"My goal is to get enough people - 144 - to fill at least one server," he said. "If that happens, I'm going to open up for donations. People can send me $5 or more, and every $5 gets them entered into a drawing to let them create their own character for the game."
Another important component of his model is to donate 10 percent of proceeds to charity, in this case a worldwide children's hunger charity called ChildFund.
Cronkhite said making a commitment to donate 10 percent to charity fits with his Christian beliefs.
"And the business reason is that people will feel better if they lose," he said of the drawing.
If players respond to Cronkhite's offer, he'll open up more servers - they're like playing rooms - and make the game free permanently, continuing to offer chances to create a character for a $5 donation.
"There is no other game I know of, especially any game sold in any store, that lets you create your own character from scratch, including its abilities and design," Cronkhite said. "In addition to that, a lot of people do like the 16-bit games."
While the concept of the game is Cronkhite's, he had help from his server host and a programmer. The essence of the game is that it's a quest that takes place thousands of years in the future, after the apocalypse. As an added bonus for players and fans, Cronkhite has created a webcomic - a comic book that appears on his website. It helps explain and enhance the story of the game.
It's mostly all in good fun for Cronkhite, now 32, who says he is happy to have a day job. It would be nice, he said, if he earned a little income from the game and website to supplement his income working at a bank call center. He moved to Charleston to be with his girlfriend, Angel Frame, and he said they are planning their future together.
She's a video game fan, too, and they met when she served as a monitor for his original game. They do play Playstation 3, but Cronkhite said he prefers the older and less gory or violent games.
"I get turned off by those games. I'm more interested in game play, whatever's fun," he said.
For more information, including an explanation of his game, visit www.16bitarena.com.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.
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