GSWW: Challenge 1.2 – “Let’s Kickstart This”

Welcome back to the GameSkinny Writer's Workshop! This week, we're convincing a group of friends to fund a Kickstarter campaign.
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The winner of this challenge was Eric Nicolai, with this article about That Dragon, Cancer. Click here to check it out

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Hey folks! Welcome back to the GameSkinny Writer’s Workshop. 

Before we dive into our next challenge, let’s congratulate Corey Holmes for being last week’s challenge winner! To check out his news article on Blizzard’s lawsuit victory, click here. And if you missed last week’s workshop stream, you can watch the archived video here

This challenge is for the week of Monday, Nov. 24th – Saturday, Nov. 29th! Read on for more details. 

Last week, your challenge was to write a news article that answered five questions about an event: who, what, when, where, and why. This week, we’ll be working with a similar structure. Because…

Our Next Challenge Will Focus on Kickstarter Projects. 

Most of you are probably at least a little familiar with Kickstarter. If you aren’t, it’s a web platform where developers and entrepreneurs can crowdsource funding for various projects they’re working on. Kickstarter has become a central tool for the indie gaming industry, because it allows small, independent game developers to show their ideas to the public and receive donations to make those ideas a reality.  

Kickstarter (or the similar site Indiegogo) is full of talented developers and interesting ideas. Sometimes these devs get more support than they need. But sometimes they don’t, and a lot of great ideas have to be trimmed down or scrapped altogether. 

Several popular indie games began as Kickstarter projects, like The Long Dark, Risk of Rain, and Divinity: Original Sin. Can you guess what else got its start on Kickstarter back in 2012? That’s right – the Oculus Rift. Kickstarter isn’t just a place for games, it’s also a place for new gaming technology, like the Rift’s VR capabilities. 

Writing about a Kickstarter is not only a good way to exercise your journalistic muscles, it also helps the developers get more exposure and reach a wider audience, which translates to more funding and a better chance of a successful campaign.  

Click here to read a great example of a Kickstarter article. 

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When writing a news article about a Kickstarter, there’s a lot of information that needs to be covered. Luckily, you can still use the “five questions” template from our news challenge last week – all you have to do is make a few minor tweaks. Like your previous challenge, you’ll want to focus on being as informative as possible without overloading your reader with information. Brevity is still key here, as well. 

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Your article for this week should answer the following questions: 

  • What is the Kickstarter project is about? Is it a game or a piece of tech? If it’s a game, what’s the premise and genre? If it’s tech, what is it trying to accomplish?
  • Who is working on this project? What’s the name of the studio? What previous experience will the devs bring to the table? 
  • When did the campaign start, and when will it end? Also, when is the game/tech set for release?
  • How much money does the campaign hope to raise? What are its financial goals? How close is it to reaching them? What features will be added as new goals are reached?
  • Which platforms will the game be released for? Or which platforms will the new tech be compatible with?

Once you’ve got all those bases covered, feel free to add a little bit of extra information about the developers, the progress of the campaign, or even some quotes from the Kickstarter page. Whether you’re talking about a game or a new piece of tech, you should definitely write about any special features. If it’s a game, what unique mechanics can we expect to see? If it’s tech, what are the specs?

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Remember to include a link to the Kickstarter page in your source so interested readers can support the campaign!

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This Is Your Mission, If You Are Willing To Accept It:

Browse through some of the current projects on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. (Use the links below to get started.) When you find one that interests you, read through the project page, look at the concept art, watch the trailers or developer videos, and play the demo (if there is one). Here are some links to get you started:

Once you’ve picked your game and studied up on it, imagine this: 

You and a group of friends find $100 while walking down the street. You can’t agree on a fair way to split it, so you decide that you’ll donate it to a Kickstarter campaign. (Suspension of disbelief will be necessary here.) Now write an article about your chosen Kickstarter that would get your friends interested and persuade them to donate. Try to answer any questions they might have about the campaign. More importantly, make sure you answer the question they’d all be asking: “Why should I care? Why should I donate to this project?”

You might, for example, tell them about a cool feature or story premise that makes the game stand out from others. In the example link above, the game was a unique blend of a trading card game, an MMO, and an RPG. That sets it apart from other projects, and would probably entice people to help fund it. 

See how that works? Imagining that you’re trying to convince your friends to get on board with a project really makes you think about what makes it unique and why its worth supporting. You want to be as informative as possible, but you also want to intrigue your readers and perhaps even sway them a little. Just make sure that your personal opinions about the project do not overshadow the most important information (those five questions listed above). 

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When you write your article, try embedding the Kickstarter widget in your text. You can do this by clicking the Embed button that appears under the main video/image on your chosen Kickstarter page. Then you copy (Ctrl+C) the widget code (the one on the right). Come back to your text editor and click on the HTML button in the top right corner (see below). Find the spot where you want your widget to go, and then paste (Ctrl+V) the copied code directly into the HTML menu. Click update, and the widget will show up in your article. It should look like this (click the pictures below to play GIFs): 

 

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Mission Objectives

  • Articles must be at least 150 words.
  • Answer the five questions: what, who, when, how much, and which?
  • Make sure you’re both informative and persuasive.
  • Be sure to link the original Kickstarter page as your source.
  • Fill out all parts of your Bonus Points tab.
  • TAG YOUR POST’S BONUS POINTS TAB WITH THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE TAG: GSWW 1.2

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Remember to invite your friends to join our GSWW challenges!

And follow our tag, #GSWW on Twitter, Facebook, etc. for updates, hints, and questions.

Again, this week’s tag is: GSWW 1.2

(We can’t keep track of your piece if your tag isn’t there!)

The winner of this challenge will be announced during our live Twitch.tv GSWW stream. During these streams, I (your loyal weekend editor) will sit down with you all to workshop, promote, and feature some of your articles.

This week’s stream will go live Sunday, Nov. 30  at 9:00 pm EST. To watch, click here.

Good luck, gamers. And happy writing!


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Auverin Morrow
Resident SMITE fangirl.