In January 2006, a few days after publishing the first issue of Adventure Lantern, I received an e-mail from Gnome. He wanted to congratulate us on our launch. At the time, Gnome's blog was also brand new. Upon receiving the e-mail, I spent a few minutes poking around his blog. I was immediately impressed with his witty writing style and excellent sense of humor. He talked about games in very distinct voice. This was most certainly a person I wanted on the Adventure Lantern team. I asked if he would be willing to let us post some of his articles on our Web site. Gnome kindly agreed, starting a collaboration that has been going on for over six years.
During that time, the Adventure Lantern publishing schedule had many hiccups. However, Gnome's excellent blog kept going. Gnome did not confine his writings to his blog either. Every time we were able to resume production of our PDFs, he was right there to provide assistance. Through his reviews and efforts to spread awareness about AL, Gnome has made a tremendous contribution to our site. On a personal note, he is also an individual whose opinion I have come to respect and someone I am proud to call my friend.
Fast forward to 2012, and Gnome has moved far beyond his blog. While Gnome's Lair is still active, he is also involved with several other projects. One of those projects is Bundle in a Box, brought to us by Kyttaro Games. On the surface, Bundle in a Box is a sale for independent adventure games. However, the sale involves far more than offering adventure games at a deep discount. Part of the proceeds from Bundle in a Box are going to be donated to charity. Gnome and his colleagues at Kyttaro also intend to use the Bundle to provide a grant to independent developers. As the sale continues, Gnome kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions about his company Kyttaro Games and Bundle in a Box.
[Adventure Lantern]: First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
[Gnome]: Well, most people (online to be precise) know me as Gnome and I’ve been writing about indie, adventure, retro and most sorts of games since 2006. I’m still reviewing, studying and enjoying games, but have also started working on actually creating games both with the Kyttaro Games team and on my own.
[AL]: Bundle in a Box was brought to us by Kyttaro Games. Can you tell us a little bit about the company and your role in it?
[Gnome]: The company consists of me, Andreas and Fivos. We’ve started by working on a couple non-entertainment projects that helped us originally fund the company and are now solely focused on games. We are also being supported by a jolly network of artist, game designer, web developer and writer friends.
My role in Kyttaro Games is mainly that of a game and level designer, but, Kyttaro being a very small indie group, I do tend to wear all sorts of hats. Oh, and I do get to pick the games that make it into our Bundle In A Box bundles!
[AL]: How did you become involved with the adventure gaming scene and Bundle in a Box?
[Gnome]: The adventure gaming scene... well, I did grow up playing and loving adventure games and things progressed rather naturally from there. Ever since I started reviewing adventures and interviewing their developers, getting to know all those lovely people whose work I enjoyed was pretty easy; everyone seems so utterly open and kind, one can’t help but grow fond of, well, everyone.
As for Bundle In A Box, though it definitely was not one of my ideas, I did threaten the rest of Kyttaro to let me decide upon the games and quite a few of the bundle’s unique aspects.
[AL]: What exactly is Bundle in a Box?
[Gnome]: It’s an indie gaming bundle using the pay-what-you-want model, albeit with the twist of a constantly dropping minimum price. Each bundle will be thematically strong and try to exclusively debut a brand new game.
[AL]: Which games are included in the Bundle?
[Gnome]: Adventure games! Our first bundle wasn’t called the Adventure Bundle for naught.
We are launching the amazing and already enthusiastically received The Sea Will Claim Everything by Jonas Kyratzes and offering (for the first time ever as a digital download) 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery; a huge, detailed and lavishly illustrated text adventure.
The bundle also includes award winning sci-fi noir adventure Gemini Rue, the freshly released Metal Dead, and such stalwarts as the two Ben & Dan offerings and The Shivah.
[AL]: How did you select the games that were included?
[Gnome]: Simple. They were all excellent games that I loved.
[AL]: You are using a pay-what-you-want model with the Bundle. Could you explain how that works?
[Gnome]: There is a minimum price that drops every few sales. Anything above this will get you five games of the bundle and paying above the average price will get you two more games.
After certain milestones are reached, bonuses will be unlocked for everyone.
[AL]: Some of the funds raised will be donated to charity. Can you elaborate on that?
[Gnome]: We are supporting the Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family, also known as To Perivolaki (The Little Garden). It is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation that was established in order to diagnose and treat children and adolescents with autism or psychosis, while simultaneously supporting their families.
Perivolaki is sadly facing severe financial problems (the crisis isn’t doing anyone any favours, is it?) and we deemed it too important to ignore.
[AL]: You will also be making a contribution to the Indie Dev Grant. Can you explain what the grant is and how the Bundle is supporting it?
[Gnome]: Bundle In A Box actually set up the Indie Dev Grant in order to support indie game developers without attaching any strings whatsoever. We want to help creative people to go on and do their stuff.
For every 15000 sales (might be lower than that, but we’ll see how things go) $2000 will be added to the grant. One developer will get the whole amount after a vote held by BIAB fans.
[AL]: It has been a few days since the Bundle launched. What was the initial response?
[Gnome]: The adventure, interactive fiction and indie community has happily and kindly embraced us, but sadly most of the mainstream press hasn’t really noticed what we’re doing.
On the other hand, we have gotten dozens of emails (and replied to each and everyone) thanking us for the bundle and praising the quality of both the games offered and the service itself.
[AL]: How long will the Bundle be available? If the demand is high, would you consider extending the end date for the sale?
[Gnome]: Bundle In A Box - Adventure Bundle will be available for purchase until June 6. Sadly, we will not be able to extend the end date of the sale. That would be most unfair towards the developers that actually gave us their adventures to sell.
[AL]: Are you planning to offer similar sales in the future?
[Gnome]: Oh, absolutely! And more new games will be launched. Mind you, we’ve already learned a lot and will be doing our best to improve the bundle.
[AL]: What is next in line for you and Kyttaro Games?
[Gnome]: More bundles and the release of some actual games. We’ve already announced Artfully Framed, are rapidly working on a still unannounced project that’s progressing faster than expected (might even release it before next Christmas) and are even planning both a PC/Mac adventure and a RPG.
Adventure Lantern thanks Gnome for taking the time to answer our questions about Bundle in a Box. It is fascinating to see innovative efforts to distribute adventure games such as Kyttaro's Bundle. I am already curious to see which games will be offered during the next sale.
As of writing, the minimum price to purchase five of the games in the current Bundle is less than $3.00. More importantly, part of the proceeds will be used to support an excellent cause. The Bundle could even spur the development of new and exciting independent adventure games. To find out more about the games offered and to purcahse the Bundle, please visit the official Bundle in a Box Web site. Remember that the bundle will only be available through June 6th.