It's status quo these days to turn to Kickstarter, or any other crowdfunding platform, when we need money to fuel our big ideas. There are literally thousands of campaigns out there, and while a lot of them are trying to change the world a lot of them make us laugh, scratch our heads, or inspire in us a drive to follow our own dreams – no matter how crazy.
Regardless of the origin or end goal of a Kickstarter campaign, it's uplifting to see a community of people surround an idea and help take it from the designer's head into reality. To celebrate this, I rounded up some of the most unbelievable campaigns I could find, unbelievable with regard to either the amount of funding raised, scale of the idea, or general weirdness of the concept.
They might not be the most professional campaigns ever, but they're damn fun to read about.
Here are 20 of the most weird, odd, fun, or unbelievable Kickstarter campaigns that were actually funded:
- The World’s Most Super Amazing 100% Awesome Cat Calendar – looking for $3,500; raised $25,183: This isn’t just any cat calendar, it’s the world’s most amazing cat calendar. Each year that they’ve done the calendar – yes this isn’t the first one they’ve produced – the team focuses on a central theme. Past themes have been famous monsters, movies, and musical genres. In 2014, the year they were seeking funding for, the team made a magical creatures calendar.
- Griz Coat – looking for $2,500; raised $29,015: The team wanted to wear grizzly bear jackets for Halloween one year but couldn’t find one that looked realistic. The closest thing they found were coats made from Griz Coareal grizzly bear fur, but they were far too expensive. So, they brought a costume designer on board to create a couple from scratch, and then people began asking about buying them. I actually purchased one of these a year back and it’s been the hit of any party I’ve worn it to ever since.
- Grilled Cheesus – looking for $25,000; raised $25,604: Because normal grilled cheese sandwiches are just so blasé. The Grilled Cheesus is an electronic sandwich press that toasts the face of Jesus onto your bread. Part of me thinks this is inspired by the Virgin Mary appearing in a grilled cheese sandwich, but the team says it’s built to inspire and impress friends and family.
- Coolest Cooler – looking for $50,000; raised $13,285,226: Talk about getting more than you bargained for! The team took everything lacking in the traditional coolers we all grew up with and used and implemented a host of technological features to heighten the experience. It comes complete with a blender port, fold out cutting boards, built in Bluetooth speakers, and a USB charger – to name a few features.
- Ouya – looking for $950,000; raised $8,596,474: Ouya was fully funded in 2012 and has since been working hard to get their consoles into the hands of their backers. There were some slight hiccups after initial funding, but the Ouya team has successfully rolled out an Android powered gaming console at an affordable price.
- The Veronica Mars Movie Project – looking for $2,000,000; raised $5,702,153: Successfully funded in 2013, The Veronica Mars movie was officially made and produced (WHEN). I even saw it on HBO last week. It was actually Kickstarter’s fastest project to reach both $1 and $2 million, the all-time highest-funded project in the film category, and had the most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.
- Mighty No. 9 – looking for $900,000; raised $3,845,170: This Japanese video game took the best parts of the 8 and 16 bit era classics and gave them a new face with modern tech, fresh mechanics, and fan input. In fact, the team hit all of their stretch goals and eventually got their new game released for PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, PS4, and XBOX ONE.
- Ostrich Pillow – looking for $70,000; raised $195,094: It might look absolutely ridiculous, but this pillow is pretty great for power naps. The catch is that you can take a nap pretty much anywhere in the world with one of these pillows; the design provides a micro environment that’s both cozy and comfortable for napping. Just expect a lot of people to take photos of you while you’re sleeping because.
- The Universim – looking for $320,000; raised $387,345: I’m a big fan of management and strategy video games, and The Universim is one of the better installations in the genre from an Indie developer that I’ve seen. It wasn’t about just building a video game, it was about building a game that’s as unique as it is entertaining – in this world you’re effectively assuming the role of the deity and taking control of a living simulation.
- Pug-let: The First Ever All-Pug Production of Hamlet – looking for $5,000; raised $5,035: To pug, or not to pug…Apparently the Kickstarter community voted “to pug”. It was a simple project, but no less important because of it. Anything that takes a literary genius like Shakespeare and keeps his work alive – even if by questionable means – deserves a bit of recognition.
- Meat Soap – looking for $1,500; raised $1,905: I get that Americans are obsessed with meat and bacon, but smelling like freshly cooked meats after stepping out of the shower isn’t something I’m particularly fond of. But the community obviously disagrees with me, and I can’t hate on the team’s direction. They’ve been operating on the philosophy that we need to talk more about hygiene and using animal-based resources to their fullest potential. They also don’t think mint or rose scents are acceptable in comparison to bacon.
- Poop: The Game – looking for $4,500; raised $11,696: This game was created in tandem by kids and adults for other kids and adults. The kids like it because the silly designs, and anything poop-related is funny. And adults seem to really love it because they can act like kids again, laughing at poop-related stuff. It rings similar to UNO, and if you’re of age you can even turn it into a rip roaring drinking game.
- Crystal Bacon – looking for $2,000; raised $2,786: True, it’s not real crystal but rather acrylic plastic, but it looks like crystal bacon. It’s a sculptural tribute, as the artist says, to the most delicious of all meats: bacon. Every piece of bacon is custom made and hand-crafted in Chicago and can be used for a host of jewelry or ornamentation scenarios.
- Combat Kitchenware – looking for $7,000; raised $46,261: Why wouldn’t you want a sword hilt on your frying pan? It’s way cooler than a boring on pan handle. Morlock Enterprises pride themselves on bringing awesome into our lives, and their cookware is pretty stimulating for the imagination. Or, as they say, “allow the wonderful delusions that haunt your adventure seeking brains to seep out”.
- Missy for Prez – looking for $1,780; raised $2,492: Inspired by a dream of Missy Elliott as the President of the United States, a RISD student set out to begin designing after she woke up. In her dream, Missy Elliott wore a tracksuit into the oval office, a tracksuit in the conference room, and she also had an airplane that matched her flying tracksuit. Lo and behold, you can now buy this inspired apparel.
- 5 O’clock Shadow – looking for $3,000; raised $3,119: They keep you warm and happy, and they make you look like a burly mountain man. The shadow started off as a ski accessory but the team sees it as a necessity in colder climates. Just strap on this wooly beard and your face will stay toasty no matter what you’re doing: boarding, skiing, hiking, camping, or sledding with the family. It’s hilarious on little kids.
- Ron Paul: Road to REVOLution – looking for $5,000; raised $11,073: Reminiscent of side scrolling masterpieces from the Nintendo and Super Nintendo era, this game features politician Ron Paul as the protagonist. Make your way across all 50 states collecting gold and delegates to ensure your seat as the President. Built in HTML5, this game features over 50 levels, 13 boss fights, and challenging puzzles.
- I Am The Doctor – A Doctor Who Concept Rap Album – looking for $2,175; raised $4254: For the show’s 50th anniversary, Tom Rockwell took to Kickstarter to fun his Weird Al inspired album. He’s become one of the most requested artists on the Dr. Demento Show and in 2011 he had an album get to the 28th rank on the iTunes Hip Hop charts. Now he’s rapping about one of everybody’s favorite shows just for the fans.
- Titanoboa: 50ft Electromechanical Serpent – looking for $10,000; raised $10,560: If you hate snakes then skip this one, because Charlie Brinson created a fully articulated, 50 foot snake for Burning Man. About 60 million years ago there lived a monstrous snake called Titanoboa. This giant reincarnation of the ancient serpent will roam the earth and strike fear into the hearts of those who dare to look it in the eyes.
- A Chicken Burrito – looking for $8; raised $1,050: That’s not a typo. Noboru Bitoy was really looking for $8.00 to buy a chicken burrito from Chipotle to determine just how good it really is. Bitoy would then display his findings in a creative presentation for the community that funded him.