Jumpman. Ask anyone who gamed heavily on the Commodore 64 (or other systems around during that time period), and you can bet that gamer has at least heard the name. I know I spent a ton of time playing it and its pseudo-sequel, Jumpman Jr. These games, along with Lode Runner, were among my first introductions to the platforming genre.
You can imagine my excitement, then, when I stumbled across Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr’s Kickstarter to bring back this landmark franchise. Titled Jumpman Forever, the game promises to be true enough to the original to hit the nostalgia sweet-spot, and it is the focus of this edition of the Kickstarter Watch List.
What is Jumpman Forever?
Jumpman Forever is one man’s attempt to revive a beloved franchise. The original Jumpman appeared on the surface to be a simple climbing platformer. You played as the title character Jumpman, and it was your job to diffuse bombs left by terrorists throughout different levels on Jupiter. To be honest, the story is not what drew me to the game; it was the gamplay itself. With 30 unique levels each filled with different challenges to overcome, the game kept me coming back for more, and beating a level I had never beaten before was always an accomplishment.
So what does Jumpman Forever bring to the table? Other than a near pixel perfect reproduction of the feel of the game with a few graphical upgrades, Sickmon is working to bring back that sense of accomplishment and the diversified levels. The game is slated to come with 30 levels for the Ouya version, with anywhere between 45 – 60 planned for the PC, Mac, iOS and Android versions. Looking at the videos he has on the Kickstarter page itself, he has already captured some of the old feel while adding some new wrinkles, including levels where you control two different versions of Jumpman on the screen at the same time. He also is planning to add a level creator and cloud sharing of community levels, and all of this will be included in a game which will only run about $3.99!
Who is Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr?
Just who is Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr? To be honest, I had never heard of him before I ran across this Kickstarter campaign. Turns out he’s been a software developer for nearly half his life, and he has written and released 10 games to date. He may be best known for RetroBreaker, a brick breaking game for Android, iOS and PC which threw a few twists into the classic gameplay.
So why is Sickmon trying to create a new yet retro version of Jumpman? As it turns out, this is a project he has been working on for several years, though the idea of making Jumpman Forever so similar to the original is a relatively new development. Sickmon has the rights from the original creator to do one version of the game only, and he is working to make the definitive version of the game, carrying over the same core gameplay that made the original so great while adding new elements to appeal to current gamers. The plan is ambitious, but based on the videos he has of the game currently in action, I believe he can pull it off. Take a look for yourself on his Kickstarter page.
Why is Jumpman Forever worth backing?
It would be easy for me to give you the nostalgic reasons I want this project to succeed, but that would only really work for those of you who played the original game. For those who have not, let me assure you there is still a place for retro-platformers like Jumpman Forever. On top of the solid gameplay and fantastic level design, the promise of community maps and additional content released every 4-6 months for the first two years after the game comes out should be enough to make fans of this style of game consider backing it. Then there is the fact you can get the game itself for only $2.00 if you back now, and you only have to pledge $10.00 to get access to the beta. There are other cool tiers being offered for this campaign, including the one I got, which comes with a Christmas card with a redeemable code for the game. I know someone who would love to get that card.
Sickmon is only looking for $20,000 to fund Jumpman Forever. He still has a little more than half that to raise at the time this article is being written, and time is running out (9 days left as of 12/12/2013). I would hate to see such a promising homage to one of the legendary Commodore 64 games not make its goal. Take a look at Jumpman Forever‘s Kickstarter, and see if you might be willing to help this dream come true.
As it stands right now, Jumpman Forever has reached its funding goal. Looks like fans of old-school platformers are going to have a reason to celebrate.