How can one involve into the game those who are not gamers?

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Future services. Date:23.06.2008, 16:51.

This is the idea for developers of online games. In my opinion, they have an interesting task: to expand game coverage by including millions of people who did not game, do not game and are not going to game. Below I will present a description of the project, which could involve a number of participants, even me as a super-conservator in gaming hobbies, whose experience comes to a single loading of a new version of “Civilization” once for five years.

1. So, it would be created a portal for mobile games. These games can have a lot of heroes, and can have only one: for example, certain Little Man, the collective image of the little man, our contemporary, who constantly changes jobs, residence, loves traveling and adventures to own detriment and constantly gets into troubles.

The portal offers a free download of a set of missions for our hero with some game scenes on a variety of topics: professional, home, love, crime, war, history, etc. Developers both amateurs and professionals can add to the portal their own missions.

General requirements for the missions are: plots should abound in humor and unexpected plot moves and demand the player not only to have dexterity and skill, but also the ability to solve non-standard tasks going on the mission. Gamers should have a rich choice of options, allowing to create diverse, fun and entertaining missions, mostly reflecting the character and mindset of the gamer. All missions passed should be recorded and stored at the portal during a time defined by gamer, and spectators could evaluate missions.

2. The gamer, sure, is gaming. Choosing a particular mission, he increases its rating and the rating of the developer. And his own rating would be increased not only with the number of points scored in a game, but also with the number of visitors (viewings).

3. Not only direct visitors of the portal would be counted as the “spectators”. They engage users of social networks and blog-hostings and this is the main highlight of the project.

Bloggers and “socials” would be invited to upload in their “user-info” and news lines special gadgets (more exactly, compact code for the flash player) with selected missions or their fragments. The blogger can comment them, suggest to his friends to pay attention to this mission, or a gamer, to ask for help in solving a particular game problem. The place of blogger or “social” in the particular “ranking of promoters” depends on the number of viewings. If one’s blog is thematic, for example, devoted to computers, cooking or travels, one can use corresponding mission’s materials to attract readers. If you write “about life in general”, the most logical way would be to enter into symbiosis with a particular gamer, whose style is good for you, and you’d always promote his “life story”.

One may talk just about symbiosis. The gamer will give you permanent themes for the post (“And do you know that my little man had just robbed a bank and taken a million dollars? See under the cut, how he has done it). And you’d raise the rating of the gamer with the help of viewers involved, as well as to help him with practical advices and useful information necessary for the successful completion of the mission. It is a kind of “room’s help” or, if you want, “call to a friend” (the latter definition is more appropriate, given that requests for assistance and back recommendations would be transferred via SMS).

I think that the gamers and their “promoters” may become for each other a sort of “intelligent Tamagotchi” – no less attractive, but more living and real than those Japanese toys requiring the constant attention of the owner.

There are many ways to ruin this project. And there are four necessary terms to observe for minimum hope of project’s success:

1. A very simple and comfortable interface is necessary. It can be a panel in the user-info, with the full statistics of “social” and his associated gamer, that gives easy access to the most important functions: to watch missions of the gamer, to cut and paste selected fragments, etc. “Social” should spend little time on technical issues, so he could have much time for associated gamer’s publicity among his friends and other visitors of his account. E.g. for “show business”, that, according to the plan of the project, had to inspire “social”.

2. A little bit different approach to the purpose itself of the game would be in this project. Game’s tasks such as “to find a treasure”, “to rob a bank”, “to create your own business”, “to shoot them all”, etc. fade into the background. Gamer would reach them one way or another but it is not the whole point. The game should give a maximum of occasions for comments and a maximum of possibilities for the gamer to create such occasions at the right time. And a gamer should feel himself like an actor, which does not easy “kill them all” – but does it charmingly. In other words, the game must contain a set of “unnecessary”, but the fun activities that can well entertain the audience. For example, the opportunity for a hero to turn for a second in the roaring lion or a barking dog, to gallop with his “fifth point” on the asphalt like pebbles bouncing on the water, to stick any two subjects to each other tightly (for example., enemy and passing trolley), etc. These “unnecessary” actions are not necessary to achieve the usual gaming purpose (“to kill them all”) – but a good gamer, “an actor”, would skillfully use them in exactly selected dramatic moments – and thereby would provoke the audience to comment and to crosspost mission’s episode to their journals.

3. The critical mass of interesting missions will not take up from the air. The budget should be sufficient to pay for the development of several tens to hundreds of movies (this seems to me a critical mass – but marketers can correct me).

4. This gaming system should be introduced as a fashion, to create it one should attract the leading bloggers with great number of readers.

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