Watching Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time, my 6-year-old daughter immediately glommed onto the character of Princess Leia. This wasn’t surprising in the least—I did pretty much the same when I was her age. But with the exception of a Golden Book, published in 1997 and now heinously out of print, children’s books featuring the Alderaan royal are few and far between. While Star Wars: Escape From Darth Vader doesn’t mend the gap per se, it’s one of the rare stories to cast Leia as the central human protagonist. Part of Disney Publishing’s “World of Reading” series, the book retells the opening scenes of Episode IV, just before Leia is captured by “mean and scary” Darth Vader’s forces.
Zita is a pretty typical 10-year-old who spends her time doing average 10-year-old things. Unlike her more reticent best friend, Joseph, Zita revels in leaping before looking. So when the duo stumbles upon a smoking crater with a strange-looking device, Zita’s impulses get the better of her and she pushes the big, red button in the center. Before she can say “oops,” a portal materializes out of thin air, pulling Joseph into its embrace before winking out of existence once more.
Her immediate response is one even grownups are familiar with: to run, panicked, in the other direction. But then a different sort of emotion kicks in. Recovering the device, Zita reactivates the portal, plunging headfirst into the breach. When she finally comes to on the other side, it’s on a brave new planet, one that shares more in common with Tatooine than Oz or Narnia.
Double Fine’s Broken Age is only half the game it set out to be, but that’s OK. One of Kickstarter’s biggest crowdfunding triumphs, the point-and-click adventure surpassed its $400,000 goal less than 12 hours into its campaign in February 2012. It would go on to rake in $3.3 million, a sum so princely that the game could only grow in scope to match.
A victim of its own ambition—studio boss and LucasArts alum Tim Schafer blamed himself for designing “too much game”—Double Fine ran out of money mid-development. But instead of begging its backers for more, the company settled on an unorthodox solution: selling the first half of Broken Age to fund the second, to be delivered as a free update at a later time.