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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Kick it

With all the talk about Kickstarter (launching soon in the UK, in case you didn't see the recent comments discussion) this seems like a good moment to mention a game venture by Howard Phillips, the original "Gamemaster Howard" at Nintendo US.

I had the privilege of working with Howard a few years back when I was at Elixir Studios developing the game Dreams for Microsoft. Howard was my sounding-board for design ideas - but, much more than that, he was the project's champion at MGS. We were trying to do a Sims-beater (or at least a Sims-challenger) and Sims 2 was just about to send the Microsoft execs scurrying for cover; so having a bold, passionate champion like Howard was essential. It didn't save our project (I knew from pretty much the day I joined the company that the release of Sims 2 would kill us) but I got to work with the best darned group of people I ever met in my life and we did work we could all be proud of. And that's not nothing.

I quickly came to appreciate that few people in the industry could equal Howard's instinctive grasp of gameplay. So when he says he has an innovative game idea and he's looking for backers on Kickstarter, this is in another universe from the twits who are jumping around saying, "Hey! I never did a comic/gamebook/whatever in my life but wouldn't it be cool?" Know-It-All sounds like it'll be fun, it's original, the guy behind it has a track record second to none, and on top of all that he's one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet. If any project deserves your backing, it's this one.

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