1000 backers in 24 hours!!
50 Years TL;DR: a poem:
- great first day
- Reddit AMA
- plz tell all your friends
- pledge tier recommends
What an incredible first day!! Exactly 99 minutes after launch, we blasted through the funding goal of $29,000, and as of this morning are sitting pretty at $99,418, over 340% of our goal.
I don’t know what to say other than thank you to those who’ve backed, and I’m working hard to deliver you the best version of this book I can! Also: let’s blast this thing past $100K 😎😎😎
I don’t plan on bugging you daily about the campaign, but I did want to put out some high-priority updates right out the gate: hope you’ll bear with me.
If you haven’t backed yet, you can still join the fun and:
…by clicking the lovely green button!
Ask me Anything on Reddit
Tomorrow (Thursday June 9th), I’ll be doing an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit’s popular /r/Games channel. If you’re not familiar with AMAs, it’s basically just a chance to ask someone with an interesting story or project any questions you like (on or off topic) live via posting. The AMA will run Thursday from about 7am PT (10am ET) through 10am PT (1pm ET).
This is a big community with lots of general-interest games folks, so I’m a little nervous about what the reception to a book about (gasp) games without graphics might be over there. If you’ll be around on Thursday morning and wouldn’t mind dropping by to ask a question or hang out in the comments, I’d appreciate it! I’ll post a direct link on my Twitter when the AMA goes live, or you can look for the post that morning on the /r/games main page.
Update: here’s the link!
Help Me Signal Boost
I’ve put together a collection of resources to help spread the word about the project to your communities, including images to reshare and summary descriptions. I’d love to build on this fantastic day-one momentum and keep getting the word out to wider audiences. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated!
Figuring out the different pledge levels on a Kickstarter page can be tricky. If you’re still on the fence about backing, I wanted to offer a more personalized summary of what the different rewards will get you.
This is the 650-page 50 Years book in two different formats: a PDF which matches the layout of the printed book, and a reflowable ebook which will work on Kindles and other digital devices, and will be screen-reader friendly. Note that all higher pledge levels come with these digital versions, too.
Best pledge level if: you don’t want a physical copy, but still want to support the project; you want the web articles in a format easier to consume on e-reader devices
The cheapest physical edition of the book, an 8” x 10” 650-page book. These are professionally offset printed, meaning the quality will be equal to books put out by pro publishers: the interior pages will actually be printed at the same time as the hardcover and will be of identical quality.
Best pledge level if: you want a physical copy on a budget
Premium Hardback ($85)
This is reason I’m doing this campaign! Print-on-demand won’t get you deluxe books like this: the 650-page book in an extremely cool leather-feel cover, with a silver foil stamped title, a bookmark ribbon, and some other nice perks. The current cover design features the large debossed years “1971” and “2020” bookending the title, uninked: debossing means they leave a physical impression in the cover, and uninked means they’ll just be visible from the pattern of light and shadow the edges cast, which will look very cool. (You can see this effect on a real book at the top and bottom of the Absolute Sandman covers.) This tier also comes with access to an online portal with bonus content and links to play all the games that are still available, a great bonus to supplement what’s printed in the book.
Best pledge level if: you love collecting gorgeous books; you want a sturdier copy that will hold up to time and heavy reading; you agree this looks pretty boss
Collector’s Edition ($125)
This is the definitive version of 50 Years of Text Games, and includes all the content produced over the course of this two+ year project. You get the premium hardback in a limited, numbered edition (a gold-printed foil stamp will show your unique number on the title page). It’s protected by a custom slipcase with cool unique text art showing the titles of all fifty games…
…but even cooler: tucked inside the slipcase is also a 60-page bonus book, Further Explorations. This is chock-full of never-before-seen material that just couldn't fit in the main volume: bonus articles on fan-favorite text games like Planetfall (1985), Anchorhead (1998), and A Dark Room (2013), and overviews of some overlooked micro-genres not included in the main fifty games, like wordplay games (Counterfeit Monkey, The Gostak) and even hacking simulators! It’s also got the most detailed timeline of text game history ever assembled, chronicling hundreds of events from the publication of Tristram Shandy in 1760 to the release of PunyInform in 2020.
Here’s an exclusive sneak peak at the timeline which hasn’t been seen anywhere else yet. Gray backgrounds indicate the debut of new text game authoring tools, and note the cross-references by year to articles in the book.
Best pledge level if: you want the definitive version of the book; you want to show this off to your friends; you want to get a memorable gift for a fellow fan
Ultimate Collector’s Edition ($185)
I’m so excited about this one. It’s the slipcase Collector’s Edition, plus a slick bonus box of cool physical items that give you a tactile connection to these games and their history. There are five bonus items in total which will be revealed across the course of the campaign: the first two are a real piece of paper punch tape from the 1970s, used by early gamemakers to store binary programs, and a high-quality poster print of one of the maps from the book. The remaining items are even more exciting: stay tuned through the rest of the campaign for the reveals.
Best pledge level if: you love collecting cool stuff; you remember Infocom’s “feelies” fondly; you want to snag the most collectible version of this project; you enjoy Advent calendars (ADVENT calendars??) or suspense
This tier nets you an Ultimate Collector’s Edition, a second slipcase Collector’s Edition to gift to a friend, free shipping, a one-hour consultation with me about anything you like, and prominent credit as a Patron in all editions of the book. This is for folks who really loved the project and can afford to spend a little extra to show their support for it—and it’s greatly appreciated!
Best pledge level if: you want a second gift copy for a friend and some bonus karma; you have money and feel like I should have some of it
I will straight-up write you an original 50 Years article on any narrative game of your choosing. Sort of like how Jeff Bezos decided he wanted a Lord of the Rings TV show and gave Amazon five hundred million dollars, except much, much cheaper! Honestly I didn’t think I would get any takers on this, but incredibly, two superfans have already pledged at this level, earning more kudos than Bezos ever will even if the LOTR show runs for a dozen seasons. (Thanks, folks! <3)
Best pledge level if: you are Jeff Bezos and still have any petty cash left over; you have the means and inclination to commission a well-researched article on computer game history
That’s all for now! I’ll try to keep the self-promotion to a minimal level here on the Substack; do please stay tuned, though, because next week I’m debuting a new 50 Years article on a fascinating 80s game that’s not very well known, a bit of a gift for long-time fans of the series.
Thanks as always for your support, and until next time,