Four years ago, we raised $20,000 on Kickstarter to open the doors on America’s first dedicated, open to the public, all-playable video game museum. Since then, we’ve gathered over 5,000 games and over 100 consoles and computers, while our free classes have hosted more than 400 students!
We’ve now grown beyond the confines of our original space, and have found a new home that is double the size. We need your help to secure the space, move in, and continue to grow the museum!
The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) is a 501c3 non-profit video game museum located in Oakland, California.
Our mission is twofold: “To preserve videogame history through playable exhibitions, and to inspire the next generation of game developers.”
In practice, this means themed exhibits of playable games and free programming classes for the public. Some examples of exhibits we’ve hosted include The Art of Games, the Sound of Games, Women in Game Development, Baseball Games, the History of 3D, the History of Platformers, African American Game Developers, and Randomly Procedurally Generated Games. Our classes have always been, and will always be free. Thus far, we have covered a range of topics, including Scratch, C, Android, Photoshop, Presonus, ProTools, and Unity.
The MADE was founded in 2010 as a non-profit institution to preserve Alex Handy's find of unreleased Atari 2600 and Colecovision games on bare EPROM chips. In 2011, the MADE successfully raised $21,000 on Kickstarter, ostensibly to fund 6 months of operations in a location somewhere in the Bay Area, near BART, that was accessible to the public. On September 27, 2011, the MADE opened its doors for the first time at its current location of 610 16th St., Oakland, CA.
With a rent of $1.07 per square foot for 2,107 sq ft of space, on the second floor of an old office building in a questionably safe neighborhood, the MADE began operations during some very difficult times. Early on, we hosted events that were interrupted by riots, dumpster fires, Occupy Oakland, BART and bridge closures. We’ve put up with crime in our neighborhood, and cars being broken into. The MADE has weathered the trials and tribulations of a growing city, and despite the hardships, we’re now bursting at the seams with events, people, and artifacts.
In the past 4 years, the MADE has expanded its operations to include an additional 1,000 sq ft of space across the hall, including a dedicated classroom and an old computer storage facility. And yet, we’re full! It’s time to grow.
Over the span of 4 years, we have acquired around 5,000 catalogued items, with even more in storage rooms full of donations waiting to be processed. We not only preserve these items, we make them publicly available. Our collection is open to researchers, developers, and fans, in accordance with our view that preservation be publicly accessible.
Our biggest preservation project is an in-progress relaunch of the first graphical MMO, Habitat, for the C64. We've published lost GamePro TV episodes and saved thousands of items from the recycling bin or scrap heap.
Our children's Scratch class has taken place every Saturday, rain or shine, and has given over 400 children their first taste of computer programming. By the end of our classes, every kid has made a game.
Common quotes from our kids include, "Oh, that's why we learned about x y coordinates at school!", "How do I make the cat shoot?", and "How do I make gravity?" These phrases come out of the mouths of little girls and boys who've never even seen a mouse or PC before.
In September of 2013, we opened the David and Sarah Scott classroom. Our new classroom took us from serving 3 or 4 kids per weekend to serving upwards of 20. To date, over 400 kids and adults have taken our classes. Sadly, that classroom closed in March when the ceiling collapsed. Our new facilities should accommodate 20 kids in much more comfort and safety than before.
In January, we opened another new room, the Danielle Bunten Berry Retro Computer lab. Inside, we're housing a massive and on-going donation of old computer hardware and rare accessories. In our new space, we'll be expanding the size of this room, but keeping its name and purpose intact.
Our educational program suffered a major blow at the beginning of March when the ceiling in our classroom collapsed and destroyed our 18 computers and projector. The equipment in the classroom had been donated by the likes of Google, Dolby and KIXEYE, but it has all been destroyed. No one was hurt, but it was a definite sign that we need to move into bigger, newer facilities. We've already acquired replacement equipment for teaching, thanks to Wargaming.net and Kixeye.com, but this aging building is not fit for the MADE's future.
The MADE has also become a popular space for tournaments and other events. The biggest crowds show up for Super Smash Brothers (4 and Melee), and our weekly tournaments routinely bring in 40-60 players. Add in Game Jams, school tours, lectures, board game workshops, and musical acts, and our 2,107 sq. ft. space starts to feel very cramped. Internet access in our current location is inadequate, especially for streaming our many events.
We've begun looking at a number of potential spaces for the MADE's next home. They range in size, shape and location, but all are in downtown, or West Oakland, all are near public transit, and all are first-floor space with easy access. Currently, the MADE resides on the second floor of an office building that is 103 years old. You have to be buzzed into the building through a call box. You cannot see anything about us on the exterior of the building. We're hidden.
The number one spot on our list of potential spaces is located near the Kaiser facilities in Oakland. We don’t want to be too specific before we can sign paper with the building owners, but here are the numbers for our favorite space, a 4400 sq ft retail facility:
- 4400 sq ft with a 5.5 year lease and an option to renew at the end.
- 6 Months free
- Year 1 $4,000 per month
- Year 2 $4,500 per month
- Year 3 $5,000 per month
- Year 4 $5,500 per month
- Year 5 $6,000 per month $50,000 in Kickstarter funds will be divided as follows:
- $14,000 rent for the first month, last month, and deposit
- $10,000 to redo the floor, which absolutely must be done, and is the reason we get 6 months free.
- $5,000 moving expenses for boxes, vans, people, etc.
- $5,000 paint and supplies to paint walls and floor.
- $8,000 for 2 months rent after 6 months is up.
- $3,000 for Kickstarter rewards.
- $5,000 in Kickstarter fees.
- Anything left over goes towards more rent.
This is the absolute barest budget we can create for moving into a new space. We’re certainly hopeful that we can raise more, as we have some awesome stretch goals in mind, some that even involve an exhibit using teletypes!
That’s getting ahead of ourselves, however. We have scheduled tours of our potential spaces for September 19, and will update this Kickstarter with photos and info on them shortly there-after.
Not only is it time for us to grow, but if we raise these funds, the space we’re hoping to get will be magnificent, and a major step up for the operation. Our plans for decorations include green pipes everywhere, lots of perler bead pixel art, and a hearty round of bolting old broken hardware, like Rock Band guitars and Playstation 2 controllers, to the walls.
Given these funds, the space will look amazing. Given even more, it will be more available and better staffed!
In short, a new space will allow the MADE to continue to grow its operations, and to bring the people of Oakland, of the Bay Area, of the world, more of the important work we're already doing to preserve our videogame heritage, and to ensure that "these kids today" turn into the programmers and artists of tomorrow.
Our current major project is the relaunch of Habitat, the original graphical MMO for Commodore 64. This project has already taken one year, and will likely take another, but as you can see, we've made major progress resurrecting this ancient MMO which runs on extremely specific server hardware. We've worked with and continue to work with original developers Randy Farmer, Chip Morningstar, Stratus, Fujitsu and former members of LucasArts to make this a reality. We were utterly delighted to see just how excited, enthusiastic and helpful all parties have been in making this happen. We are currently working on bringing AOL, owners of QLink, into this project, as well.
In terms of preservation, the MADE inherited the entire history of GamePro Magazine shortly after our doors opened in 2011. This collection spanned from the Atari to the Playstation 3, and included thousands of rare games and items. It also included the only known copies of the GamePro TV show from 1996.
We took steps to secure the first public release of the second GamePro TV series from 1996. These 6 videos are free to view on YouTube. If we cannot publicly release the fruits of our preservation efforts for free, we move on to another project. Our preservation work is uniquely focused on bringing lost video game assets into the public domain, rather than into some offline archive or warehouse.
Similarly, we collaborated with Mr. David Cox to release this lost footage about the making of Radical Rex, an important documentary that shows in-depth just how SNES games were made.
We worked with the Oakland Museum of California to create a Minecraft version of Oakland. This was put on display and made playable in the OMCA, and over three days, kids played together in the streets of Oakland, building huts, tossing dynamite, and fighting Endermen.
We've hosted dozens of community meetups and talks. Luminaries like RJ Mical and Kurt Larson have spoken at the MADE. John Romero took on all comers at GDC 2014 on our Doom LAN, and we uploaded the videos of him pwning newbs.
At the beginning of 2015, we began working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to brief the US Copyright office in defense of reverse engineering and rebooting offline game servers that are no longer supported by their creators. Our briefing was submitted to the Copyright Office, and we are currently in the comments phase where we're working to answer questions raised after the initial submission. We’ve since worked with the EFF to follow up on this briefing and answer the Copyright Office’s questions.
One of the things you should definitely know about the MADE is that we are extremely thrifty. We do not spend money without absolutely needing to. For the first two years of operations, in fact, the only funds spent were on rent, Internet and insurance. We didn’t even have to pay for power in our current location.
Since that time, more funds have become available. Not that we went crazy with spending: it wasn’t until January of 2015 that we spent our first funds to buy two new televisions and wall mounts. Up to this point, we’d used entirely donated TV’s and monitors. Our tournaments demanded HDMI and fast refresh rates, so we bought two $250 televisions
The only funds we have ever spent on games or other exhibit artifacts have been at local thrifts, fleas and the White Elephant Sale. We try as hard as we can to spend money only at local businesses.
Instead, our ever-expanding collection comes from donations from people like you. Every weekend people show up with boxes of old stuff to donate. Our collection now includes over 5000 games and over 100 consoles and computers. This includes the entire GamePro collection, and a recent computer donation from a woman who had a storage locker filled with UNIX and home computer history. This donation included teletypes, Apple II’s and Amigas.
All donations are tax deductible, minus the value of the items you receive. After we’ve completed the Kickstarter, you can request a tax write-off with your rewards.
Visitor: $5 - Incredipede, Dying Light in-game item code, soundtrack, art, Thanks
For $5, you get a copy of Northway Games’ Incredipede, a physics puzzle game that was honored as a 2013 IGF Finalist. Thanks to generous support from Techland, you also get a free in-game item for the hit 2015 game Dying Light, as well as the soundtrack and a digital artbook. Finally, donors at this level will be added to a “Special Thanks” section of our website.
Gift Shop Visitor: $25 - Swag Bag: Sticker, Postcard, Button
At $25, we will mail you a sticker, button, and postcard designed by our in-house graphic designer Suzanna Koolidge. Includes all the rewards from the Visitor tier.
Advocate: $50 - Add a T-shirt to all previous rewards.
Add a t-shirt designed by Suzanna Koolidge.
Member: $100 - Add a poster and a 1 year membership to all previous levels
If you’re a local, consider donating $100 for a 1 year membership to the museum! Members get in for free, and allow you to play titles from our collection with no time limit. Members also get access to any of our paid events at no charge.
If you’re not around the Bay Area, don’t fear, we haven’t forgotten you. You also get a poster designed by Matias "delcar" Del Carmine.
VIP Member: $250 - All previous levels plus 1 2 year membership, or 2 1 year memberships to the MADE, and your name on our donor wall in small print.
Donor: $500 - All of the above physical rewards, plus your name plaque will be on display in the 'Premium donors' section on the wall in the entrance to the museum.
Super Donor: $1,000 - All lower level physical rewards, and your name on wall in our donor mosaic.
Sponsor: $10,000 - Name or logo in largest print, above Donor wall.
This is ideal for corporate sponsors looking to make a mark of support on the MADE.
Super Choice Donor: $1,000 - Appear as a character in Space Dave, the new game from Choice Provisions, creators of the Bit.Trip series.
Choice provisions, formerly Gaijin Games and creators of the Bit.Trip game series are working with us to provide this unique reward. Your name or a name of your choosing will be used for a character in their upcoming game Space Dave.
Patron: $2,500 - Name on a display case.
Put your name engraved on a small plaque, on one of our display cases. Limited to 5.
Exhibitor: $5,000 - Design an exhibit with the MADE team
Is there a designer you feel doesn’t get enough recognition? Do you want to highlight games that tackle difficult subjects with grace and nuance? Maybe you just love fighting games and want everyone to know? This is your chance to design the exhibit of your dreams! Come work with our experienced team to pay tribute to your favorite games and creators.
Exhibit Hall Sponsor: $10,000 - Name the exhibition room.
Your chosen name will be emblazoned upon the wall of our exhibit room. Memorialize someone special to you, or pick a name you feel is special. Or name it after yourself! Includes all the rewards from the Sponsor Tier. Limit 1.
Classroom Sponsor: $10,000 - Name the classroom.
You will choose the name for our classroom. Includes all the rewards from the Sponsor Tier. Limit 1.
We appreciate you taking the time to read through this giant wall of text about what we do and why we need your help. Our all volunteer staff has worked very hard on their own time to get the MADE to where it is today. With your help, we’ll be able to continue this work and build the MADE into an internationally known institution.
We have definitely filled up our experience meter. Now, it's time for you to help us level up.
Video Help Thom Wineland - PixNStones
Poster Design - Matias "delcar" Del Carmine
MADE Kickstarter Team:
Peter Kwangjun Suk
Suzanna Koolidge (Skoolidge.com)
A big thanks to our sponsors over the years:
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge the MADE faces is continuing to find sustainable sources of income and donations after moving into our new location. Imagine us moving in and not having enough resources to successfully make it to the one year mark. (Actually, no, don't imagine that!) We are working hard to not let this happen, and given a successful Kickstarter, we anticipate more corporate sponsors to help us shoulder the burden.
Under the current budget, the MADE would have 8 to 10 months of runtime before it would have to start paying rent out of income and donations.
Power, internet, and insurance would come from the MADE's existing income stream, which currently totals $20,000 per year as a baseline. We've made much more than this through sponsorships and donations in years past, but that $20,000 is the only amount that is guaranteed right now. To date, the MADE's yearly income for 2013 and 2014 was ~$60,000.
That income stream will hopefully change and increase significantly, as we start charging an admission fee, hosting more birthday parties, and open a small gift shop. But we're not counting on that in the projections. We want to be as realistic as possible with our estimates.
If the unthinkable happens, the MADE either goes in a storage locker and we regroup, or we donate everything to Stanford University, which has the world's largest curated collection of videogames and computer games. That's always been the plan if we could no longer support running our museum.
We have survived through to 4 years, thanks to sponsorships from companies like Dolby, Google, Sony, Kixeye, Jon Peddie Research, Perforce, Wargaming.net, and generous donations from David and Sarah Scott, and of course, Will and Anya Wright.
Even if we don't reach our target goal, however, we are already planning logistics for sending out Kickstarter rewards. Our first Kickstarter in 2011 saw us packaging up rewards and sending them out within 2 weeks of successfully ending the campaign. Within a month, everyone had their stuff in their hands, worldwide.
We consider it our highest priority to send out the backer rewards once the Kickstarter is complete. We pride ourselves on this, actually, and our current team still includes people who stuffed envelopes, printed address labels and drove boxes full of mailers to the post office.
A portion of the $50,000 will be used to send out rewards, pay for shirts, and all the items. This has been factored into the donation levels. This money will be taken out of the Kickstarter funds first, before we move. Math around this will be updated on the Kickstarter as more people donate. The more donors, the cheaper the stuff for us to produce. Discounts kick in for us having the stuff made in the range of 500's and 1000's, so get those t-shirts and buttons, folks!
Upon completion of the Kickstarter campaign, we pledge to send out backer rewards by the end of the year. T-shirts, stickers, posters, postcards, buttons and other small items will all be mailed out before we ring in 2016. This will not include names on walls and other in-museum rewards, though we anticipate completing those in a similar timeframe.
In fact, last time we did a Kickstarter, there was a 6 month lag between the time we completed mailing out the items, and the time when we actually moved into a space! Our donors had their items for a full 5 months before we moved into our first home. Your stuff is our highest priority, primarily because we would not even be here without your generosity!
Even if the MADE were to burn down in a fire, we'd be sending out the shirts and items. Even if we close up shop and send everything to Stanford, we'll still send you your items. Even if we fail after 6~10 months of operations in the new space, you'll already have your shirts, stickers, games and buttons.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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