I first posted this on our Publicis Digital blog. It was a follow up to a joint Mojo & Zenith Optimedia session on ‘Understanding gamers and great games’ and is a pretty well-curated group of game trailers, courtesy of my colleague Nat Jones. A collection of videos that have in the past and recently stirred gamers’ hearts and minds.
First up, the big one, the Mac Daddy of ego-shooter games, ‘Call of Duty’ in its new iteration Black Ops 2 has aficionados fumbling for their wallets.
Limbo is one of the most atmospheric, monochromatic and unusual jump and run adventures of recent times.
Even more challenging in terms of navigation is ‘The Unfinished Swan’ in which paint splatters that you need to throw in front of you, lead the way.
Journey lets users start a mission to reach a mountain top with the help of co-players. The clou: all you can communicate with is a single sound. Morse code anyone?
Even if you don’t know who or what Rayman is, the Origins edition makes for entertaining viewing.
In Gamers’ talk ‘Fez’ is a ‘platformer’ in which you need to figure how to get across structures and buildings. The game is reminiscent of classic 8-Bit arcade games, albeit in a warped version.
OK, as a last treat, this is a big step into fantasy game nerds’ territory. But if you have ever heard of the 1980′s craze ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ you will appreciate the jokes, played out by characters from the ‘Summoner’ game.
Posted in games, Video
Tagged call of duty, fez, journey, limbo, publicis mojo, rayman, Summoner, The Unfinished Swan, trailer, zenith optimedia
This weekend FC Barcelona demonstrated how football should be played by convincingly beating Manchester United in the Champions League final. Simultaneously, AKQA and Heineken demonstrated with Star Player how a branded iPhone app should be played by convincingly fusing gaming with social one-upmanship and entertainment.
I had seen this hype video when it came out a few weeks ago but only played it for the first time last night.
Heineken's Star Player mobile app
Both sides have a star player, Barcelona in Lionel Messi and AKQA/Heineken in this free iPhone app that will surely earn the agency some badges in the award finals (AKQA’s award page is here).
Here is the summary of my experience:
- Star Player is a well crafted application with a clear interface, reacting timely and succinctly.
- It contains good copy writing, egging you on while not being overladen with football mannerisms or brand-speak.
- The global stats (“this is how the world predicted”) give a nice context to how clairvoyant you really were.
- I could do without the quiz questions coming on intermittently, crucially the Barcelona’s first goal was scored while a quiz question was on the screen.
- One has to be (excuse the pun) ‘on the ball’ throughout, literally with your finger on the phone’s screen in order to predict goals.
- Playing ‘Star Player’ represents a great complimentary user experience to watching the game, especially when you are at home. Would groups of mates at the pub get a kick out of glancing at their phones during the game?
- Had I connected with fellow football lovers online (including live chat, like on the facebook version), it would have become an even greater social experience.
To me this app is a milestone in the development of the often-cited ‘dual screening’ or ‘parallel viewing’. According to the agency it hits extremely fertile ground as:
- 72% of UEFA Champions League fans around the globe watch the matches alone
- 75% of US television viewers are dual screening at home
- 50% of NFL viewers are watching the games in dual screen environments
In a local development, BBDO Melbourne launched Twelevision, an iPhone/iPad app to support TV viewers in their tweeting about the different shows. And their CEO Peter Biggs has ambitiously declared to create more useful apps and products (and consequently generate IP) as 10% part of their future offering. I wonder if AKQA managed to get some patent on the inherent game mechanics of Star Player? No reason why this app wouldn’t soon appear in other sporting codes, like Rugby Union where Heineken e.g. sponsor the World Cup.
I haven’t tested the corresponding facebook app (currently 125,000 users) yet and would be grateful if anyone can share an experience with it. The same goes for any information on other live sporting events (e.g. the NBA Play Offs) that might have rolled out similar apps.
In the category of voting & commenting reality TV show ‘Four Weddings’ had brides going to each others’ weddings and rate them – usually in a bitchy way – in different categories. Viewers where given the opportunity to rate the show online in real time. The results were screened in the end in comparison to the brides’ ratings. http://www.monterosa.co.uk/work/four-weddings
Dream/Fantasy team competitions have been around for a while, e.g. our client Toyota sponsors AFL Dream Teamwhere your squad of 22 players take on an opponent. You’re competing against 15 other teams in your Dream league. So gather your mates and prepare to duke it out all season to see who has the sharpest football brain. Another example is the F1 Live Timings complementing the main TV broadcast – even keeping you ahead of the commentary, and overcoming the irritation of ad breaks during the race.
Posted in Advertising, apps, Convergence, games, Mobile
Tagged akqa, Barcelona, champions leage, dual screening, game, heineken, iphone, iphone app, manchester united, messi, parallel viewing, star player, UEFA champions leage
Check one of the latest art projects to come out of Holler Sydney: The Haeckel Clock (free install). Its unique art direction was inspired by the artistic work of an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher called Ernst Haeckel. Around the turn of the last century he discovered, described and named thousands of new species and drew microscopic creatures with fascinating skill and detail.
Holler’s Mike Hill, himself a zoologist and nature photographer before he entered the interactive agencyscape, is a big fan of Haeckel’s work.
The application is a pretty abstract clock that uses different sized balls to signify hours, minutes and seconds.
Hours floating together
Fittingly for such a scientifically-inspired piece the elements all adhere to the laws of gravity and have their own elastic coherence.
Hours, minutes and seconds separated
The modern genius behind this app is my frequent collaborator Lukasz Karluk, who developed the application in openFrameworks. He describes the project, its interface and technical detail here on his blog. Have a peek at the flow in his screen video and don’t forget to install this free clock on your iPad by going to the app store.
Disclaimer: I was only very partially involved in the clock’s design and development, mainly correcting any typos in German pieces of copy.
Posted in apps, art, games, Mobile
Tagged applications, art, biology, clock, ernst haeckel, haeckel, holler, holler sydney, iPad, iPad app, itunes, jena, lukasz karluk, mike hill
In mid 2000, so almost 11 years ago, I and two other creatives in Germany got invited to create a digital art work for the exhibition Berlin – HongKong. We contributed the most logical thing: an ‘ultra-interactive KungFu Remixer’. We called it “I know where Bruce Lee lives” (a nod to the TV Personalities‘ lyrics of ‘I know where Syd Barrett lives‘).
I know where Bruce Lee lives - by SKOP
It essentially was a very early mash-up piece, using snippets of Bruce Lee films (animations, fight sounds and loops of the score by genius Lalo Schifrin). Particularly entertaining for us was the hammy gangster dialogue snatched from the German dubbing of said martial arts films. Sprinkled into the mash-up were Chinese characters that mimic some of the sounds you hear. In order to get these right we had asked a Chinese language professor for help – to this day I have no idea what they really mean (see a trailer for the app here).
I know where Bruce Lee lives - by SKOP
The playful interactivity comes through using your keyboard to ‘make music’ with Kung Fu. There is a longer list of the international festivals and exhibitions (from the US, Brazil, Spain and Holland to Hongkong and Australia) it was part of.
To this day ‘I know where Bruce Lee lives‘ ranks among the top Google search hits for the Asian hero. I still receive emails of people discovering and liking it, among them many martial arts fans but also musicians such as Krautrock-god Holger Czukay of CAN fame. The latest feedback email came through last week, from one of the members of ‘V for Volume‘. They are apparently a very popular Chilean band, coincidentally sporting some half-German members in their line up.
It is kind of hard to see the Bruce Lee connection in this video, maybe I should brush up on my Spanglish. But despite this, it never ceases to amaze me how the internet connects us in different ways at different times with our various tastes and aesthetic sensibilities. Double Rainbow all the way.
Posted in games, interactivity, Video
Tagged art, bruce lee, chile, experience, flash, hong kong, interactivity, lalo schifrin, mashup, remixer, Skop, v for volume, Video