Online game experimentation

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Working for Ignition Media‘s been really exciting and extremely eye-opening. I started in January with the title Account Manager. However, it’s a small shop — only five employees plus the owner — so we all sort of wind up doing a bit of everyone. I’ve been trying to carve out my niche in new business and social media.

We’re trying to find innovative new ways to increase brand impressions for current clients, as we cultivate new ones. Of course, this has meant a lot of research into using Twitter, Facebook, and online games to try and increase traffic and enhance the overall user experience for client websites. We’re looking into the creation of interactive microsites for some clients, and just additional features on current sites for others.

I’ve been paying close attention to online games. Here are some that I find compelling, fun or just weird.

  • My Brute: I talked about this site in a previous post. I’ve been playing it as often as possible and am trying to sort out a way to leverage the engine for monetization. I’ve leveled up high enough so that I started my own clan. The thing I really dig about this site is that it’s pretty simple, doesn’t require a lot of effort to play, and it provides incentives for the user to return every day by limiting the amount of times your character can fight in a 24-hour period.
  • Spymaster: This showed up on Twitter last Friday, and although it can be a spammy (I’ve lost a few followers because of the updates it posts to my timeline), the amount of information you broadcast is completely up to you. Spymaster was created by the people at iList, and appears to just be a fun side project. However, I can see a lot of potential for this kind of mini role-playing game that leverages Twitter to promote itself and recruit players.
  • Night Hunger: There’s a chain of restaurants in the States called Buffalo Wild Wings. They have a pretty hilarious flash website, and a series of awesome games as well. One of those games is a choose your own adventure style with hilarious animations and dialogues. You have to fight off scary beasts in your quest to find delicious hot wings. It’s pretty funny how clueless the character is. I’m not very good at this game because it gets really difficult after the third level, but I play it fairly often because it makes me laugh.
  • Wing Wednesday Blazing Challenge: Buffalo Wild Wings was a bit of an inspiration for Ignition. We decided to develop a game concept for Hudsons Canadian Taphouse. You’re at a table of some stereotypically Canadian characters, and you’re attempting to steal their hot wings from them. The game launched last Friday. Now the key is to get people playing it, talking about it and sharing it with their friends.

We’re hoping that the creation of this game leads to more opportunities to create this sort of content. It’s fun, it adds layers of interest to a website & brand and, if successful, it could turn into more customers patronizing clients’ businesses. I’m interested to hear any ideas people have (or better yet, examples of) for online games that help promote a brand, a product or a service. Provide links and commentary!

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