Thursday, January 19, 2012
Lol-a-Coaster hit the worldwide iTunes store on the 16th, and for the past few days we've been promoting the game and fielding questions about it. We're incredibly happy with the final result, and think that it fulfils the brief we were given by the client and agency. On a personal note, it was the first time that we had made a game together, and while it is a client project and not a personal one, I think we learned a lot about how we will go about making games in the future, and gained an appreciation for the personality and style of our work going forward.
The term "advergame" usually connotes a cheap and cheerful flash product that in some oblique way supports or drives traffic to a brand or product. Advergames are not generally objects of admiration, and so for a designer it can be a bit of a minefield to commit to making one. Our hope was to create an advergame for Chupa Chups that raised the bar. Throughout the process, we were conscious of the way in which highly commercial products of the past had been elevated by a designer or director investing a lot of love and care into their work. Take for instance music videos, which were despised by recording artists, until talented directors moved into the medium to raise the bar. At that point, musicians and recording artists' attitudes began to change and the potential of the medium opened up. We're sure that the advergame is here to stay, but that a it needs more talented designers working in the medium to show what it can do.
Lol-a-Coaster is our first effort to create, in a boutique independent way with a small team and big ideas, the kind of advergame that we'd like to see happening for many more brands.
There are huge benefits to small developers working for brands to make games. By having an advertising budget and a client, you have the monetary support to practice your craft, and a respondent to your design, pushing you for a result. After all, design is about fulfilling a communication goal through expressive means. For Chupa Chups, their motto of a 'Life Less Serious' manifested in the surreal playfulness of Lol-a-Coaster. At the same time, it showcased their character Chuck in a new way, leading to new imaginative possibilities for both the brand and the character. At a fundamental level, the game also functions as a platform for a consumer promotion -- other marketing and promotion channels feed through the game, and so multiple media are connected together. Ultimately, we're really happy to have created Lol-a-Coaster for iOS and look forward to our next client game project.
Download the game.
See the trailer on youtube.
Read about the project over at Desktop Magazine Online.