Michael Molinari Discusses Choice Chamber
by Greg Micek
Choice Chamber, the very unique crowd-gaming experience is something we’ve talked about before. You can read our recent preview of the game for all sorts of details on it. However, up until now we haven’t spoken with the man behind the project, Michael Molinari. Having come off a successful Kickstarter campaign for Choice Chamber that raised over $35,000 we decided to check in with Michael to see how things are going.
Cliqist : Congratulations on Choice Chamber reaching its funding goal! What were you doing when you first learned you reached your funding goal? Please don’t answer if you were on the pot so to speak.
Michael Molinari : When Twitch announced they were going to match funding on Wednesday, the campaign was only at $15k out of 30. By 10pm, it was at 22.5k, which is the point at which Twitch would match the remainder and bring it to 30k. I was super tired from all the day’s activity, but I stayed up until after midnight to watch it roll over. I tweeted out a lot of animated gifs to express how I felt.
Cliqist : Now that your campaign is over, how do you feel about the work ahead, and also about your Kickstarter experience?
Michael Molinari : I’m super excited to finally get to work on this thing long-term, as running the campaign meant I couldn’t just sit down and add new stuff (though I did make time for that anyway). I think the Kickstarter experience is exhausting, especially when you run it on your own. Chelsea was helping out via text as she’s in Asia at the moment, and Kent’s been providing new sketches for me to show backers every week. But I’ve been answering and/or reading the thousands of e-mails (literally, over 3k) that came in throughout the whole thing.
Cliqist : Choice Chamber is pretty unique. What inspired the concept and did you always imagine this to be a crowdfunded game?
Michael Molinari : I created this game as an answer to not being able to have the chat and streamer play something together. There was already a connection between the two, but they could only talk to each other and not participate in some greater experience. We didn’t get the idea to crowdfund until the first big Twitch user played, Ezekiel_iii. As he was playing to about 1,000 concurrent viewers, people in the chat were asking how they could pay for this, where do they insert money into their computers, etc. This immediately made us realize people are excited about this kind of thing. The Kickstarter launched 2.5 weeks after that stream took place.
Cliqist : Your game concept reminded me of the “Hunger Games” series concept in that those watching the game could aide or hurt the participants through participation from afar. Are there other similarities? If I play your game do I get to meet Katniss or participate in a dystopian revolution?
Michael Molinari : Yeah, it’s pretty similar to that idea. It’s also maybe like The Truman Show, where a thousand directors are controlling one person’s life. It’s an interesting dynamic, and one that needs to work both ways. That is, the player needs to give something back to all those eyes watching down.
Michael Molinari : I’ve been making games for about 14 years, since before highschool. I picked it up via online tutorials and made it a hobby. I actually went to college wanting to make VFX for motion pictures, but then realized similar skills could be applied in the game industry, which I cared about a lot more.
Cliqist : What recent inspirations have you had?
Michael Molinari : I don’t know if this answers your question, but I am super inspired by Crypt of the Necrodancer. It’s a fusion of almost everything I love, and I am very much looking forward to playing it when it’s released. So far I’ve only played it at shows/conventions on a DDR pad, which makes it all the more fantastic. I also saw Alien for the first time last year, and I’m still thinking of ways to capture the beauty of that film in a game. It may or may not find its way into Choice Chamber.
Michael Molinari : I’ve been living temporarily in Las Vegas during this whole campaign, and there’s this hole in the wall Italian joint that makes the best bolognese sauce. People just go there for the sauce. The pasta of course goes well with this, which for me was hand-made spinach raviolis. Deelish!
Cliqist : What has been your greatest moment to date and how does Choice Chamber being funded compare?
Michael Molinari : I think my greatest moment, at least as an indie dev, was showing SoundodgerLIVE at IndieCade Night Games. There was a line out the tent for the entirety of my time slot, and when someone finished playing they just got right back in line. It almost made me want to quit making digital-only games and exclusively make fun installation games for crowds. The experience is just so electric. Choice Chamber getting funded is an amazing feat, which could not have happened were it not for many factors, and I’m excited and relieved and looking forward to working on it. It was a great moment – I mean I was so happy I almost threw up – but it’s no SoundodgerLIVE.
Cliqist : Can you close us out with a Choice Chamber inspired haiku?
Michael Molinari :
Into the chambers
A thousand eyes watching me
I’m just their play thing
[Google][pinterest][follow id=”Cliqist” size=”large” count=”true” ]