News from redBit games

Advergaming: This is How Video Games Help Brands Promote Their Products

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Last month we talked about how video games can be used to achieve educational goals, but what most people don’t realize is that they can be useful in other areas too, such as advertising for example. In fact, recently many brands have started to use video games to reach consumers and promote their products. Curious to know more? Keep reading!

Advergames: Main Characteristics

Let’s start with the definition of advergame: as you can imagine, the term comes from the union of the English words “advertising” and “game” and it is used to refer to a video game that uses advertising techniques to promote products or services of a specific brand. As underlined by Inside Marketing, in these types of games everything is designed in order to convey the advertising message of the brand, from the narrative up to game actions.

In a broader sense, advergames can be considered a form of branded entertainment, that is, a form of marketing where companies produce entertainment media. The use of video games as a form of advertising is certainly a way to avoid the so-called “ad fatigue” of consumers derived from the overuse of classic advertising since they make viewers associate the brand with positive feelings such as fun and relaxation. As a result, higher levels of brand awareness are recorded (source here).

We could say that the main goal of advergames is reaching an audience that is quite hard to reach through traditional channels, namely Millennials and Gen Z. As highlighted by Marco Segatto in his article published on Project Fun, there are several objectives that can be reached thanks to the use of advergames:

  • Increase the engagement
  • Reach many consumers
  • Associate the brand with the values ​​of the game
  • Increase sales
  • Promote products or services
  • Retain customers
  • Increase brand recall
  • Profile users and create a database

The first advergame dates back to 1978, it was developed for the brand Polo but it was never finished and remained only a prototype. For this reason, the first official advergame seems to be Tapper, an arcade game developed for Budweiser (1983). In this game, players had to serve beer to their customers before they got bothered by waiting too long and collect the empty glasses they left before they fell to the floor. Even if originally the advergame was meant to be sold exclusively to bars, it became so popular that arcades bought them too, therefore to avoid promoting drinking alcohol to children the Budweiser logo was changed to an alcohol-free root beer logo (source here).

The 3 types of advergames: illustrative, demonstrative, associative

As explained by Inside Marketing, we call illustrative advergames those games in which the brand or its products are central to the gaming experience, either because the graphics and dynamics of the game are inspired by the brand or because its products are what the player needs to obtain to win.

To help you understand better, here’s an example by M&M’s:

This M&M’s advergame is a match-3 game, in which the goal of the player is to get points by matching elements of the same color. In this case, the elements the player needs to match are the colored confetti of the brand.

On the other hand, demonstrative advergames are characterized by the fact that the player plays a bigger role in the game, it is quite interactive. For example, it could require the player to create an avatar that he needs to move inside the game universe to reach specific goals. An example of this type of advergame is 3D Vince Carter by Nike, released for the launch of Nike Shox: in this game, players took part in a slam dunk contest and had the ability to customize their Nike shoes and try new models.

The third and last type is associative advergames, also known as in-game advertising. These advergames are characterized by the association between a game and an advertising message. Therefore, the brand and its products are not central to the functioning of the game, nor to the narrative or graphics, resulting in a lower level of interaction than illustrative and demonstrative advergames. An example of an associative advergame is the crossover between Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Milano Fashion Week 2021: many brands, like Maison Valentino and Marc Jacobs, have used the video game to advertise their clothes through a virtual fashion show (source here).

Another example of in-game advertising that still involves Animal Crossing: New Horizons is H&M’sLoop Island” campaign. This campaign was created to communicate the introduction of the brand’s new eco-friendly solution, the “Loop Machine”, which is the company’s latest innovation for clothing recycling. For the occasion, H&M recruited Maisie Williams, Arya Stark in the Game of Thrones series, and hosted her Animal Crossing avatar on Loop Island. Maisie Williams’s avatar’s task was to attract players to Loop Island to raise young people’s awareness regarding the brand’s sustainable initiative (source here). And she succeeded!

Other examples of famous advergames

In case you were curious about other advergames’ examples, we’ve got you covered: here are some of the most creative ones!

1. Nike React Land

For the occasion of the Nike React launch, Nike tried to rethink part of the customer experience through an advergame called Nike React Land. To try on the new running shoes, customers could visit the stores and take part in a video game similar to Super Mario. The player had to create a personalized avatar by taking a picture at the store entrance and then exploring the levels created to represent the main attributes of the new shoes (soft, light, and bouncy). As the customer explored this virtual world he accumulated points, which later contributed to a final ranking when reaching game over (source here).

Here’s a video of the initiative:

2. Rescue Matilda by Chiara Ferragni

In this advergame, you play as Chiara Ferragni and your mission is to save Matilda, your little dog. The game is a platform game in pixel art, in which you need to be ready to overcome all kinds of obstacles to get through the levels and reach Matilda. The enemies in this game are giant mouths and barbed cacti that recall haters, and to survive you need to have quick reflexes to avoid them. The advergame was created to encourage users to subscribe to Chiara Ferragni Brand’s newsletter and visit the e-commerce site. To play, in fact, the user needs to register and create a new profile that also saves progress. One thing is for sure: Rescue Matilda achieved great results. The game was played in 140 countries by more than 120,000 users, of which 40,000 have also subscribed to the newsletter. Not too bad we’d say!

3. The Scarecrow by Chipotle

This advergame dates back to 2013 and it was a collaboration between Chipotle and Moonbot Studios, who produced both an animated film and an arcade-style adventure mobile game to promote the “Food with Integrity” campaign. The Scarecrow depicts the journey of a scarecrow to bring wholesome food back to people to oppose the fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Through this game, players can explore this animated world and save confined animals to get them to open pastures, grow crops at Scarecrow Farms and serve healthy food to the citizen of Plenty. With each level, the city of Plenty will get back to how it originally was (source here).

The game, whose goal was that of raising awareness concerning processed food, was a huge success. It sparked the interest of 250,000 users within four days of its release!

Here’s what you need to create a successful advergame

Alright, we saw the definition of advergames and a few examples … but what makes an advergame successful? Let’s find out.

As stated by David Edery and Ethan Mollick in “Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business”, we can identify three keys to success:

  • Make it fun: an advergame needs to be fun to be effective, nobody likes to get bored!
  • Show, don’t tell: advergames can physically demonstrate a brand’s appeal through gameplay;
  • Design the game in a viral perspective: many elements can contribute to the virality of an advergame, such as giving players a way to compare their score with that of their friends or enabling them to compete/collaborate.

Well, you reached the end of the article! What are your thoughts? Do you consider advergames less intrusive than classic advertising? Let us know with a comment, we’re curious!

If you found this topic interesting and this article helped you learn something more, remember to subscribe to our blog to stay updated on gaming-related curiosities!

See you next month!

Game-Based Learning: Here’s Why Video Games Can Be Used to Reach Educational Goals

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Speaking of video games, it is not uncommon to come across people convinced that they represent just a source of entertainment and distraction. But is this really the case? Or is there more to it? Let’s find out together!

What is Game-Based Learning?

When we talk about Game-Based Learning we refer to a type of learning that relies on the use of games or video games. It is a real didactic strategy that uses the dynamics of games to teach specific content or achieve a certain learning result, such as developing soft skills.

As highlighted by Brandon K. Ashinoff in his article “The potential of video games as a pedagogical tool”, if we think about it, video games are fully-fledged learning machines. This is because all video games usually start with a tutorial that accompanies the player in learning the game mechanics, and later on, throughout the game, the teaching method changes to an experience-based process as the actions required to complete tasks become more and more elaborate. By doing this, the game teaches the player how to evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action on his own.

This dynamic is useful not only to teach players about the game itself but also to convey educational information, as demonstrated by a study conducted by Kurt Squire. As he explains in his article “Changing the Game: What Happens When Video Games Enter the Classroom?”, he conducted a study on a secondary school history class in which he had students play Civilization III, a historical simulation game, with the purpose of having the students learn about history from playing the game. In Civilization III, the player is asked to manage a civilization (i.e. the Romans, the Aztecs, etc.) and progress through history, taking care of warfare, diplomacy, science, and the economy of the empire.  In this game, things must be developed in chronological order, so the alphabet comes before mathematics and mathematics before economics, for example. As Squire observed, this mechanic helped the students involved in his study to memorize better the date of the invention of things.

Explicit educational purpose vs. Implicit educational purpose

Games with an explicit educational purpose are also called “serious games” and are characterized by a “learning by doing” approach, therefore by an experiential type of learning in which the information remains impressed as experienced firsthand by the player. In short, the opposite of passive learning.

Some of the topics that can be covered in these games are history, mathematics, and languages, but also more specific topics such as bullying, immigration, and war to promote awareness and educate about inclusion, diversity, and tolerance.

At the same time, though, serious games are not the only ones that can have an educational function; there are many commercial games that integrate learning elements through gameplay in a stealthy and implicit way. The purpose of these games is not to convey notions but rather to help the development of certain soft skills, such as creativity or problem-solving.

To better understand the difference between these two types of games, here’s a list of some examples!

Explicit Educational Purpose Games

  1. The Oregon Trail

This game was developed in the ‘70s by Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger to teach students about about the life of a pioneer on the Oregon Trail in the 19th century. The role of the player is that of a wagon leader who needs to guide his group of settlers from Missouri to Oregon. At the beginning of the game, the player has to pick a job that comes with unique benefits and purchase supplies to face the trip, such as clothes, bullets for hunting, oxen to pull the wagon, and food. Various complications arise during the journey, such as rivers to cross, food supplies running out and group members falling ill. Through these situations, players learn about planning ahead and making choices knowing they will have an impact in the future.

What players learn: historical events, problem-solving skills, pondering before making a decision.

2. Bury me, my Love

Bury me, my Love is a text-adventure game co-developed by Arte France, Figs, and Pixel Hunt. In this game, players follow the story of Nour, who is fleeing Syria and trying to reach Europe, by impersonating her husband Majd, who is remaining behind in Syria to take care of his old mother and grandfather that cannot flee. Through a messaging app, players can talk to Nour and advise her so that she can reach her destination safely. They will be asked to make important choices that will change the unfolding of Nour’s journey, and communications will take place in pseudo-real-time, trying to mimic reality. Time, money, and itinerary represent a variable that might change the outcome of the journey.

What players learn: decision-making, problem-solving skills, awareness of migration issues

3. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is an educational video game about geography that dates back to the 80s, from which originated an investigating franchise. In this game, the player had to follow, theft after theft, Carmen Sandiego, a skilled thief of international fame, trying to catch her and her fellow thieves fleeing across the world.

By interviewing witnesses in different cities and gathering clues, players learn about geography and history as they advance in the game.

What players learn: geographical curiosities, capitals of countries, locations of historic events

Implicit Educational Purpose Games

  1. Minecraft

A bit in-between the two typologies of games discussed so far is Minecraft, originally born without a specific educational purpose, which later on arrived with Minecraft Education Edition.

Minecraft is a 3D world-building game, belonging to the sandbox category, that lets players explore a virtual world in which they can gather resources, build structures, craft tools, and combat other players. In this game, possibilities are endless, there are no rules. Players can play using different modes: creative, survival, adventure, spectator, and multiplayer (a popular mode especially among young players).

The game has sold millions of copies on a dozen platforms. What makes Minecraft so enjoyable is the fact that it’s a virtual parallel world where adventure and fantasy coexist and the user’s creativity is the real protagonist, thanks to the possibility of creating infinite content.

What players learn: teamwork, creativity, problem-solving and analytical skills

2. Scribblenauts Series

Scribblenauts is a franchise of puzzle sandbox games developed by 5th Cell and published by WB Games. As Maxwell, the protagonist of the series, players are faced with various challenges that can be solved by typing the name of the needed object in a magical notebook, which makes it appear in-game. Everything you can think of, you can create.  It’s a game in which creativity is strongly encouraged and as a result, players expand both spelling and vocabulary skills.

What players learn: problem-solving skills, improved imagination, and vocabulary, associative skills

3. Little Big Planet Series

This adventure platform game originally came out for PlayStation 3 in 2008. Little Big Planet as a series follows the story of Sackboy and his friends, tiny doll-like creatures, as they try to get through the levels by solving puzzles and exploring new landscapes. What sets this game apart is the possibility to completely customize your gaming experience, by designing your character, homes, outfits, and even levels. That’s right, players can create their own levels and share them with their friends!

What players learn: problem-solving skills, design, logic, spatial orientation skills

Some of the cognitive benefits of video games

In conclusion, as highlighted in the article “The Benefits of Playing Video Games” by Granic et al., regardless of whether they are games designed specifically for education or not, there are various cognitive benefits derived from playing video games. The main ones involve:

  • Coordination: players have to move and react to what they see on screen;
  • Problem-solving skills: to reach their goal, players must face challenges and puzzles and follow the rules imposed by the game;
  •  Memory enhancement: to succeed, players need to remember the game’s rules, controls as well as details about characters and plot in story-based games;
  • Improved focus: video games hold people’s attention;
  • Multitasking skills: players are often asked to monitor multiple issues at the same time, such as their avatar’s health and inventory, time limits on a level or task, etc.
  • Teamwork/Leadership: multiplayer functions encourage cooperation.

Well, we have reached the end of the article! What do you think? Are you still convinced that video games are just pure entertainment or have you changed your mind? Let us know in the comments!

We hope you found this topic interesting and that this article helped you learn something more about game-based learning. Remember to subscribe to our blog if you want to stay updated on gaming-related curiosities!

See you next month!

Not an idle games expert? Here’s everything you need to know!

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Idle games: a new gaming frontier

Hello community, we’re back with a new blog entry! We know it’s been a long time since the last blog entry, but we’re finally here to make up for the lost time.

This time around, we’ll talk about a new game genre that has had great success in the last few years, especially among young people: idle games. But what are they? How do they work? If you’re not an expert, keep reading: you will surely have learned a little more by the end of this article!

Definition and main characteristics

Generally speaking, we define idle games as all those games that do not need constant interaction from the player to progress but are perfectly capable of continuing to run independently in the background, which is why they are also known as background games. Other names often associated with them are incremental games, self-playing games, clickers, and the like – you get the gist. The idea behind it is to click or tap on the screen to get resources that the player can later spend on upgrades to increase the number of resources produced both automatically and by clicking.

Therefore, idle gaming is quite flexible: it can be done actively (clicking) or passively (waiting for resources to accumulate or getting rewards for returning to the game). The most important thing is that at least some of the game mechanics need to occur idly, while the player is not playing, to be part of the category.

In most idle games there is no “game over”, but rather the possibility of starting a new game, which resets game progress in exchange for benefits on the next playthrough, such as the ability to store resources faster than the first time or similar features. This means that players can keep playing as long as they want … there is no real end to the game!

Fun fact? As explained in an article of Quantic Foundry published by Nick Yee (here’s the link to the original article), these games take inspiration from two games born to make fun of already existing game mechanics: Progress Quest by Eric Fredericksen, born as a parody of MMOs like EverQuest, and Cow Clicker, a satirical game created by Ian Bogost.

(Source: Progress Quest)

(Source: Cow Clicker)

Progress Quest poked fun at the monotony of having to grind to level up by having the game do that on its own, while the whole point of Cow Clicker was clicking on a cow every 6 hours to collect “Mooney”. From these two games descended Cookie Clickers (sounds familiar?), which combined both idle and click mechanics.

Clickers, minimalist, zero-player … what’s the difference?

As described in the book “The Pleasure of Playing Less” by Alharti et al., we can use different names to refer to this category of games based on the amount of interactivity required, which can range from little to none. Broadly speaking, we can identify three types of idle games:

  • Clickers
  • Minimalist games
  • Zero-player games

Clicker games require the highest amount of interaction since the player needs to tap constantly on the screen to obtain resources; minimalist games, on the contrary, try to reduce the number of actions the player can perform by decreasing the activities available or in general by minimizing the interaction, which gradually becomes less and less required. At last, we have zero-player games, characterized by the fact that they do not need the player’s involvement at all. They are capable of running in the background on their own, ready to be picked up at any time.

But why do idle games work?

Think about it: in idle games, you make money (or resources that work like money) by basically doing … nothing. You can quit the game whenever you desire knowing that when you will come back, you will have more money than when you left. Pretty neat, right?

At the same time, though, as underlined by Mindstudios’ article, idle games still provide a few challenges to the player, mostly because upgrades get more expensive as time goes by. This means that the player needs to become more strategic about purchasing upgrades, trying to figure out which ones will be more profitable in the long run and which are the best combos. As for the main reasons for the success of this category of games, Aaron Le Conte in his article “Idle Games, Everything You Need to Know!” summarized them as follows:

  • The player feels rewarded for his inactivity and for coming back to the game
  • A sense of continuous progress in the game
  • Less physical input is suitable for lazy players
  • Trophies and achievements help the player feel accomplished
  • Upgrading conveys a sense of growth (people like watching numbers increase)

Best idle games (mobile or PC)

At last but not least, here is what we are sure you were actually waiting for: a list of what we believe to be the best idle games around. Let’s get started!

Cookie Clickers (mobile)

Well, we are obviously going to be biased since our favorite idle game in the clickers category is actually our own game: Cookie Clickers.

The game is pretty simple: you need to bake as many cookies as possible by tapping on the giant cookie in the middle of the screen. The faster you tap, the more cookies you bake! When you have enough cookies you can decide to buy upgrades that will help you bake even faster, like the “AutoClick” or “GrandMa” upgrades. Like a true idle game, upon returning to the game the player can collect the cookies baked in his absence. Also, a few golden cookies will drop from the sky every now and then and give the player extra points when caught in time!

If you are curious to find out more, our game is available on mobile for both iOS and Android 😊

My name is Mayo (PC and PS4/PS5)

For the clickers category, but available only on pc and PS4/PS5, there is also My name is Mayo by Green Lava Studio.

(Source: My Name is Mayo)

The concept, as for all clickers, is that of tapping on the big mayonnaise jar in the middle of the screen to open the flask. Unlike Cookie Clickers, however, no upgrades are available to facilitate or automate clicks, you must reach the goal manually! On the other hand, it is possible to unlock achievements as you reach a certain number of taps on the screen or you can unlock fun facts or stories (tales of romance, anecdotes, etc.) which are released piece by piece. The more you tap the more you uncover!

Surely a strength of the game is the customization: the player can customize the jar of mayonnaise, dressing it as a rockstar or making it become another sauce, such as ketchup, for example.

AdVenture Capitalist (PC and mobile)

Available for both pc and mobile, AdVenture Capitalist is a game developed by Canadian studio Hyper Hippo as a satire against capitalism.

As a money-making simulator, your goal as a player is that of building a financial empire starting from a lemonade stand. From this single stand, you have to press a lemon button to make the profit meter move until it delivers money to your savings. After having earned enough money, you can buy other stands to increase the profit or even hire managers to manage said stands. After having built enough lemonade stands, you can move to a new business, and so on and so forth.

To increase earnings, it’s possible to buy time accelerators and other upgrades, as well as clothing and accessories for your character. Pretty nice, huh? Capitalism simplified.

Fallout Shelter (PC and mobile)

Speaking of idle games, an honorable mention goes to Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks. It’s a free-to-play installment in the Fallout series, created for mobile gaming and later adapted for pc, too.

In this installment, you have to create your own vault and become an overseer of its inhabitants. You need to take care of water, food, and power, with the ultimate goal of increasing inhabitants and therefore the number of rooms in your vault. In order to obtain extra resources, you can send some of your inhabitants to explore the wasteland and then craft items with the materials they come back with (if they manage to survive the trip obviously). Ah, you also have to try to keep them happy by having them marry, pursue personal goals and find them their ideal job… not so easy in a post-nuclear world, right?

As underlined by Alex Rowe in his review of the game, what makes Fallout Shelter an idle game is the fact that there is no real difficulty to speak of: the game progresses by itself, you just need to check what the inhabitants are doing every now and then and try to provide them with what they need. It’s great if you want to relax!

(Source: Fallout Shelter)

Idle Miner Tycoon (mobile)

Lastly, we have Idle Miner Tycoon by Kolibri Games. Similar to AdVenture Capitalist, this is a mobile simulation game in which the goal is becoming an industrial tycoon.

To build your empire you have to make investments to extract as many resources as possible: gold, coal, ruby, moonstone, amethyst, crystal, jade … and many others! You can automate your workflow by hiring managers to increase the motivation of your miners and make them work even while you are not playing – if you like offline gaming and idle cash, this is perfect for you. To expand your empire and therefore your profits, also, you can buy and manage different mines and by completing seasonal events and event mines you can gain lots of money and upgrades to boost your production. Not bad, right?

Well, we have reached the end of the list! What do you think? Will you give a chance to idle gaming? Let us know in the comments!

We hope you found this article useful and that it helped you learn something more about idle games. Remember to subscribe to our blog if you want to stay updated on gaming curiosities!

See you next month!

The 5 best match 3 games 2017/2018 (besides Jelly Juice)

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After a long hiatus, we’re back with a new blog entry!

We want to talk about the best new Match 3 games for mobile (and beyond) in 2017 and 2018!

Okay, we know that we’re biased! Our favorite Match 3 game is actually our own, Jelly Juice! Our original Match 3 has achieved a certain amount of success in a relatively short time, so much so that it has been included in the official Wired ranking of the six best Match 3 mobile games!

Let’s start with our own ranking, which we have based primarily on our personal preferences, but we have also focused on the more technical aspects of the games (such as the graphics and design).

 

+1. JELLY JUICE – redBit games

(Not actually included in this ranking, but for us the ALL-TIME TOP MATCH 3 GAME)

Jelly Juice

Fun, well-maintained, colorful, Jelly Juice is a “experimental” sort of game. We spent hours and hours (months actually) playing any and every kind of Match 3 to understand the strengths and weaknesses of every single game dynamic, taking cues and improving the gameplay: this is how Jelly Juice was born! Jelly Juice is the result of lots of work and study, but also lots of passion and fun4.6 / 5 star rating on the Google Play Store is repaying all of our efforts!

Weaknesses? Well, yes there may be a few… but we’re not telling. 😉

 

  1. HOMESCAPES – Playrix

What’s to say? The second chapter of the saga by Playrix, Homescapes takes us to the family villa of the famous butler, Austin. Homescapes is qualitatively excellent, has a fun gameplay and a well written story.
Opening Homescapes, we immediately noticed a big leap in the quality of the graphics in respect to Gardenscapes: the increased attention to in animations and details is impossible not to see.

Weaknesses: in the long run, the gameplay can be frustrating owing to the difficulty of the levels, not to mention the missions at some points in the game seem a bit repetitive or forced.
Another sore point for us is the story: well written, but struggling to hold up in some places… In short: Austin, what are you waiting for? Go ask Katrine out already!

 

  1. ANGRY BIRDS MATCH – Rovio Entertainment Corporation

Already the leader of the arcade category in the mobile gaming sector, Rovio naturally made a big entrance to the Match 3 genre and amazed everyone. Angry Birds Match is well-made, graphically impeccable and, above all, fun! It’s a nice way to pass the time and… of course… the chicks are so cute!

The only flaw is Angry Birds Match’s the lack of originality in the gameplay and of substantial innovative elements, which we especially would have expected from a large software house like Rovio.

 

  1. SIMON’S CAT CRUNCH TIME – Strawdog Publishing

Simple, fun, adorable. Those who love cats will be mesmerized by this Match 3 game!
Officially inspired by the famous “Simon’s Cat” videos, Simon’s Cat Crunch Time has a classic gameplay with simple graphics, though it is a little different from the usual Match 3 game; to be specific, there is obviously no lack of original and entertaining animations.

A big weakness for us is the scarcity of special events, which can result in overly linear play.

 

  1. MATCHINGTON MANSION – Firecraft Studios

With a dense storyline, Matchington Mansion focuses on mystery and adventure. The graphic style is nice, the animations are well done and the gameplay is very addictive. It’s impossible not to remain glued to the screen and watch all of the events unfold!

A big weakness is the extremely close resemblance to Homescapes regarding both the missions and style of the gameplay. For us, however, Matchington Mansion still makes our Top 5 of the best Match 3 games!

 

  1. FAMILY GUY – ANOTHER FREAKIN’ MOBILE GAME – Jam City Inc.

If you are a fan of Family Guy you can’t fail to give this game a go! As sharp and irreverent as the TV series, but without overdoing it, this Match 3 mixes a classic gameplay with funny skits that happen during game actions. In Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, Jam City changes the target of the Match 3 genre and courageously focuses on a younger crowd.

As far as weaknesses go, the framework of the gameplay does not have us entirely convinced as it is based exclusively on already shown content straight from the TV series. However the gaming experience is still very fun, so much so in fact that we rank it as one of the best Match 3 games of 2017/2018!

5 Growth Hacking Strategies for your App or Mobile Game

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What kind of Growth Hacking strategies exist, and how can they be applied to your Mobile Game Marketing?

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Digital Marketing Blog.

In our previous article on Growth Hacking we’ve talked about its difference from Digital Marketing and why it can be the perfect strategy for Companies to grow their audiences with 0 (or very little) budget.

Today we’re going to talk about several kinds of Growth Hacking strategies, and we’ll give you 5 useful advices to adapt them into your mobile game marketing strategy.

There are many examples (find here 20 awesome cases) of how growth hacks have helped very well-known Companies to get successful results on the market, Facebook, Quora, Uber and Twitter being the most outstanding ones to keep in mind and to replicate.

But, what does it mean having a growth hacking strategy?

Simply stated, it means to input more and output a lot more. Growth hacking is about finding those little hacks that make a huge difference in reaching your Company’s goals.

“Eat like a bird and pooh like an elephant”, Guy Kawasaki (former Apple employee)

Eat like a bird

There are different kinds of strategies that could be implemented, according to the business nature and the given objectives:

  1. Integration Hacks: Facebook Connect has allowed many services to grow their audiences. By allowing its users to post the tracks that they’re listening to on Facebook, Spotify has grown to be the big player that it is today in the streaming music sector. King, by creating social games where people could ask for and give lives to friends, leveraged one of the 6 rules of persuasion, consensus. It allowed people to discover that their friends were playing and their location on the map, which got them more involved in the game.
  2. Community Hacks: getting to know the precise target you’re referring to, allows your strategy to be very focused. For example, if you’ve to promote an innovative service, you know you’d better be looking for early adopters and trying to engage them during contextual occasions that refer to other innovative services, engaging already established user-base that you know could be interested in your own service.
  3. Invitation hacks: exploiting your existing user base (if you have one) to invite new users to your platform is always one of the best hacks. Examples of the success of this strategy are from Dropbox, that grew through the mantra: “Invite for storage”. Existing users were rewarded with additional storage space as long as they invited new users to join the platform. In mobile gaming, all incent sharing tools can get you incredible results, because users are incentivized to invite friends to get something they care about in the game, while spreading the word about the game among all their contacts. Our Cookie Clickers is the perfect example of this!
  4. Embed Hacks: YouTube became the largest video platform because they allowed 3rd party websites to embed their video player onto their own site, while YouTube’s competitors failed because they wanted not to lose all the traffic onto their own webpage. Same thing for Twitter: an embedded Tweet brings the best content created on Twitter directly into your article or website, ready to be retweeted or quoted.
  5. Engineering Hacks: develop software that will automatically develop growth, like bots. Paypal developed a bot that automatically made transactions on Ebay to become the most popular payment method on the site. Being the most popular, it made people believe that Paypal was also the best and most trusted, making it the no. 1 payment method on Ebay.

Talking about applying these strategies to games, we have to get very creative and to use available tools in a different way to get better results, because competition has become really aggressive, and it is close to impossible to launch a mobile game without a proper marketing budget.

The Growth Hacking tools we’ve get used to during past years (FreeAppADay, AppGratis etc.) are not working as well as in the past, and probably the growth hacks that are working today will not be effective within a few months. The advice is simple: always keep your ear to the ground and your eye on analytics, because the market is constantly changing as well as human preferences and consumption behavior are. The targets we aim for are constantly moving too, thus we have to continuously check the analytics to understand what has been hiding behind these numbers.

5 good advices for your mobile marketing strategy are:

  1. Entering emerging markets: localize your game in less competitive countries, where it’s easier to get visibility in games’ categories, and less downloads are necessary to reach high positions in the App Stores leaderboards. It could be a great way to start conquering the market and collecting user information and gameplay data to optimize your future campaigns.
  2. Social hooks: all Social touch points into your game are fundamental tools to give impulse to WOM (word of mouse/mouth) between users and to let them share the game in exchange for some kind of benefit. You’ll get two results, increased user engagement and higher LTV (Life Time Value) because users are encouraged to play with (or against) their friends.
  3. Use Deep and Differed Deep Linking: thanks to deep linking you could drive users right deep inside your app and target them better. Then, recognizing them and treating existing users separately will help you to better communicate with them and improve their engagement.
  4. Using promoted in-app purchases as boosters: everybody likes promotion and discounted prices! The same is for discounted in-app purchases in-game. Making regular promotion or special one linked to a special event or period (like Christmas bundle for example) could lead to crazy increase in revenues for IAP (and also a strange kind of income, like this campaign to buy “Nothing for Something” during last Black Friday).
  5. Influencer marketing (ATTENTION: “big” budget required): not really a growth hack due to its cost, but still the perfect way to reach the right target. It is implemented by video contents made by YouTubers who already have an important user base to refer to. Services like Gameinfluencer.com could help you scale the charts by asking many different YouTubers to review your game and to publish the video to their audiences. The problem is that such a strategy is costly but they guarantee a certain minimum number of views.

In the next article we’ll talk about how to set a process to conduct growth strategies in a very analytical and practical way, with the aim to get the maximum result from insights and tests.

We’ll look at data and real case studies from our launches and we’ll reveal some insights about secret tools.

Thank you!

Mobile First Strategy to win the Mobile Moments

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Mobile First is the strategy that allows Companies to win the digital challenge and to master Mobile Moments.

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

In our previous article on digital Companies we had discussed how mobile could be the strategy that allows Companies to win the digital challenge in an increasingly interconnected market. Let’s see now why Mobile First is the way to do it.

(Via: ellaecreative.com)

(Via: ellaecreative.com)

We saw that mobile is the unifying element of two main digital transformation factors, which are the digital customer experience, allowing to speed up all steps along the funnel, and the operational efficiency by streamlining the structure to get huge cost benefits.

This mobile maturity goes hand in hand with the digital one, requiring the same organizational changes to ensure complete focus on a single direction.

The mobile, as internet, is a radical revolution, and it can change not only the Company structure but also strategy: from business model to pricing, from distribution to customer service including the entire infrastructure. To get ready for this transformation, it is therefore necessary to revise the analytical metrics, organizational models, priorities and resources needed.

You have to think and act differently to win in mobile moments.

Higher expectations from consumers entail a greater responsibility: Companies have to increase efforts to ensure these expectations are met, meaning that they have to work harder, to spend more money and to study new ways to earn users trust and also increase their earnings.

The present moment is very rich in opportunities, but it’s experiencing a deep crisis because Companies are not yet fully able to exploit them. From the moment the first iPhone made its appearance on the market everything has changed, and current impression is that Companies are neither able to anticipate the times nor to keep pace with new digital needs.

The risk is to fail, as those Companies that, having underestimated the power of the internet, have been forced to close because of their invisibility on the market.

To exploit all opportunities, mobile must become an integral part of the corporate DNA, because it offers something unique and essential: the opportunity to build a real-time, interactive relationship with the user. And, unfortunately, they are still too many companies that are not taking advantage of this opportunity as they should.

Most often used approach is “we do our best“, which means to adapt their existing web strategies to mobile, obtaining much lower results if not opposite to those desired, such as little user involvement, early churn in use of the service and less earned money. The worst thing is that many resources are spent on mobile channels to acquire new users, but no strategy is set to ensure that these users will find satisfaction during their experiences.

In order to implement a Mobile First Strategy, first of all we have to act on Governance to optimize resources, to promote the creation of a diffused mobile culture and to implement best practices.

What really matters is not continuing to see mobile as a mere distribution channel, but rather as a real new business, with dedicated structures and metrics. The aim must be to revolutionize not only the Company itself, but also the User Experience and therefore the way users interact with the Company and its products/services.

To do this, a Company should:

  • Melt small mobile teams within the organization, in order to make their functional capacity grow and enable them to facilitate mobile strategic features within the Company;
  • Spread Mobile culture within the whole organization, to make clear how important it is not only to the User Experience but also internally, discussing success stories and communicating the results achieved so far, and promoting new ideas and opening discussions;
  • Integrate digital teams with non-digital ones. User Experience is given both on-line and off-line. By involving non-digital teams, all new opportunities and lifestyle changes that mobile leads may be better understood, so that a complete view will be possible (an example is how technology is radically changing our travel experiences in and out of airports);
  • Ensure that Mobile Units have total control over their functionalities. Unless Core business itself is not already digital, meaning tightly connected to mobile (for example as internet banking), it must be ensured that the mobile experience is entirely decided by the responsible Mobile Unit. It has to find the new features and to study new future updates, without any interference from the digital team. Mobile experience is not a small version of digital experience, and the Mobile Unit has to ensure that all of its unique features and capabilities are best expressed, to let it bring differential value compared to on-line (a good example is Health & Wellness market, deeply exploiting new possibilities from wearables and collecting data to track user behavior and to provide specific services and solutions to different needs).

The analysis conducted by Forrester Research Inc. (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) suggests creating an operating model made by four parties. Each party will have a say over the leadership, governance or executive action between different Mobile tasks. The details vary according to the type of industry, geography and Company size.

Multiple Team IDEA to enhance Mobile Development

Multiple IDEA Teams to enhance Mobile Development (Source: Forrester Research Report, 2015)

You should:

  • Create a steering cross-functional cabinet committee, with representatives of key geographies, products and functional groups. Only 24% of Companies surveyed have a mobile steering committee;
  • Create a mobile center of excellence. This center will serve as a resource for the whole organization, teaching how to use mobile to improve the digital part of the User Experience and business results consequently. Only 25% of Companies already have it;
  • Create IDEA teams. IDEA is an acronym created by Forrester Research Inc. to guide enterprises in their quest to win, serve, and retain customers in their mobile moments. They are teams made of 4 to 10 professionals, representing development, product management, and project management functions, including non-digital corporate staff. To date, 40% of the mobile business have Agile teams, but not IDEA teams with managerial and technical personnel working together;
  • Dedicate IT resources to support marketing initiatives. Too often the lack of technical resources dedicated to continuous analysis improvement and marketing control, condemns valuable initiatives to failure.

Smart leaders know that constantly experimenting and perfecting approaches to collaboration is the only way to keep teams energized and productive.

In the next article we will understand what benefits Mobile First strategy gives to the entire organization and which KPIs are to take into account to measure its actual effectiveness.

How is your own world changing with new mobile features? What is the most radical change your mobile device (phone, tablet or smart-watch) allowed you to experience? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Thank you!

Digital Companies OK, but Mobile is better!

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Why should Digital Companies should consider Mobile as the strategy to succeed in the market? Let’s discover why Mobile possibilities are endless!

This post originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Mobile and Digital Companies

To demonstrate why digital Companies should invest in Mobile, we don’t need to look at statistics or at the most recent studies on Mobile Apps usage. Indeed, we have it proved everyday: just think about how Mobile devices have changed your lifestyle!

During our most intimate moments (those spent lazing under fluffy covers, relaxing on the sofa during a pizza and TV night, or soaked into a hot bath), we believe we are alone. But are we? Actually, not really.

It is always with us, and it is always connected for sure. It’s our mobile phone.

Forrester Research Inc. has studied this phenomenon (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) and has found out that there are more than 100 times in a day when we take it, switch it on, use it to give a relief to our sense of alienation. During these hundred times a day, our attention is absorbed by a 5 inches’ screen (at least) for even a very short time.

Moments that Forrester has called “mobile moments“.

To win the digital challenge, Companies will have to try their best to trap, fill, engage and retain engaged users during their mobile moments.

This is a tough challenge though. Mobile has also changed consumer expectations: everything has to be available at the moment they want it and in the place where they are. If not, it simply doesn’t exist.

The purchase funnel of a product continues to grow, increasing number of steps, and then the possibility that a user never comes to conversion. An attitude that could be considered hysterical, not linear, causing a fragmented and confused decision process.

However, if it’s well governed by the Company, each step becomes a major possibility of attraction and engagement. Indeed, Mobile is the most suitable instrument to guide them through the steps of their decision process.

Company’s success is increasingly linked to its ability to provide great Mobile experiences, for both users and organization members.

This will be possible if it:

  • Provides access to information and services anywhere and anytime
  • Encourages customers and employees to actively interact with Mobile
  • Makes the user experience special: ensuring a pleasant journey will improve its brand image, bringing faster to brand loyalty and awareness.

Mobile has got them all, being able to deliver unprecedented advantages thanks to its immediacy, simplicity and relevance to users. No need to go Mobile from the very first step, it can affect just one part of customer’s journey towards conversion (for example, by sending a notification, or by giving the possibility to use the device as a ticket or as a method of payment itself).

Mobile possibilities are endless, and it can destroy the business as we have known it ‘till today, radically changing business models, making new features possible and reducing certain costs incidence.

The most important thing is to become completely aware of it, to be able to govern the change and not to be left behind from competitors.

To sum up, the World is becoming more and more digital and Companies need to keep pace.

Mobile is the fundamental element a digital business has to govern to become successful. It can do it by driving two main drivers: the user digital experience and the digital operative excellence.

As a matter of fact, it can:

  • Improve and speed up user experience, making known and easily reachable the product/service, creating a real value added funnel, while helping to better define customer value;
  • Allow optimization: while connecting employees and users it also improves the efficient use of resources, ensuring at the same time that the structure is simplified and the processes are more effectively executed.

Of course, easy to be said but much harder to be done. In spite of more than 60% of Marketing Managers involved in the study are favorable to the Mobile revolution, there’re many difficulties such as the need of both a radical cultural change within the organization and dedicated funds. Also, it’s highly needed a close cooperation with IT department, often more inclined to simply run things rather than trying to find new ways to support innovation.

And, more importantly, making an App is a real project, rather than a simple product, therefore it should be consistently followed, with frequent updates and continuous alignment between feedbacks and changes to be done. All these actions of course involve a strong effort and the Company’s will to make a significant investment.

Companies should look at Mobile not as a channel, but as a real business, through which they can successfully face new digital market challenges. Managers should start to think about Mobile as an advertising medium that can improve customer satisfaction and increase engagement, and not just as a User Acquisition tool (this last approach is clearly the most pursued given main objectives of current Mobile strategies, like increasing brand awareness (29%), acquiring new customers (23%) and appearing more innovative (24%)).

In the next article we will see what a Company has to do to begin implementing those changes that will lead towards full digitization and exploitation of the mobile opportunities, and why a Mobile First Strategy could be the correct way to obtain it.

What about you? Are you operating in a still poorly digitalized market or in a not very technological context? What do you think of digital world? We would be happy if you’ll share your opinion in the comments.

Thank you!

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference?

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Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference? Discover how Marketing can make your Company grow, even at 0 budget!

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing are not the same thing. Both trending, both innovative concepts. Yet different. Not only because the former is younger (appeared only in 2013) while the other is more mature.

Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

There are other differences, that can be explained by understanding what these two activities are referring to.

The common question is indeed: “What do they exactly make?

It appears that the same mistrust about Social Media Managers being both professionals and useful professionals, it is now poured on so-called experts of “Digital Marketing”.

Digital is the new black” 😉 Meaning that it’s cool to be digital, first of all!

Digital Business is changing the game, and this is epochal. It therefore cannot (and should not) be underestimated by any Marketing Department, from that of SMEs to that of Multinational Companies. In this game, Growth Hacking can be defined as the transition point between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing.

It is useful to remember, to better explain what Growth Hacking means, the difference between outbound and inbound marketing: the first concerns all actions made to attract new customers, mainly in the traditional channels such as TV, radio, print, road signs, etc.; while the second relates to all the actions that help brand/product to be found by customers, as the right brand/product at the right time to the right person. The inbound marketing actions are all those that relate to SEO, SEM, blogging, content marketing, social media and so on.

Do not confuse Digital actions with Growth Hacking by any means, because even digital actions such as e-mail marketing for example, albeit made for digital channels, serve to attract users exactly how outbound marketing ones.

We can say that Growth Hacking lies somewhere in between Marketing and Technical knowledge.

The Growth Hacker is a Digital Marketing Manager experienced at technical level too, able to use new technologies for growth to ensure that the product/service can be easily found in digital channels, even with smaller budgets.

He knows how to work on Web pages to ensure that the user flow follows a certain path; he knows how to ask the right message at the right moment, and how to respond in a personalized way to not expressed needs that user may have at that moment. It’s an ambivalent figure: an expert of development and a marketing professional, able to customize and leverage digital technologies to enhance the product/service on the market and beat competition.

Recent studies show that the ROI deriving from inbound marketing is clearly beating the one generated from outbound.

This fact should prompt Managers, who had great success with outbound also thanks to availability of substantial budget, to understand that the market is changing rapidly and that the consumers have turned out very different. In particular, it should get them to understand that you can no longer just rely on budget, because that is not as efficient or effective as it was before.

A Guy Kawasaki sentence sums it all up:

If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more money than brains, you should focus on inbound marketing.

And this is especially true in start-up context, where resources are limited with no budget to be allocated on marketing activities, and energies are focused on product and growth first of all. If a Company can consider an annual 5% growth as a good result, a start-up has to grow by 200% in the first year if it wants to be successful on the market.

In the next article we will analyze some data to understand what evidence and results the Growth Hacking strategy has brought. We will see that the results in some cases are amazing, and it’s really exciting to have a demonstration that is possible to create Added Value by being creative, having new ideas, improving communication, transparency and listening to customers or prospects, rather than just using economic resources.

That is a Shared Value, not only to brand but also to users themselves, being more and more aware of Marketing and of their own consumer experience.

If you did not know what was the Growth Hacking, we didn’t know either! And we must say that we were delighted to find it out, especially because it has finally defined the type of Creative Marketing (driven more by ideas than budget) that we like the most. This is the reference guide.

Did you already heard about it or are you already using it in your marketing strategy? Write it in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experience.

Thank you!

Advertising and User Engagement on mobile games: a win-win situation

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Mobile advertising is not only a good way to make your Business grow, is also a great way to increase User Engagement and Retention in the App.

This article originally appeared in Italian in MD-Marketing Digitale Blog.

When it comes to User Experience for a mobile product, we’re not referring only to application design and UI (User Interface), but also to the experience as a whole: from searching to the graphics and textual presentation on the App Store, from downloading to all aspects that can stimulate the user to come back to the App in the future.

Advertising has taken a role of increasing importance in this matter.

How?

Despite freemium model being the most popular and profitable (TOP 100 grossing Apps in the Overall category in US are all resorted to this business model, AppAnnie data), allowing an optional purchase of additional content and extra features, the use of advertising is still widely used and growing.

As a matter of fact, advertising is often considered to be intrusive, and it has become “invisible” to users and therefore ineffective. Furthermore, the decline in ad profitability (lower and lower eCPM) has made it less attractive.

The market has found a compromise solution by combining the different possibilities of entertainment offered by the advertising with new forms of remuneration, convenient for both developers and users. The growth of video and the subsequent spread of a new business model, Rewarded Ads, had allowed a form of advertising that users themselves are willing to look at to get a “prize” in exchange, such as an extra life in the game or a special content in the App.

Rewarded Ad help

All Right – Line Up! Get help through Rewarded Video Ad

This solution is certainly a win-win, since it is able to maintain high engagement, and, if the right mix of content and user’s interest is created, it increases retention and LTV (Life Time Value), while ensuring higher eCPM.

This is especially true for mobile games, where it has become the standard business model so far. But even if we think about other social apps and services, such as Spotify, we realize that we’re willing to see advertising to get the service for free.

Tap Galaxy rewarded Ads

Tap Galaxy – Rewarded Ads to get free resources

We could say rewarded ads in Apps are not different from the ads in free press newspapers, radio, TV, big web sites, adding the “NO ADS” option for those users who are willing to pay.

However, traditional advertising is becoming invisible, and it’s a reality for the majority of Ads on web pages, where the ad contents have a very low CTR and the quality of users is not always on target with desired one.

The mobile instead still leads to quality conversion and interest in the messages.

Mobile still manages to convey advertising messages in a way that generates Added Value.

According to a research conducted by Fyber, rewarded advertising can lead to a net increase in the ROI especially if delivered by mobile games. App developers can be reassured about the most common myths related to advertising:

  1. Will rewarded advertising cannibalize my IAP (In App Purchases)? No. The research has shown that when used in a significant contextual manner, it not only can be an incentive for spending, but may even lead to an increase of 100% of IAP. Users who interact with the Ad tend to remain longer active in the game. In particular, precisely the segment that had proven to be the least spending has responded better when exposed to the Ad content, spending between 40% and 100% more after interacting with the Ad (Source: Fyber’s homes study on “Complementing IAP rewarded with ads”);
  2. Are users who I acquire through rewarded advertising in target? If the Ad targeting is properly optimized and it’s contextually relevant for users, it will be successful. A good result could be around 60% of conversion to the desired action, and a ROI around 7-10%;
  3. Do the Ads reduce user engagement? No. The users who interact with the rewarded ads may have an increase in the user session time. The players that obtained a prize in the App are more engaged and active. An international Company leader in the mobile games and social games market has discovered that users who have watched the video ad at least once, were actually two and a half times more likely to stay active in the game during the following months;

Rewarded Ads

Color Switch – Rewarded Ad improves User Engagement

  1. Showing a lot of advertisements will make me earn much more. No. Spamming users does not keep them engaged. The mobile video advertising is driven by performance. In determining the right approach to monetization, it is essential to add elements of scarcity and rarity and show the most relevant ads to users at the right time, to make sure that you are hitting the most important KPI. For example, Next Games has been able to double the average eCPM of $ 10 to $ 20 for “Compass Point West” showing fewer ads. They also reached 60% of engagement with their ads, with an increase in average viewing to 4-5 videos a day and about 10% of users leaving a positive review on App Store by calling specifically the excellent work done with the rewarded video. Sometimes, less can be more;
  2. My games may not be the right channel for Brand Advertising. To dispel this myth, MediaBrix has designed its offering to ensure that the brand becomes an integral part of the user experience and a plus in the application. They offer brand Ads more or less in context and in the right moments within the flow stream. And the results, by their statistics, are surprising, achieving an average VCR (Video Conversion Rate) higher than 30%, an 80% increase in brand awareness and a 4% increase in engagement rate.

The right synergies are possible, and they can bring mutually profitable relationships. If the brand is willing to create a mutual exchange relationship with the chosen mobile channel, having full respect for user experience and trying to add value, it is then that advertising can truly achieve its purpose: connecting through a shared message.

What is your relationship with the advertising in your favorite applications and in our games? What would you prefer to get or what would you change in the advertising approach? Write it in the comments!

Thank you!

 

Creating the marketing stuff for Tap Galaxy was super fun!

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As you may have noticed, Tap Galaxy – Deep Space Mine from our Tiny Games label is out in the stores and we’re very happy about the game. Developed by our inside staff (3 people, 1 designer, 1 visual artist and 1 Unity developer) in 4 months, the title is our new clicker game, and you know we’re the masters of clicker games ;), with a more step on the throttle of management simulation games. But today we’re not here to talk about why this game is a must have and why you should play it. We’re pretty sure you have downloaded it yourself already after seeing the trailer above.

The subject of today is our thought process when we created and developed all the marketing materials on Tap Galaxy. Some people may think that marketing is all about numbers and boring stuff, but often this is far from true. I will show how enjoyable and creative a marketer’s work can be in the gaming industry.

Everything started with the name: Tap Galaxy – Deep Space Mine. Do you remember Star Trek: Deep Space NineOf course you don’t, you’re too young. 🙂 It’s one of the Star Trek series aired in 1993. Pixel art is often used to do “parodies” or “altered” version of something. There are several memes on the web and also in the real word, where pixels are used to picture something in a funny and different way. We’re thinking about the cover (or videos) of new video games reproduced with pixel art.

That said, it was simply natural for us to drive the marketing aspects of Tap Galaxy in that direction, even if in the game itself we couldn’t do that much: of course, beside the title that is an explicit parody of Star Trek as you can clearly see.

The visual artist behind everything in the game (Francesco Segala, we’re going to get an interview with him ASAP) is a big film fan and so we decided to drive our marketing campaign with this idea in mind. It was easy to choose some movies, old ones and new ones, about far away galaxies or something like that after we settled on the core idea…

Our first work was this GIF.

gravity

Yeah, we know, it’s awesome and it’s Gravitysomething not quite in the spirit of Tap Galaxy, but when we released this first GIF, no one ever saw any pixel of the real game and we really liked to joke on the fact that the continuously tapping on the screen could go with the movie claim “don’t let go”. One thing we didn’t like was using a movie that was not quite recent. After that we began to reveal something about our game and we used a movie that was in theatres when we published our game.

the martian

The astonishing work of Matt Damon in The Martian inspired our second GIF for the game. In this one we revealed one of the characters, the chimp, and we used a actual sprite from the game for the drawing of the martian himself while he is trying to water the planet. We prefer not to use the “bring him home” claim of the film because that was really the opposite of what we’d like to communicate. In the game you have to mine galaxy after galaxy, and you don’t want to come back home for any reason: you’re trying to expand your possessions. Anyway, the mining topic is respected: the player has got to mine the planet for resources, and The Martian has got to make some resources grow in his planet too. Personally I think this work from Francesco is the best one but we’d like to know what you think in the comments after seeing the next one…

Star Wars

Guess the date in which this GIF went public? Yes, you guessed right, the 18th of December, the date of the release of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. We don’t think is useful to describe the saga by which this GIF is inspired. If you don’t know any of the Star Wars movies, it’s time to exit the cavern and begin to live. That said, you will notice that we used an old sentence from an old episode of the saga and not the claim from the last one. The point is that we got “droids” in the game and we would like to show something about the game this time too. We didn’t reproduce the parody version of R2D2 and C1P8, we used our own machines in the GIF to make the people begin to think about what they are going to find in the game. There’s some sort of a Jedi in the distance that we don’t have in the game, but… maybe it’s just a guy with a fake laser sword, can it be? 🙂

Let’s go to the next GIF, the latest one.

Star Wars

We came back to an “old” movie here because the release of the game was very near and the sentence was perfect, PERFECT, for marketing reasons. “Everybody ready to say goodbye to our solar system?”, and so be it, take the game and fly with your imagination to another galaxy. Thanks to Interstellar for the quote and for the beautiful poster. In this one we were not able to show something we didn’t show before, we just summed up everything (the protagonist chimp and the machines) and tried to be as more “teasy” as possible. This aired just one day prior to the release of the game.

Besides these GIF material we created a gameplay trailer, that is the one in the beginning of this post and 2 teaser-trailers. We didn’t release them yet on YouTube, so you can see them on our Facebook Page or Twitter AccountAnyway, they not so beautiful as the pixel art GIFs were even if they received an huge success between you, our fans and maybe, as usual, with a video you can do something that a thousand words cannot do.

We hope you enjoyed the reading and stay tuned: the interview with Francesco is coming very soon. While you wait, just play Tap Galaxy, it is free!