Apart from Fantastic Arcade, I’ve brought SRR to a many small gatherings over the years to get feedback and whittle away the bugs. There are tweaks and enhancements I’d like to make, but the heavy lifting is finished.
I feel that it's safe to say the project is within my reach and very far along. See "Risks and Challenges" for more details.
It's my hope that this campaign will allow me to produce as many copies of Super Russian Roulette as there are people who want it, but there are some rewards which will only be available here:
- THE SOUNDTRACK: Five tracks composed exclusively for the game by Nick Gargiulo, lovingly written for the NES soundchip and recorded from real hardware. The download will also include some additional instrumental renditions only available for backers.
- THE STICKER: As special thanks for helping production get off the ground, Kickstarter supporters from the Magnificent Second Pledge Level up will receive an exclusive sticker designed by Christophe Richard.
- LIMITED EDITION HAND-NUMBERED CARTS: This release will be the only time you can get the limited edition black, numbered game carts in a handsome leather holster along with three cowboy boot shotglasses. This edition is limited to 100 sets and the serial number will be hand written on the cartridge as well as appearing on the game title screen. The holsters will be laser etched and hand numbered out of one hundred in the cylinder art.
- EXTREMELY LIMITED OPPORTUNITY TO BE IN THE GAME: Because I designed the development tools for SRR, it's possible to put in custom screens or substitute the sound files for very high-level backers. It does take a lot of time, though, so these modifications are Kickstarter exclusive.
- ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ GRATITUDE:
Anyone who purchases the game outside of the Kickstarter will only receive regular gratitude.
Risks and challenges
Late delivery is the greatest of all sins. With hardware related games, it's usually caused by:
1.) Promising something un-buildable
2.) Promising something you haven't built but believe you COULD build
3.) Promising something you've built one of, but which is difficult to make many of
4.) Being good at one part of a project (making a game) but neglecting another (making a cartridge)
These are real risks! Luckily I've done my best to address them already:
1+2.) Super Russian Roulette is already programmed and running on real cartridge hardware that I designed. It's been tested at festivals, parties, and basements many times over.
3.) Last year I delivered 250 carts for the game Star Versus by Dustin Long. I designed the electronics and assembled them all in the same lab where I'll be producing Russian Roulette.
4.) For the non-electronics parts of the project I've already secured contacts and/or material. I've sourced hundreds of plastic cart shells in past, and have a pallet of them in the garage to prove it. I have contacts for cart labels, manuals, and boxes already worked out. Even the leather holster reward has multiple sources.
I believe any real risk will be one I haven't predicted -- maybe something to do with shipping or moon phases or the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Which is why I have made the delivery dates DOUBLE what I think actual production time will take. If I can't predict it, at least I can dump time on it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)