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Classic arcade game Dragon's Lair seeks to hit the big screen

Fans of Dragon's Lair have long clamored for a movie version of the animated game. If a Kickstarter campaign is successful, they might get their wish.

Interested in how the bumbling Dirk the Daring got his start? Then there's a Kickstarter campaign that might interest you.

Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

When it came out in 1983, Dragon's Lair dramatically changed the look of classic arcade games. In a room full of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Dig Dug machines, it offered a break from pixelated action and let players basically control a cartoon.

Now, the creators of that game, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, have given in to what they say has been longtime clamoring from fans. They decided to test the waters for a feature-length animated film version of Dragon's Lair. They're testing those waters in a way that wouldn't have been possible when the game first hit arcades -- through a Kickstarter campaign.

Bluth and Goldman say that the movie will provide the backstory to Dirk the Daring, the bumbling knight who tries to rescue Princess Daphne in the game but usually winds up falling, burning or getting the life squeezed out of him by insidious vines. The game was like a "choose your adventure" in cartoon form, so turning it into a full-length movie makes sense. Its unique look was due to the fact that it was created on LaserDisc. Players' actions simply loaded a different animated scene as they navigated a trap-filled castle to create a running narrative.

Bluth, a former Disney animator, and Goldman have collectively worked on such films as "Secret of NIMH," "An American Tail," "The Land Before Time" and "All Dogs Go To Heaven." So, they know what it takes to bring a full-length animated movie to life. That's why they're only seeking $550,000 (about £359,397, AU$763,868) through the Kickstarter campaign. That sum would be enough for the duo to create a trailer for the film, which they could then use to lure investors to raise the full price of making the movie, which they estimate at $70 million.

The pair are smart to cap their funding where they did. Even hugely successful crowdfunded movies don't raise anywhere near $70 million. One of the most well-funded Kickstarter movie projects was for a film version of TV show "Veronica Mars," and that only made $5,702,153. The extremely popular crowdfunded film "Wish I Was Here," from "Scrubs" star Zach Braff, raised $3,105,473. Other crowdfunded films hover in the $2 million range.

Still the $550,000 is certainly a fine first step. If you want to help Bluth and Goldman take it, there are rewards ranging from digital postcards to T-shirts, caps, lapel pins and animation classes. Pledges start at $15 (about £10, AU$21) and, for the true Dragon's Lair lover, climb to $10,000 (about £6,535, AU$13,889).

At this time, the pair has raised about $60,000 with about a month left in the campaign.