When making a game is a game in itself

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) --- Something strange happened earlier this week: The people of the Internet -- not exactly known for their generosity -- gave $1 million in a SINGLE DAY to an online game that hasn't even been created yet.

Not only is this a milestone for Kickstarter, the "crowd funding" platform that made these donations possible; it's also an experiment in, as the blog ReadWriteWeb aptly described it, making a game out of the game-making process.

The game is called Double Fine Adventure. As of Friday morning, it had raised $1.2 million on the promise that:

With this project, we're taking that door off its hinges and inviting you into the world of Double Fine Productions, the first major studio to fully finance their next game with a Kickstarter campaign and develop it in the public eye ... This year, you'll be given a front-row seat as they revisit Tim's design roots and create a brand-new, downloadable "Point-and-Click" graphic adventure game for the modern age.

    And here's why the group says it needs so much money (they only asked the Kickstarter community for $400,000):

    Big games cost big money.  Even something as "simple" as an Xbox LIVE Arcade title can cost upwards of two or three million dollars.  For disc-based games, it can be over ten times that amount.

    This is only the second time a Kickstarter project has received more than $1 million, according to The Verge, which says the project reached its $400,000 goal in less than eight hours.

    Over at ReadWriteWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick argues that by asking the Internet to support the game -- giving them an urgent call to action and a chance to take a small part in something "epic" -- the game creators have already started a game.

    More from him:

    Put all that within the context of a known brand (the game makers themselves), the well-executed but still-fresh infrastructure of Kickstarter and the end result of a game that is easy to afford ($15 gets you a download on Steam when it's done), and you've got a recipe for some gamified game creation. In this case, record levels of game creation.

    Kirkpatrick also references a tweet from Jane McGonigal, whose "augmented reality" games are the stuff reporters (like me; see video below) love to write about because they're pushing the boundaries of what we consider to be a "game."

    Here's what McGonigal tweeted yesterday to Double Fine's creator, Tim Schafer:

    "You're making us all feel like we're a part of something historic ^_^"

    It doesn't hurt that the creator's twitter handle is "TimOfLegend."