terça-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2015

Crossy Road: using a game to promote other games

Crossy Road (2014) is a casual mobile game created by Hipster Whale Studio. It’s a tribute to the classic game Frogger (Atari, 1981), this time constructed in an isometric perspective, full of new possibilities. Check the comparison below:

You start the game with a chicken trying to cross the cars, rivers and other dangerous obstacles but, by earning some special points it’s possible to acquire new characters like the duck, the goat, the zombie, the mage, the monster of Frankenstein and many others (even the internet meme DOGE gained its digital version in this game). There’s a clever business model inside the interface and players are able to buy (with real money) new characters or watch advertising videos to earn new points, at anytime.

There’s another smart point inside the game: sometimes the system gives out some special characters to play. These characters are from other games and an invite to download a new experience appears on the screen. In the example below, the player earned the main character from the game named Epoch; few seconds after receiving the prize, an ad with the message “EPOCH – download at App Store” appears to the player. There are many characters to achieve in Crossy Road, lots of them from other games.

This kind of communication structure refers to Davis’s ideas about promotional culture; this author (2013, p.191) says, “Promotional culture has become a more central, influential part of communication and social relations, just as financialization, globalization and new communication technologies have”. In the contemporary times, a good mediatic product never comes without a promotional strategy embedded inside its essence.


DAVIS, A. Promotional culture: the rise and spread of advertising, public relations, marketing and branding. Bristol, UK: Polity, 2013.

quarta-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2015

Narrative and games

Some posts in the past, I’ve talked about the games I’ve created. I explained some approaches and creativity process to the games YN, Álmok, Dominaedro and others. All these games have something in common: they are abstract games, more focused on mechanics and less in narrative.

But, at this moment, I’m developing with some friends a new mobile game named: MIND ALONE. I’ll talk more about this game later, but it’s basically an interactive narrative for mobile platforms. So, what is it we actually mean by interactive narrative? Ince (2006, p.48) defines very well the term, saying, “In a broad sense it is simply that the experience of the unfolding story responds to the actions of the participant. In terms of games, those actions are the gameplay choices the player makes. At any one time, the way the narrative responds could be character-related, plot-related, story-related, or a combination of these”. I’m studying a lot of books to give the right tune to this ludic interface.

The game I’m creating is more based on plot/story-related. I intend to put some dark atmosphere with an intense narrative in it, and the gameplay will be created using some clever puzzles in the background. The idea here is to follow the concept that “story, dialogue, character profiles, etc., should all be created in a way that add to the design of the gameplay” (INCE, 2006, p.36).

So, wait for news about my new game. It’s a new creative experience for me and I hope for it to be a good journey for the players. The previous image is part of the game’s opening. Curious? Keep track here for more information.

Make games not war! =)

Go gamers!


INCE, Steve. Writing for video games. London: A & C Black Publishers Limited, 2006.

terça-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2015

The experience of IRON FROM ICE

Telltale Games is an American independent digital publisher, founded in June of 2004. The company has in its portfolio games like The Walking Dead, Tales From The Borderlands and The Wolf Among Us. Few days ago, the studio launched the first of six chapters of The Game of Thrones new game, entitled Iron from Ice.

With a gameplay based on decision trees, Iron from Ice offers an experience of narrative construction to the player. The game adapts the choices you make and the story is tailored by how you play. Even simple dialogues are constructed to give to the player the sensation of meaning choices, like in the example below:

As its predecessor – The Walking Dead – the game is not 100% based on dialogues, it also offers some ability tests and moral choices to the player. It’s interesting to play it more than one time, trying to choose different options to watch different outcomes in the narrative.

This kind of experience shows us a new way to read a story, and Gee (2003, p.13) remembers us that “when people learn to play video games, they are learning a new literacy”. This author (2003, p.14) also emphasizes that there are different ways to read different types of texts; in this context, literacy is multiple, then, in the sense that the legal literacy needed for reading law books is not the same as the literacy needed for reading physics texts or superhero comic books. This game idea is not new, and we have some old examples from the 80’s that share the same game mechanics. The point is: with the new generation of consoles, a game like this one becomes exponentially full of possibilities for experimental narratives.

Check the trailer below:

And the gameplay:


GEE, James Paul. What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.