One of the things that 2012 has brought to the gaming industry is a renewed sense of passion in the form of Kickstarter projects. I need to make sure my wallet is locked in an uncrackable safe whenever I visit the crowd funding site, because there are so many fantastic projects. One such venture is an update to the classic M.U.L.E., entitled Alpha Colony.
While I weep for the future at the very thought, I know that many of you probably have not played the original game. Imagine taking Civilization and SimCity and blending them together, and you would have M.U.L.E. Oh, and you would need a time machine, since Dan Bunten’s masterful work came out six years before Wil Wright taught us civil engineering and a full eight before Sid Meier ever made us want to play “just one more turn.”
The title, which originally appeared on the Atari 400/800, was a social game (the kind that means gamers played together, not the type that makes people unfriend you on Facebook). While there were clear winners and losers, the game had a heavy focus on economy, resource management and cooperation. Players are required to work together to ensure that their space colony survives, all while dealing with random events that shake up strategies.
M.U.L.E. was designed as a multiplayer experience with AI filling in when seats on the couch were left empty. Additionally, it featured an early rubber-band mechanism that ensured that positive events would never happen to the person in first place and negative events wouldn’t afflict the player at the bottom of the rankings. Remember, this was 1983. It should come as no surprise that Ozark Softscape’s game is heralded as one of the more important of all time. Now that I’ve described it, I bet you want to play it.
That’s where the Alpha Colony Kickstarter comes in. Christopher Williamson of DreamQuest Games has secured the license from Dan Bunten’s estate and will be bringing the core concepts of the original title, with some additional elements from popular board game Settlers of Catan, to PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android with cross-platform play. The title will incorporate the contemporary phenomenon of asynchronous turns to facilitate the opportunity for busy gamers to enjoy it.
In addition, the Alpha Colony team has partnered with another licensed M.U.L.E. project, M.U.L.E. Returns (a faithful recreation of the original), to offer copies of that mobile game, also. Backers at the $25 level and higher can get a copy of both titles.
The team beyond Alpha Colony is both skilled and passionate. The pitch film and project page are some of the clearest, most engaging and straightforward I have seen since the crowd funding phenomenon hit the gaming world. Take a look at the video (embedded below) and then head over to the Kickstarter page to learn more about this exciting project.