Let me tell you a little bit about Andrew Hussie and Homestuck: I have been struggling to read it, because it’s damn voluminous, dense, stuffed silly with music and interaction and games and self- and forward- and back-references and completely, utterly not for me.
It is the opening shot of the native culture of the second generation of internet users — the ones that have always lived there, not those of us that immigrated from the Old (nondigital) Country within our living memory. And here’s a hint for everybody that still remembers the Old (nondigital) Country: there’s more of them and fewer of us every day, so maybe if your livelihood depends on putting content in front of eyeballs in some fashion, you ought to be paying all the attention you can muster to Mr Hussie and the fans whose brains he lives in.
The Homestuck Kickstarter campaign is — to my mind, somewhat arbitrarily — categorized as a videogame, but that doesn’t really describe what’s being built, I don’t think. MS Paint Adventures as a whole (and Homestuck especially) has always been equal parts comic, interactive, animation, music (how many soundtrack albums has Hussie released so far?), and amalgam that couldn’t exist in its full form anywhere except online.
Homestuck started (and for a year, continued) with a user-participation component that was key to its aims — to make something that was a comic, but more. One could could argue that the game isn’t really a spin-off of Homestuck, it’s just more of Homestuck; it’s always been a participatory community (and when the explicit reader participation portion came to and end for logistical reasons, it merely shifted to a galaxy of blogs and tumblrs and fora), and while the description of the game on the Kickstarter page doesn’t explicitly say so, I’ll wager that multiplayer/social capabilities will be key. What’s the point of having your own fan troll if you can’t mess with your friends on Pesterchum? This is just the next form of the community, and however tight the new, self-contained story will be, I believe it will be hacked and mutated by the players until they’re living the SBURB life.
I speculate, of course, but here’s things that we know about the Homestuck Kickstarter Campaign as of this moment: It hasn’t broken into the wider culture yet; the major comics sites haven’t yet discussed the campaign with their readers, it’s only starting to filter into the videogame news sphere, and it certainly hasn’t been picked up as a quirky story by major media. It is still building mindshare and still:
- In one day, it made just about the same amount of money as a major studio motion picture with a production and marketing budget of US$60 million that was released in more than 2000 theaters over a long weekend.¹
- In one day, it made more money than all but three comic books released in North America in July, and those three were, respectively, the 100th issue of a comic with a TV tie-in, and the 7th and 8th issues of a crossover between the two superhero teams best-known to the wider culture. Note that people who recognize The Walking Dead, The [adjective] Avengers or The [adjective] X-Men from movies or TV are legion and have never heard of Homestuck. Homestuck beat freaking Batman in a day.
It’ll be above the third of those comics within minutes; Edit: calculation error, my apologies, but the remainder of this sentence holds true before the end of tomorrow, it’ll be above all of them.
- It is a very real possibility that Homestuck will displace the current (all-time; best-funded) Kickstarter projects; what those super-top-funded projects have in common is an unusually high per-backer average (#1 had a ratio of $149.95; #2: $135.57; compare the Order of the Stick ratio at $83.88). In a day, Homestuck has a ratio flirting with the $100 level, I don’t think it’s dropping anytime soon. If the current funding rates hold for the entire 30 days (and they won’t, but if they did), Homestuck would be looking at the vicinity of eighteen million dollars.
I won’t post this until 2:26pm EDT, as that will be 24 hours since the Homestuck Kickstarter campaign launched, and I want very much to see how much money he’s raised in that time and make sure that the following numbers are up to date:
$95.39 dollars per backer
383 pledging $405 or more
2 pledging $5000 or more
average rate: $24,710 per hour
Because this? This is when the game changed.
¹ Okay, anybody could have told you that something called The Oogieloves was going to lose a mountain of cash, but seriously, a return of $600K on a $60M investment? That is literally a return of one cent on the dollar. You have to have been trying to lose that much money.