THE ARCHIVE 2011-2015

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SCROLL Collection on StoryBundle

For anyone who bought a couple of issues of SCROLL, or none at all, or who would love a chance to gift it to someone against their will, there's the April StoryBundle, a site offering themed ebook bundles in the "pay-what-you-want-and-how" model. Every single current issue of SCROLL is available as a collection (sub-bundle?) among the other great books in the "Video Game Bundle 3.0."

This marks a few firsts for SCROLL: first, it's just a phenomenal deal; it's a one-and-done digital bundle of every issue without having to go through a shopping cart, and it's the debut of ebook editions (.epub and .mobi) of SCROLL, as well. For the time being, StoryBundle will be the only place to get the ebook editions, and while they're not up to the visual level of the "real" magazine, they're lightweight and good for just absorbing the material, especially on an e-ink or other dedicated ebook reader. I'm also a proponent of getting SCROLL out there on as many DRM-free "formats" as possible, so this was a great opportunity to light a fire under myself and bring the magazine to a new place.

Once again, that's all eleven current issues of SCROLL (leaving at least the forthcoming issue 12 hanging, but that's on me) for at least a few dollars, plus some other great game-focused books as well -- particularly Atari Inc. and Service Games, if you're looking for more industry history. If you like it, support it!

Kickstarting SCROLL Issue 10

Coming off the release of SCROLL 09, it's time for me to get started on the next issue. With every issue, I try to keep the cover subjects secret, just because (and because sometimes I change my mind halfway through), but you do get hints towards the end of the issues on the "Next" page. However, this time I'm lifting the veil and telling you ahead of time: SCROLL 10 will be about the Boku no Natsuyasumi (My Summer Vacation) games.

Those who know me well enough probably saw this coming. Among my closer circles of friends, I've tried to make My Summer Vacation known, if for nothing more than its status as my favorite video game. Of course, I never expected everyone to love the game for the same reasons I do; it was just a vain attempt to raise awareness. And believe me, my love of it is not because it's Japanese, or artful, or somehow innovative -- it was a confluence of elements that appealed to me, and it came at the right time.

The reason for this transparency: the first SCROLL Kickstarter campaign, which starts right now and runs until May, with the  aim of getting issue 10 off the ground. But why this one? Because aside from including the series retrospective typical to SCROLL, this issue will also feature a big interview with Kaz Ayabe, the creator of the My Summer Vacation series (and most recently Level-5's Attack of the Friday Monsters). SCROLL hasn't been a place for developer interviews (partly why I get a little skittish when people call it "journalism"), but I figured this was the best reason to finally get a real, meaty interview with someone, and why not the maker of my favorite game? Ayabe has already agreed, and it's pretty much going to happen either way, but the expenses associated with going to Japan, pulling off the interview (thanks 8-4!) and such will be kind of a strain if I try to pay for it all by myself. 

On the other hand, making this into a Kickstarter project presented a good opportunity to reinforce how special this issue will be. Backer rewards will include a special variant cover of issue 10 (the regular version is on the top-right), and combinations of that, an art print, a complete set of print issues, and another SCROLL first: letting people write a little (emphasis on little) something for it. This naturally leads to more costs, as I'll be buying the issues myself and sending them out as opposed to leaving it all to MagCloud, but I feel the $8,000 goal is reasonable enough to invite people to chip in and help, and with any luck, we'll get there.

This campaign also overlaps with the Retronauts revival Kickstarter project, which I'm a part of. For the record, the issue 10 project has been in my mind for months, as opposed to the sudden shuttering of 1UP just one month ago and the fast decision of a few friends to keep Retronauts alive. It's not the best timing, as someone will inevitably turn up their nose in doubt, but it was unavoidable on my end. Like the rest of SCROLL, this project is entirely my own doing, and it's for one issue instead of a whole enterprise.

All the extra reward details can be found on the project page, and as I say there, thanks for checking this out, and thanks in advance for your pledge. Stay tuned for additoinal project updates all the way through the production of the issue. Additional thanks to Jacob Smiley for being a good sport and already getting some amazing art for the issue. See you in the solstice.