terça-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2014

Beer + arcade = Beercade

The McKinney Ten Percent, the ad agency's incubator that encourages all employees to devote 10% of their time to focus on new applications of creativity and technology unrelated to current client business, has found a way to breathe new life into both beer tasting and arcade gaming. The agency created the first-ever beer-dispensing arcade game for Big Boss Beer brand, that puts two players against each other in a simple fighting game, developed with Adobe Flash technology.

Players choose one of five characters, each one representing one kind of beer from Big Boss Brewing Company. The fight begins and the winner receives a glass full of beer from the arcade machine. Check the video case below:

This kind of advertising action is called advergame. Advergame means "advertise" + "game". It’s a strategy for marketing communication that uses mainly electronic games to advertise brands and products. That includes a large range that goes from games that are developed specifically for advertising purposes, to common games that have ads in its interfaces.

It’s always good to see gaming language hybridizing with other areas of knowledge, like advertising in this case. If you like this subject I strongly recommend this site (link here).

quinta-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2014

The awesome experience of DEVICE 6

The end of 2013 brought a great ludic surprise to my iPhone: DEVICE 6, a very different game from publisher Simogo Games.

As described on the game’s official website, DEVICE 6 is a “surreal thriller in which the written word is your map, as well as your narrator. DEVICE 6 plays with the conventions of games and literature, entwines story with geography and blends puzzle and novella, to draw players into an intriguing mystery of technology and neuroscience”.

Check the game trailer below:

The gameplay is a creative combination of scrolling screens with puzzle solving. As the player scrolls down the screen, texts and images arise, creating the experience of the gaming narrative. One important detail: the player can go back and forward in the maze of words as a map. So let’s check the gameplay in the video below to understand this feature:

This game reflects clearly the idea proposed by Aarseth (1997, p.1-2) of ergodic literature. As the author says, ergodic literature is derived from “the Greek words ergon, meaning ‘work’, and hodos, meaning ‘path’. In ergodic literature, nontrivial effort is required to allow the reader to traverse the text. If ergodic literature is to make sense as a concept, there must also be nonergodic literature, where the effort to traverse the text is trivial, with no extranoematic responsibilities placed on the reader except (for example) eye movement and the periodic or arbitrary turning of pages”.

DEVICE 6 creates a perfect balance between many cultural elements. It’s a unique experience to play and study. Go ahead, download the game and have fun.


AARSETH, Espen. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Maryland, 1997.

quinta-feira, 2 de janeiro de 2014

Sound as a gameplay element

As in movies, sound is an essential component for videogames. Games like God of War even using an orchestra to record its soundtrack, and war games like Call of Duty recreate each detail of sound inside a battle camp. But some games like Beat Sneak Bandit (Simogo Games, 2012) use the sound design as a component for the gameplay.

In this very fun game, created for smartphones and tablets, the player is invited to control a bandit trying to invade different houses in a fixed screen interface. The idea is to move the character tapping the screen to the rhythm of the beat. One music beat equals one tap on the screen, so it’s important to be careful not to go off the rhythm. And here's a hint: try to beat your foot on the floor simultaneously with the beat of the music; this helps to keep your concentration and not miss a move. You can check the gameplay below:

Another good example that we can bring into our discussion is Zapp Zerapp, a board game with a curious sound component. In this example, players roll two dice for numbers from two to thirteen and simultaneously start picking up one of the thirteen wooden containers and shaking them. Inside the containers are one to thirteen lead pellets. Players are trying to select the container with the highest number of pellets, so long as it doesn't exceed the result of the dice. (source: Boardgame Geek)

Games that work auditory and tactile stimuli are even widely used with visually impaired children. Therefore, it is important to observe more carefully this kind of playful experiment. And this will be the subject of a future post.

Wait for it.