Kickstart? Kickstart… er…
There are a couple of exciting new additions to the blogroll. Escape Games Review is a weblog detailing the burgeoning exit game scene in the Greater Toronto Area; an excellent complement to Toronto Room Escapes. Both cover news, reviews and a few more general-purpose tips; both write extremely well and have very exciting developments to cover. (One extended metropolis can host as many different sites as exist in the UK and Ireland!) Toronto Room Escapes does not shy away from using the full extent of their ranking scale and the engineering perspective they can bring is welcome as well. Different people will have different preferences, but the more different perspectives that reviewers can bring, the better you can get a sense of whether a room might be for you. This site looks forward to being able to link to, and compare opinions with, other UK and Irish exit game blogs.
The Escapist Society covers the exit games of the Netherlands. At time of publishing, there were 18 sites listed for a country with a population of under 17 million. The Netherlands has always been a country where they appreciate puzzles and smart games, so it’s no surprise that the genre is popular there. The site is attractively designed with a good eye for beautiful pictures and contains good information about each site. Budapest has always been the place to dream of for a visit with exit games in mind, and Hungary is one of the best-value places to visit at the moment, but this site offers more reasons to consider stopping off at the Netherlands along the way some day.
As well as these examples of crowdsourced journalism, the wisdom of crowds often manifests itself through crowdfunding, and Intervirals had a cracking article on the topic. There are several crowdfunded exit game projects that have made it to fruition, but several others which haven’t. (A case in point: there’s a current Kickstarter for a site in the Netherlands, based in a bus. Well, that’s unusual, and looks extremely cool!)
However, Kickstarter is far from the only crowdfunding platform. There have been a couple of exit game projects in the UK that have used Indiegogo. Back in April, this site wrote about the crowdfunding campaign for QuestRoom of London. Sadly, the crowdfunding campaign didn’t make it. However, the campaign said “The plan is flexible; we’ll find a bank loan for the missing amount if we need to.” However, QuestRoom founder Zsolt Fejer has recently been interviewed by Financing Start Up Enterprise. It goes to show that just because a crowdfunding campaign is not completely successful, the project is not necessarily doomed. Keep following the QuestRoom Facebook for further updates, surely!
Another example is that of Can You Escape? of Edinburgh. The Indiegogo campaign had a tremendous video and this site wrote about it, but the site didn’t become fully funded, and the plan to open in time for the Edinburgh Festival didn’t come to fruition. However, all good things are coming to those who wait and the Twitter feed is full of exciting information. This isn’t just a UK phenomenon; in the US, Trapped NYC’s Indiegogo didn’t get too far but this site, too, has made it to fruition (even if as a second location of another site, cutting down on the administration overhead).
So these are examples of crowdfunding campaigns that didn’t succeed but sites that are making progress nevertheless. Essa’s original article points to four successful campaigns as well. The question is: why do some campaigns succeed and others fail? It’s hard to know for sure, but this site very much enjoyed the Doubleclicks’ reflections on their own successful crowdfunded project. Now they may be a band rather than an exit game project (though if ever there were to be people writing music about an exit game, it would be as likely to be them as any other band at all…) but some of their reflections may well still apply, not least the one about putting yourself out there to get credibility first. It would be interesting to see if an already-successful exit game might be able to parlay their name recognition into success further down the line.
One other interesting project is being funded on pozible, a crowdfunding site with a focus on Oceania and South-East Asia. Australian company Pop Up Playground have been, among many other things, putting on their Fresh Air festival in each of 2012 to 2014, and they are crowdfunding for their 2015 festival. The most interesting-looking part is the prospect of “a bespoke puzzle adventure experience by the team from Escape Room Melbourne, designed just for Fresh Air“. Fingers very firmly crossed that that can come to fruition!