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casual games Archive
This is no April Fool’s joke – this is damn serious. To celebrate the launch of the Amazon Android Appstore, Amazon is offering one application for free each day. Earlier this week Amazon offered the SwiftKey Keyboard for free — now it’s back to $1.79.
Today Amazon is offering the popular game Fruit Ninja for free. The Fruit Ninja team of ninjas note that they have sold over six million copies of the game worldwide. The game creators describe the game as, “a juicy action game enjoyed by millions of players around the world with squishy, splatty and satisfying fruit carnage! Become the ultimate bringer of sweet, tasty destruction with every slash.”
Amazon is also offering Angry Birds Rio for free — this appears to be a longer running deal but if you want the game, I’d suggest downloading soon because there is no specific end date listed. The game is basically the same as the Crush the Castle except instead of chucking rocks and bombs you chuck birds. The free game is ad-free and contains all 60 levels.
To get the free games, you need to install the Amazon Android Appstore onto your Android device. Here’s an overview of how to install the Appstore.
You can download both Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds Rio from the Amazon Android Appstore homepage or from within the Appstore after you load it onto your Android device.
If you are on an iPhone, sorry this deal isn’t for you. You can purchase both games from the iTunes App Store for $0.99 each.
At the end of 2007 pizza company Papa John’s announced the ability to order a pizza via a mobile device. Today they are announcing a new game which they call an “augmented reality game feature”. The game is part of what looks like a bigger online campaign called Papa John’s Road Trip.
You take your pizza box, turn it upside down, cut out the Camaro car picture, hold it up to your webcam and then play the game using the car picture. You drive around the U.S. and they sprinkle pizza ads in the game.
Seems like a lot of work especially because you may have a piece of the pizza left and won’t want to cut open the box to get to the special decoder image. You can also printout a game piece from the website.
I like the concept but think it would be more usable if they stuck the game piece to the box rather than having to cutup some cardboard and carry around a greasy, pepper smelling box. In the video below, the woman actually seems to carry the entire pizza box upside down to her office – HA! The other questions for the agency who got the check to create this game are:
- does a person who just finished a pizza want offers for more pizza?
- to keep playing day after day as they suggest in the video, you would need to keep the pizza box around – that can’t be a good thing
It’s all about intent with promotions and since the transaction has already completed, I’d rather see PJ push to an email signup and keep the game clean. Or at a minimum they should know if the person has played the game for the first time provide no offers and on multiple return trips, then provide offers. They should also be able to tell whether a person is playing via the computer printout or the pizza box.
Here’s a video of how the game works…
NY-based PickTeams offfers a variety of games in a multi-player team format. They focus on college markets across the country. The games include GoCrossCampus (similar to Risk), AlphaBlitz (similar to Boggle) and PocketTowers (similar to capture the flag). Jennifer Schommer from CasualGamerChick has a good review of the new version of PocketTowers.
Apparently the games are very hot and many rivalries have formed at colleges and universities across the U.S. PickTeams notes that hundreds of schools have teams playing their games. Reading their marketing deck, they call their service “social gaming”. I guess we have moved from the term “casual gaming” to “social gaming”.
They are projecting the following metrics for spring 2009:
- 8 million minutes on the site
- 1 million chat posts
- 100,000 dedicated players
- 10 minutes/session
- games lasting 3-8 weeks
PickTeams generates revenue from advertising and in-game sponsorships. The company is based in New York and has satellite offices in New Haven and San Francisco.
AOL has announced the launch of their latest online content site today. Named PlaySavvy, the goal is to provide a resource for parents to help them figure out the world of console gaming (no online??). PlaySavvy is part of the GameDaily section of AOL’s content network.
Libe Goad, Editor-in-Chief, AOL PlaySavvy said, "Playing video games is one of the top pastimes for children these days, almost more than watching TV. We created AOL PlaySavvy to help parents navigate through all the gaming information out there in order to decide what’s appropriate for their children."
PlaySavvy contains content in the following categories: gaming 101 (all about games), FAQ (apparently with feedback from a parental gaming panel), gaming reviews from a parent’s perspective but with the kids in mind and how-to articles including how to talk to your kids about gaming.
The login functionality uses AOL ids and some of the content is provided by third-parties. While I can’t imagine this site doing massive pageviews, it could help keep parents inside the AOL content network longer which is a good thing for AOL.
The Social Gaming Network (SGN) has announced the exciting launch of the iBasketball game today. Today’s iBasketball release follows SGN’s iGolf release. iBasketball uses the iPhone accelerometer to make playing the game fun. You can pick from "Around the World" or "HORSE" and you can shoot layups and practice drills.
The game can connect to an online community of other iPhone iBasketball players and as you take turns it updates the app so you know when your friend got a swish or hit a really tough 3-pointer.
I can only imagine what you must look like as you "shoot" your iPhone through the basket and then have to look quickly to see if you made the shot. I could just imagine what Penn Station will look like if there are delays.
The iBasketball app is available on the iTunes app store. I am looking forward to iPool, iFishing, iPacMan and iFrogger. The iFrogger should be fun as you get down and jump from pad to pad to cross the river.
Reflexive has announced that they have been acquired by Amazon. Reflexive is a maker and distributor of casual games and apparently Amazon will help Reflexive reach a new set of customers for their games. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Reflexive CEO Lars Brubaker noted on the acquisition:
As I’m sure you can all imagine this is a very exciting day for us at Reflexive. It means we’ll be able to expand our distribution network to include Amazon’s amazing distribution channel. With Amazon we will bring a huge new group of customers into play.
At Reflexive we have always prided ourselves on maintaining good relationships with everyone in the industry, and are excited that Amazon shares that philosophy. We intend to provide the best distribution platform anywhere, and to continue working openly with all the participants of the casual games space. Together it is our priority to continue this inclusive attitude going forward.
What this means for all you developers is that it’s time to get excited about your future with Reflexive. We can’t talk about everything yet, but we’ll be in touch shortly with more information. All of the features that you know and love about GameCenterSolution will still be available to you now and in the future, and you can continue to submit games through the Reflexive site. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve created enough casual games in my career to know that they were hot, are hot and will continue to be hot. They bring together players, developers, aggregators and advertisers into a unique opportunity where everyone benefits. SellMoreGames and Gamezebo have more details on the acquisition.
A new semi-mobile game launched last week named Snapherd. The idea behind Snapherd is simple: each day they post a word and you submit photos that match how you view the word. Some of the words to-date include: ashamed, debate, empty, exact, and favorite.
Photos can be submitted via email, MMS upload, or traditional upload from your computer. They are giving out prizes to the highest rated photos. Users can leave comments on photos. What makes this interesting to me is that you can see how others view a word or topic. I could see Snapherd adding groups to allow a circle of friends to explore how their views on a topic differ through photos.
Snapherd was founded by Joshua Gross. You might remember Joshua from our review of his other startup TapeFailure (now called Vistrac). When I spoke with Joshua about Snapherd last month, my suggestion was to partner with brands which could help Snapherd grow quickly and virally along with the real possibility of a business model. I could see brands like Coke, Pepsi, Apple, Microsoft, etc. A perfect example would be the "I’m a PC" campaign that Microsoft is currently running.