The Best that Kickstarter has to Offer
Although Kickstarter’s been around for quite a few years, it’s only recently garnered widespread attention with the successes of the Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2 projects. As a result, there's been a crowdfunding "renaissance" of sorts. Indie gaming and hardware developers are seeing crowdfunding’s true potential and taking their projects to Kickstarter.There’s been plenty of cool tech and gaming projects hitting Kickstarter as of late. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few projects that have caught our eyes, and might be worthy of your attention (and wallet). Keep in mind that Kickstarter projects only have a certain window of time to raise funds, so most of the projects you see featured here will only last through June.
Also, if you think there are more awesome Kickstarter projects out there that we haven't talked about yet, please let us know in the comments!
[Remember: When backing a Kickstarter project, you are taking a financial risk. We cannot guarantee that any of the projects featured here will come to their fruition.]
gTar - Easy way to learn guitar
Set aside your Rock band and Guitar Hero, for you’ll need it no longer. Instead of pressing five plastic buttons to simulate playing the guitar, you’ll actually be able to play with the help of the gTar.The gTar’s a guitar that’s fully equipped with LEDs under every fret that light up to show you which notes to play. The only drawback is that you’ll need to be an iPhone 4/4S user in order to get the gTar to actually work (although the developers are hoping to integrate other portable devices soon.) The gTar app syncs with the gTar... guitar to allow you to select which songs you want to learn. It’ll light up each fret as you play, making sure that you play the right note before it moves on to the next.Now, before you bring up any comparisons to Rocksmith, just think... can you take Rocksmith with you outside, where you’ll potentially draw curious people interested in your guitar playing skills, your cool gadget, and potentially... you?
Minimum Contribution for Product: $399 (early bird), $450 regularhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/incident/gtar-the-first-guitar-that-anybody-can-play?ref=categoryExpires: June 25, 2012
Chameleon Home Screen
While the Android home screen isn’t ugly by any means, it’s not exactly your eyes’ best friend, either. The mix of icons and widgets usually end up clashing into a non-uniform, cluttered mess, making it hard to navigate without having to do a lot of searching.However, unlike the iPad, Android tablets aren’t locked down tight. The home screen is, thankfully, customizable... and you don’t even have to root your tablet to do it.The Chameleon provides an alternative Android home screen for Android tablet users to use. It adopts a streamlined and uniform theme for your home screen, while still being customizable. Perhaps its coolest feature is its ability to recognize different networks and associate a home screen for each network, so you can have your home screen completely change depending on if you’re at the office or at home.The Chameleon isn’t the only home screen alternative out there, but it's a great option that we recommend to those who aren’t Android power users that may want to create a completely customized home screen.
Minimum Contribution for product: $5 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gaborvida/chameleon-a-better-home-screen-for-your-android-ta?ref=categoryExpires: June 15, 2012
While the MaKey MaKey isn’t going to satisfy a pressing need of any sort, the concept was so unique that we deemed it worthy to include on this list.The MaKey maKey is a circuit board kit that allows you make a working key out of any conductible surface using alligator clips. considering most surfaces in the home can conduct electricity, the possibilities are endless (see: bananas).If that’s not enough for more hardcore geeks, the board is also a fully functioning programmable Arduino board. The project pitch features bananas and a flight of stairs being used as pianos... what do you think you’ll be able to do with the MaKey MaKey kit?
Minimum Contribution for product: $35http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joylabs/makey-makey-an-invention-kit-for-everyone?ref=categoryExpires: June 12, 2012
W1PPS - Cord Integrator
Plugging things into a laptop can be a bit of a pain. The ports are often located in the most inconvenient of places that are hard to get to, especially if there’s already a snarl of wires running to your laptop.The W1PPs attempts to solve this problem for the MacBook. It’s an extra attachment that plugs into the side of your Mac and integrates all of the MacBook’s ports onto an external hub that you can have face you, allowing you to plug all your cords into one neat location. At the end of the day, instead of unplugging six different attachments to your laptop, you can just unplug one.Unfortunately, such a product is only possible on the macBook due to the non-standardization of Windows-based laptops.
Minimum Contribution for product: $112http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1251721352/w1pps-the-cord-integration-solution-for-apple-macb?ref=categoryExpires: June 11, 2012
Arctic Flight - iPad keyboard holder
Yes, the Arctic Flight is yet another iPad stand. Though we did feature the Brydge Laptop iPad last month, the Arctic Flight addresses a whole different set of issues that may crop up when working with Apple's tablet.The Arctic Flight is a hands-free iPad stand that allows you to tilt your iPad without having to make any adjustments to the stand itself. It also allows a little tuck room for a wireless keyboard to sit in, if you so desire. However, that’s not what makes the Arctic Flight unique. As its name suggests, the Arctic Flight is designed for iPad use on long flights. If the small table provided on flights cramps up your style you can fold it up with the Arctic Flight peeking out to allow iPad use. It’s definitely a boon for anyone whose career revolves around traveling.
Minimum Contribution for product: $75http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/501583891/arctic-flight-ipad-stand-cover-fits-airline-tray-tExpires: June 19, 2012
Etcher - Etch-a-Sketch for iPad
Let me preface this by saying that the Etcher is just a regular iPad case with an Etch-a-Sketch-shaped outer shell. No, no. That’s already been done before.The Etcher is an iPad protector that allows you to play Etch-a-Sketch on your iPad. Those knobs aren’t just for show. The entire thing works in the same way as a regular Etch-a-Sketch... you even shake your iPad to get rid of your sketches (although we recommend that you don’t get too enthusiastic with the shaking.)The Etcher also removes most of the frustrations of a regular Etch-a-Sketch. Before, you’d have to rely on prayers or surgeon hands to try and show your friends the cool things you drew on an Etch-a-Sketch. No longer. The marvels of modern technology allow you to share your sketches with your friends via a social network, so you can prove that you’re totally awesome at drawing via twisting around two knobs.
Minimum Contribution for product: $60http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ari-krupnik/etcher-etch-a-sketch-for-ipad?ref=categoryExpires: June 8, 2012
TABU DUO iPad Stylus (Ending Soon)
Styluses for tablets are generally unwieldy and uncomfortable to use. Often, the capacitive tip is fat and rubbery to have the screen register pen strokes. You’re usually forced to hold the stylus in a way that awkwardly crunches your hand, lest a stray finger or part of your palm be registered by the screen as you’re writing or drawing. The stylus experience makes you think that sometimes, the good old pen-and-paper way might just be the best way to do things.The TABU DUO is a notetaking/drawing app and a stylus in one. The TABU DUO stylus has two different ends that the app registers as the writing point and the eraser. The stylus is meant to mimic the experience of writing with pen and paper, so if you make a mistake, you don’t have to switch over to the eraser tool in app. You can just flip the stylus over and “erase.”The Tabu Paper app is also made to ignore hand gestures when you’re using the stylus, allowing you to hold the stylus as you would a regular pen, without worrying about how your palm will monstrously destroy your work of art.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $25http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tabuproducts/tabu-duo-erasing-stylus?ref=categoryExpires: June 2, 2012 - so get it quickly.
Forget Kelvins, Fahrenheit, or Celsius. What’s a more effective way of conveying how hot or cold it is outside than through touch and feel? The Cryoscope is a touch-based weather-gauge that runs from freezing to the highest heat setting safe for touch. Essentially, all you have to do is dial in the zip code that you want the temperature of on the underside of the Cryoscope and wait for the Cryoscope to heat up or cool down. It could potentially be a good way to check to see how the day will turn out in the morning, without you having to even open your eyes.Or... at worse it could just become a glorified hand warmer/cooler. If it’s a particularly cold day, you could dial in the zip code to somewhere with subtropical temperatures and enjoy the warmth in the comfort of your own home.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $300http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robbgodshaw/cryoscope-a-touch-based-weather-communicating-devi?ref=categoryExpires: June 5, 2012
Because our lives are saturated with tech, plugging in your electronics has become part of our bedtime routine. Perhaps one of the most painful first world problems is being already comfortable in bed, realizing that you’ve forgotten to plug in your electronics, and dreading either getting up to turn on the lights or fumbling in the dark for your power cables.The CordLite is a 30-pin Apple connector with LEDs planted at the base of the connector that goes into your iOS device. It makes the connector easy to find in the dark, so that you don’t have to bother to get up turning on the lights to find the connector and plug your iOS device in. It’s not much more expensive than the regular 30-pin connector. Or as we like to call it: chump change to prevent your worst first world problem.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $30http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scrappile/cordlite-illuminated-charger-cable-for-your-iphoneExpires: June 27, 2012
A smartphone is great for working and staying plugged in on the go, but it’s pretty useless when you’re sitting at the office in front of your computer with a fully-functional keyboard and Internet at your fingertips.The Limb.al seeks to make the smarthone an extra extension of your computer workspace. It’s kind of an extra “limb” for your computer, if you will.It’s a flexible power charger and stand for your phone that runs via USB, allowing you to keep your phone standing upright next to your desktop for an extra screen to use, further encouraging your smartphone-induced ADD. Or, on the alternative, you can have it double as a stand for your phone when you’re in your car. It saves having to spend money on a phone charger and a stand, not to mention most smartphone car holders involve adjustable clips and are just a general pain.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $17http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1782458858/the-limbal?ref=categoryExpires: June 7, 2012
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you probably know what The Kingdom of Loathing is....If you don’t, we’ll give you the benefit of learning about it now. The Kingdom of Loathing is a browser-based turn-based RPG featuring stick figures and a quirky sense of Internet humor. It’s only a pretty big deal on the Internet.Anyway, the two behind KoL have teamed up again to make Word Realms, a full-fledged RPG involving words. Imagine the ability to play through a game with a deep story while using your wordsmithing powers in turn-based combat. Maybe the game could be a good way to convince a younger kid to learn vocabulary the fun way. Maybe it’ll even be beneficial for someone looking to do well on the SATs or another standardized test without having to hit the books. All we know is that considering it’s the guys behind KoL, hilarity is guaranteed.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $11http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2140824020/word-realmsExpires: June 21, 2012
Old-school gamers should remember Carmageddon and the joy of smashing apart cities with a car for the fun of destruction and gore. Unfortunately, Carmageddon’s publisher SCi owned the rights to the game and didn’t contract Stainless Games, the developer for the original, for more than two iterations of the game. You probably remember the wreckage that Carmageddon 3: TRD 2000 was.Stainless has bought the rights to develop another Carmageddon game. They’ve taken the project to Kickstarter after giving a few bitter, if humorous rants about ‘evil publishers.’The original Carmageddon was revolutionary in terms of sandbox driving mechanics and the car physics. Remember the satisfaction of crashing your virtual car into something back then? Can you imagine how that will look and feel now by giving Carmageddon a modern touch-up?Yeah, amazing plus a few expletives are the words you’re looking for.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $15http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stainlessgames/carmageddon-reincarnation?ref=categoryExpires: June 6, 2012
Tex Murphy - Project Fedora
Kickstarter seems to be the “in” place for old-school games to get the reboot treatment. Chris Jones and Aaron Connors, after seeing the success that gaming projects have had with Kickstarter, have decided to turn to crowdfunding to power the next installation of the Tex Murphy series.Before Cole Phelps and L. A. Noire, there was Tex Murphy, PI, bringing hardboiled noir to the post-apocalyptic. If you’re a long time Tex Murphy fan, then you’ll be happy to know that Project Fedora will be tying up some of the loose ends from the cliffhanger in Overseer. That alone should be enough motivation for you to want to throw a measly $15 at the project. And well, for Tex Murphy newcomers...the blending of noir and post-apocalyptic should be enough to draw you in.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $15http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/texmurphy/tex-murphy-project-fedora?ref=categoryExpires: June 15, 2012
Firaxis Games and 2K are reviving the XCOM series with reboot entry XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The game harks back to the original by bringing back most of the original game’s old mechanics.But might I suggest an interesting indie alternative to Enemy Unknown... Xenonauts. Combining a strategic command, aerial combat, and ground combat into the gameplay mechanics along with a fully-destructible environment, Xenonauts might sound eerily familiar. Yes, before you ask, the soldiers you play with in Xenonauts are persistent, level up with you, and will permanently die if they’re killed on missions. You can even salvage alien technology and use it to research your own technology to fight back against the aliens.Coincidentally, Xenonauts is set to launch October 2012... the same month that Enemy Unknown is launching. If you want a DRM-free, cheaper, and indie alternative to Enemy Unknown, you know where to go. And if you’re not a believer, the developers have released a playable demo for you to try out before you have reach for your wallet.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $20http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/69341191/xenonauts?ref=categoryExpires: June 10, 2012
The Indie Console
The Indie Console name is a bit deceptive.It’s not a console by any means in the conventional sense. There’s no required hardware involved with the Indie Console if you choose not to buy the hardware.The Indie Console’s essentially software that aggregates indie games developed on all different platforms. Be they developed for Windows, Mac, or Linux, they’ll still be playable on the Indie Console no matter what type of hardware you have on your computer.Developers are free to upload as they please to the console after submitting a $10 one time only fee. They get back 85% of the profits. The other percentage will go to Amazon and to drMikey, the inventor of the Indie Console, to keep it running. As a gamer, you only have to pay $3 to get the software set up on your computer, no actual hardware required. The only drawbacks I can see with the Indie Console is that the marketplace area can quickly become an unfiltered mess, much like Google Play. Not to mention that in order to make any “console” or platform work, developers have to endorse it. However, it’s definitely a noble project to undertake to get a main platform for indie games to aggregate to sell at the consumer level.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $3http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/drmikey/the-indie-console?ref=categoryExpires: June 8, 2012