Crowd-sourced funding has seemingly become an overnight success, what with Kickstarter affording Double Fine about a zillion pounds (opens in new tab) a few weeks back. Well, it isn’t just games that need funding. Films about games do, too. And that’s why ‘Bedrooms to Billions’ needs your attention.
The UK video game industry has a proper story to tell. Coding teams used to consist of one bloke in a bedroom and now it’s a multi-billion pound industry. Something happened in the middle that’s worthy of a story – but nobody’s ever really told it, at least not from the UK side, which arguably played one of the greatest parts in the formative years of our beloved industry. Which is why Anthony Caulfield and his wife, Nicola, have been hard at work documenting the UK industry from 1979-1996 in film. However, as with so many labours of love, funding has become a problem.
The National Lottery Film Council agreed to fund the project, before the council itself was scrapped by the new government. There was also interest from BBC Four, until the Beeb decided that a program about flags would be more interesting. We didn’t watch that program, but we’re pretty sure it wasn’t.
Above: Videogames – even early ones – will always be more interesting than flags. Fact
The upshot of all the pull-outs is that the remaining interviews can only be carried out if more funding is found. An Indiegogo page (opens in new tab) has been set up, trying to get together $35,000 needed, with a time limit of Tuesday, July 17. If the money can’t be raised by that point, the film (at least in its intended form) will be canned.
And you’re going to want to hear what these people have to say. Jeff Minter, The Oliver Twins, Geoff Crammond, Archer MacLean… the list of intended interviewees is looong. Dammit, we want to hear what they have to say – we spoke to The Oliver Twins (opens in new tab) ourselves earlier this year and it was absolutely fascinating.
If you do choose to contribute, there are different levels of donation available. The higher you go, the more you get back, from credits at the start of the film itself through to having your own line portrait drawn up by Zzap64!, Crash and Amtix illustrator Oliver Frey. You can even have a film poster made for you in the style of one of these classic publications, featuring your portrait. That probably means very little to most people, but if you were a child of the ’80s, that’s damn cool.
Above: Oliver Frey could turn you into a Crash line drawing. How’s that for a perk?
The film, while perhaps niche in the grand scheme of the world at large, should still be of interest to any gamer. If you’re over 30, you’ll get a nostalgia rush while learning something. If you’re under 30, you can have a laugh at what people got excited about in gaming’s infancy, as well as learning something. Either way, if you feel like you want to support this artistic endeavor, head over to the Indiegogo page (opens in new tab). There are only 19 days left and counting…