As someone who follows a lot of crowd funded retro projects it is normal for orders to trickle in. I am surprised if one reaches its target quickly, especially when publishing retro magazines and books. These projects need to find their audience over the length of the campaign and usually drag out for weeks. Well, the trend has well and truly been bucked as [lock-on] smashed a Kickstarter in less than six hours last night. The gaming journal, that focuses on a different console or area of gaming, asked backers to stump up £25,000 and it sold like hotcakes. I ask publisher Lost In Cult’s Content Director, Ben Hayhoe, about why [lock-on] is so different from other publications.
I reviewed volume 1 on release and was impressed. [lock-on] always has a theme for each volume, this time around it is Dreamcast. That is music to my ears but Ben explains why the team take this approach. ‘Originally this started because we were all just such huge fans of the original PlayStation, so our first volume was dedicated, in part, to all things PS1! But we decided that this could be a model that we implement consistently. By dedicating approximately half the volume to a particular area, it allows us to explore more deeply than we would if the entire journal was filled with completely different topics.’
It is not just the themed approach that helps [lock-on] stand out. Ben explains that ‘[lock-on] is about celebrating retro gaming to its fullest. What we focus on is creating thought-provoking and entertaining stories from all around the industry. And most importantly, we try to identify a distinct range of voices to tell those stories. We’re trying to create something evergreen; something you could pick up in 10 years and it would still be as relevant as it is today. We’re trying to create something that you’ll be proud to own and display in your home.’
One of the publications standout features is its vast array of writing and art talent. There are over thirty writers and every page has original art. Ben is keen to focus the attention to the contributors who build this unique approach. ‘There are so many voices out there; so many points of view that we want to see put across. For the range of topics we cover we wouldn’t be able to cover all of that ourselves, not in the way it deserves.’
Ben continues with ‘the artwork is as important to [lock-on] as the writing. It’s best to think of it as part journal, part art book. Just as the written word can tell a story, so can a beautiful piece of art. By only using bespoke artwork for every single piece, we ensure that every inch of every page is equally considered, whether that be in text or picture format, and it truly is the amazing work that Jon Doyle and the design team do to make them complement one another that gives [lock-on] its edge. They’re two parts of a whole. Two halves of the heart that makes [lock-on] what it is.’
[lock-on] also sets itself apart with extras such as collectable cards and posters. I was curious as to why the team feel these are important. ‘We love nice premium things, but premium is the keyword there, and we’ll only ever provide extras that provide the backer with something worth having. The [versus] card game is a great example so I’m glad you’ve mentioned it! We work directly with developers to design and authorise these cards — the backer is getting a product that is the result of an official collaboration. We’re really pleased with how it’s turning out and the feedback has been great.’
It feels right to end this interview focusing on the people that make it all possible, the backers. So how does Ben and the team feel about smashing the Kickstarter so quickly? ‘It feels like I say this all the time at Lost in Cult, but I really am speechless with the response we’ve received this time around. Realistically, we were pretty sure we’d fund, but we never expected it to happen in six hours! We’re really feeling the love right now, and all we can do is thank everyone so much for their continued support. We just hit £30,000 which has unlocked our first stretch goal. We’ve got plenty more of those to come, as well as content and [versus] card reveals, so keep your eyes on our Kickstarter and Twitter!’
Thank you Ben for taking the time to chat with me.