OK. The obvious question. Why am I releasing this game for free?
Simple answer: I can't sell it. The game is based on the mechanics to Apples To Apples, and the creator of that game patented the system. Patents on game systems are unusual, but not unknown. I approached Out of the Box Games, the publishers of Apples to Apples, with Karaoke Screams to see if they would be interested in buying it and publishing it. They passed it around their development people, and though they liked the game, they didn't think it fitted in with their product lineup, i.e. the direction of their company.
I respect that. When you have your own company, you need to have a focus of what you want that company to be, and in the case of a game publisher, that's the games that you sell. You wouldn't expect to see Wizards of the Coast offering the GI Joe Complete Fashion Makeover Kit, would you?
And do not take this as a knock against Apples To Apples. I like the game, it is a fantastic party game and is a huge amount of fun! I highly recommend it, especially because it's a great game for non-gamers, it takes five minutes to learn how to play and you can go at it for hours, truly an all-ages game.
Mark Osterhaus, the President of Out of the Box, has been very polite about it and stated in an email that I should be able to release Karaoke Screams for free on this web site. I've played the game (something one would normally expect of the person who created it in the first place) and it's a lot of fun. I think a lot of people could get some enjoyment out of it, so I'm hoping it will see the light of day, even if I don't see a dime from it. It will actually cost me money, both directly and indirectly. The direct cost is that every time someone downloads it, the amount of bandwidth used is charged against my hosting costs. The indirect costs is that it takes time to update the Karaoke Screams database, convert them to PDFs, zip 'em, upload them, update the web pages, then send out a mailing list announcement that an update is available.
So what you're seeing is literally a love of game. The game is a lot of fun, especially with a large group of people. You can add your own songs and people to it, thus customizing it for you and your group of friends.
And I think that's worth a bit of cost and effort on my part.
When I receive the letters from Mark Osterhaus and the patent-holder of Apples To Apples, you'll see the game available for free on this web site.