The Choosatron is an interactive fiction storytelling machine that comes as an easy to build kit; great for social reading, playing, and creating! As you play, you make decisions that affect the outcome of the story, and your journey is printed on a keepsake paper scroll. It also allows you to write your own stories and share them with others!
I originally designed the Choosatron in 2012 as an initial exploration into hobbyist electronics. After the prototype was complete, built into an old cardboard box, I shared it with friends and colleagues, which snowballed into the device being invited to a number of local events, and quickly international ones. A year later I decided to run a kickstarter in order to create a more refined kit that was easy for kids and adults to put together while piquing their curiosity in how it worked. The goal was a STEAM kit that could also be used in education to help teach making, encourage reading, serve as a platform for creative writing, and an exploration of game design through branding narratives and logic.
The kickstarter was wildly successful, raising $75k of the $22k requested. For me it turned out to be a crash course for end-to-end product development, designing and working with a manufacturer in Shenzhen as well as content creators all over the world to build a library of interactive stories. That of course was on top of managing the bill of materials to keep down costs and complex accounting to calculate projections for total costs given various possible outcomes for the kickstarter rewards themselves. Needless to say, I gained an incredible amount of experience by the time I shipped 600+ units to backers worldwide.
Since the kickstarter the Choosatron has won multiple awards, been used for education, and has been exhibited in dozens of events around the world, including conferences, festivals, entertainment venues, and museums (with multiple permanent exhibitions such as Berlin's Game Science Center).