Kickstarter has funded some pretty incredible things — the Pebble Smartwatch, 3D doodling pen and Memoto wearable camera, for example — but 9-year-old Mackenzie Wilson’s project to build her own RPG game might just be my favorite yet.
Run under her mother Susan’s name since Mackenzie is under the age of 18, the Stevensville, MD-based third-grader was seeking a mere $829 to build a role playing game (RPG) “for kids like me”, and prove to her 15- and 16-year-old brothers what she can do.
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
But, after just one day, the project has eclipsed $10,000 ($11,214 at the time of writing) in backing thanks to more than 600 backers.
Kenzie, as she is known, says she wants her game to be appropriate for kids, but cool and without violence or bad words. “Most importantly, I want a game that allows team members to face danger together and get hurt but doesn’t kill team mates off and eliminate them from battle,” she explains.
The target was set to cover her entry to an RPG STEM Camp event — the kid-focused computer development camp — taking place at Towson University. That’s where she’s planning to develop the game, though its not immediately clear what platform it will be made for.
There’s a really great back story here. Susan introduced a “gamification of education” project that has the family competing against each other through Codecademy on weekens. That activity and the Veronica Mars campaign inspired Kenzie — who admits she “isn’t a a girlie girl” — to set out to produce her own game.
Considering all the elements behind the project — she is a girl, young and ambitiously taking on a big project in spite of doubters — we think this project has the potential to become very well backed. Indeed, she explains that she would like project to draw attention to girl game developers, and also kids:
It’s no secret there aren’t enough females in STEM professions so part of my Kickstarter campaign is aimed at raising awareness and getting girls thinking about careers in technology at an early age. I want to be a role model for kids – but especially to girls so there are more girls in tech because I don’t want to be the only girl in the room.
There are still 28 days to go, and Kenzie is already guaranteed to absolutely smash her initial target — let’s see if her plans change as the backers keep coming.
My goal is to raise $829 to cover the cost of RPG Camp. But my Mom just told me about the Veronica Mars campaign so now I’m secretly hoping to raise more. My Mom said I can put any extra toward a laptop. I asked her if I raised even more than that, would she let me spend another week away at RPG camp. She said if I raised the money, she’d send me to RPG Camp all summer (which would be amazing because my friends at home are great but they’re not really gamers like me so it’ll awesome to hang out with hardcore gamers like me that are my age).
You’ll find all the details on the Kickstarter page here. Interestingly, Adobe has already provided a complimentary subscription to its Adobe Creative Cloud to provide Kenzie with the tools she needs to help her build the game.
Below are the original backing tiers:
- $5 gets your name listed in the SPECIAL THANKS credit section of the game.
- $10 gets you THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
- $15 gets you this Can Koozie + THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
- $25 gets you this Deluxe Mousepad + THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
- $30 gets you this white unisex t-shirt + THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
- $40 gets you this fitted women’s white t-shirt + THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
- $50 gets you this awesome hat embroidered with KEEP UP! + THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
- $75 gets you a Deluxe White Hoodie with KEEP UP! embroidered on the back in black stitching.
- And for $100 you get to name a character AND a copy of THE GAME via digital distribution when it’s completed in July 2013.
They are also new premium tiers. These are a smart way to gain attention, potentially bringing more industry support, and not to mention additional money — there’s already one backer of the $500 tier:
- $250: Become a producer and get named in the credits
- $300: Became an NPC (non-playing character) within the game
- $500: Become Executive Producer, and get named in the credits. You’ll also get signed cover art, the game (of course), a personalized thank you
- $10,000: “ROCK STAR REWARD LEVEL. At this level, you get everything from the previous levels plus a personal apology from her brother and the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve not only started a career, you’ve also helped to fund future course in computer programming for her.”
Read next: Issue v1.3 – Want: Gadgets