Kickstarter Interviews: GameKid

In the past few years, there has been an explosion of indie games, some of which have become as successful as the AAA games from the major studios. My personal belief is that one of the biggest catalysts for this change in the market is Kickstarter.

Kickstarter has provided a way for small studios and independent designers to present an idea, and get the funding to finish it. While there definitely has been some sour notes hit so far in the Kickstarter era, we’ve seen some amazing products and games come from it.

Here at Giant From The North, we talk about all aspects of gaming, from reviews to game design. With that in mind, I’d like to present our first of many Kickstarter Interviews.

Robot Loves Kitty is Calvin and Alix, a husband and wife founded Independent Videogame Studios, and in their latest project, they’ve collaborated with Calvin’s brother Scott to design a Raspberry Pi powered retro gaming console, the GameKid.

keenWhat inspired you to create the Gamekid? How did you get into product design?

I had been tinkering with putting a Raspberry Pi inside an old GameBoy case for a while, just a hobby that I worked on whenever I had time. Then last Christmas I decided to go all out and build 2 more of them for family. One of which went to my brother Scott. That Christmas Scott and I talked about the possibility of building a 3D printed kit, something that would let us bring a handheld Raspberry Pi to others. Scott is pretty amazing at CAD software and decided to quit his job and come build GameKids with me 🙂

What are you most excited about with this product?
We’ve heard from a few parents our age that are getting a GameKid for their kids. We think thats the coolest thing ever. But we’re also really excited to see new indie games built for the Raspberry Pi. We’re going to be running the GameKid Raspberry Jam next month to encourage other dev’s to build games for the GameKid and the Raspberry Pi. Can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Do you see this becoming a product line, or is this just a one-off Kickstarter?
That really depends on how successful the Kickstarter is. If the demand is high enough we’ll definitely go into mass production.
  
How would you reassure backers that are nervous about Kickstarter projects?
Totally understandable, I’ve backed a few vaporware projects myself. We hope people will take a look at what we’ve done in the past, and the kind of people we are, and trust us to make this happen. I could talk about how we already have a prototype and how we’ve calculated all the costs… but honestly all that is still risky, you’d have to take my word for it in the end, that’s the trouble with funding anything on Kickstarter. If you don’t feel comfortable taking that risk with us, you shouldn’t 🙂
gamekid

What’s people’s initial reaction when they start playing it?
Most often its a solid 3 or 4 nods of approval, one as they give the buttons a once over with their right thumb another as they feel for the location of the buttons in the back. Once or twice more as they jog it up and down to get a feel for the weight and a smile when they boot up their favorite classic.

How often do you use yours?
Between working on Upsilon Circuit, building a future Vive VR game and helping my brother with the final design of the GameKid… I don’t have a lot of time for actually playing videogames. However, I keep it in my pocket wherever I go and sneak in some gameplay wherever I can!

What games are you excited to play on the gamekid, or what have you spent the most time playing?
Oh man, eventually Pico-8 http://www.lexaloffle.com/pico-8.php , a fantasy development console, is coming to the Raspberry Pi! As a game developer I can’t wait to make games right on my GameKid. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of CaveStory and Super Mario Bro’s 3.

What would you tell people that are on the fence about this product?
First I would ask if it hurts to sit like that, maybe they need an ice pack? Then I’d give them a GameKid to play while they sat there until they wanted one. Most people who have looked at it and were unsure about it, had a big sigh of relief when they started playing it.

You can find more about the Kickstarter project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robotloveskitty/gamekid.

giantfromthenorth
Technology, games, and how gaming influences the world is what I love to talk about.

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