I’ve been wondering around over on Kickstarter looking at all the new stuff for a while now, and it occurs to me that I have not mentioned it once here. So I am.

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, the concept is pretty simple. You come up with an idea – an invention, a new game, a book, an album, whatever – and need money to make it happen. Rather than mortgaging your house or selling a spare kidney, you start a project over on Kickstarter where you present your idea and basically beg strangers for money while offering better and better incentives for larger and larger donations. If people like your idea and want what you are offering, they pledge money. If you raise the amount you need, you get it (minus fees and paying for donation goodies) and if you don’t meet that goal then you get nothing. The pledges are only paid if the goal is met, which could be anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand. I think it’s a pretty brilliant idea to help out regular people who wouldn’t otherwise get any attention from big corporations. It’s also an excellent way to judge public demand for your [whatever] – if no one wants what you’re selling, you don’t get anything.

I like browsing for new music, since you can usually get a copy of whatever album the band or artist is putting out for a small donation, around $5-$10. There are also some really interesting independent games available, both board and video, including one that allows you to be a Roman chicken.

Most projects on Kickstarter are small, but one recent project has broken all donation records for the site. It’s an independent video game company that’s developing a new old-fashioned point-and-click adventure game and documentary. The initial asking amount was $400,000, which sounds like a lot to me. They raised it in something like eight hours. Currently they have a total pledge amount of just over $2.4 million dollars.

That is not a typo – they have managed to raise %604 of what they need, and they still have a week to go. It’s pretty awesome that random strangers on the Internet have managed to do something like that.