Archive for 21 July 2013

The Megatokyo Visual Novel Game

Most webcomic artists use Kickstarter to sell pre-orders for a printed collection of their work. Not Fred Gallagher of Megatokyo. His non-Japanese manga webcomic about two American fanboys stuck in Tokyo is already available in six print volumes. He turned to Kickstarter to fund the creation of the Megatokyo visual novel game for the PC, Mac and Linux, using the open source visual novel game engine, Ren’Py.

From an interview with GameZone, Gallagher states:

The Megatokyo Visual Novel Game is a game based on my long-running webcomic Megatokyo. A Visual Novel is a form of interactive fiction with static graphics, background music, sound effects and a story with multiple paths and numerous possible endings. You play these games by clicking to advance the dialogue and graphics and making choices that cumulatively determine your story path. The game will be in three parts – the first part cover the content in the first three volumes of Megatokyo books, the second part covers the content in volumes 4, 5 and 6, while part 3 will be entirely new content with all the good, the bad, the neutral, the really bad and the awesome endings for the various story paths.

The response from fans was phenomenal. With a funding goal of $20,000 USD and stretch goals to $75,000 USD, nearly 5,000 fans gave under $300,000 USD in pledges. (I’ve pledged at the $35 USD level to receive all the digital downloads when they become available.) The visual novel will happen over the next 18 months, with part one due in February 2014.

According to Publishers Weekly, this kind of success isn’t unusual:

There are many more examples of successful comics projects on Kickstarter. Indeed this year comics projects on Kickstarter have a success rate of 48% (general publishing has a 32% success rate) and have raised more than $19 million funding 2805 projects so far this year.

The official website for the Megatokyo visual novel can be found here.

As a child I loved reading the classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, which is technically possible to do with ebooks. Creating an interactive visual novel is something that intrigues me. I have the writing and programming skills to make that happen. Alas, I’m not an artist. If I ever got serious about learning how to do black-and-white ink drawings, I might do a visual novel someday.

A Summer of Flash Stories 2013

Children Letters

After my family rented a house within walking distance of a public library, I visited the children department and signed up for the summer reading program to read a dozen books in three months. I would get a gold star for every book I read from the recommended fourth-grade reading list and a diploma at the end of summer. Things didn’t work out that way. I read a dozen books in a single day.

The children librarian wasn’t happy about my rapid progress and accused me of cheating. I took the accusation in stride. After being misdiagnosed as mentally retarded as a young child, and shuffled around the county in little yellow buses to the Special Ed classes, I got used to adults underestimating my abilities.

Besides being a fast reader, I had a photographic memory for what I read. (I later graduated from the eighth grade with a college-level reading comprehension.) The librarian made me recite line-by-line several of the picture books. When that proved too easy, I described what picture was on each page for each book. She reluctantly gave me my gold stars. My diploma arrived in the mail at the end of summer.

I didn’t bother to sign up the following year.

With the content pipeline broken and nothing fresh to submit for publication, I’m going to publish 13 flash stories on Fictionaut this summer. Unlike the summer reading program of my misbegotten childhood, I’m not giving out any gold stars or diplomas. You can read and comment on each weekly flash story for FREE.

  1. Golem Got The Beach Balls (6/27/2013)
  2. Terror From Above (7/3/2013)
  3. Falling Earthward (7/10/2013)
  4. Trillion Dollar Odds (7/17/2013)
  5. A Butterfly For A Married Woman (7/24/2013)
  6. Flash’em Tag’em Bag’em (8/1/2013)
  7. Killed Twice Over (8/21/2013)
  8. Ultra Menoetius (9/4/2013)
  9. Circling The Drain (9/19/2013)
  10. The Editor Is Always Right (9/25/2013)
  11. Zombies At The Movies (9/29/2013)

The flash stories in this series are those previously slated for publication in a flash anthology before Pill Hill Press went under earlier this year and the rights reverted back to me, and newly written content based on a flash story idea list from a failed NaNoWriMo project. All the flash stories will come out in forthcoming flash stories ebook.

Updated 29 September 2013: A Summer of Flash Stories 2013 came to a close with a few flash stories short of a baker’s dozen, as two of the flash stories became short stories that are now circulating in the slush piles to face a cruel world of rejections.

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