Pong was the first commercially successful video game released in 1971 by Atari.
The company created a boom in coin-operated video arcade games that lasted well into the late 80s and saw my spotty pals and I pumping dollars into the things as often as we could after school, on weekends and on holidays when we were supposed to be at the beach with our parents.
I have fond memories of afternoons lost to Street Fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Ahhhhh, shell-shocked!) and countless others. When we weren’t playing these outside K-mart or at Timezone we were sitting cross-legged in front of the TV at home with the Sega or Nintendo plugged in.
And this changed how we looked at screens forever.
We spent hours every week making our own stories, exploring hidden worlds and collecting rewards and incentives along the way.
No longer the passive observer we became active authors of our own entertainment.
Sure we still watched TV but it was just different. We became a little more cynical about structured story-telling. It felt like being spoon-fed.
Fast forward 20 years and now we all wanna play. If you have something to say, let us play with it.
Here are some from the hundreds of great examples.
Doritos Room 626
Nokia Push Burton
Not sure where Nokia and Burton might Push this but I’d love to see people recording their runs and competing against others (or themselves) from home.
It kinda makes old formats look a bit stale hey?
Advergaming has established itself since the first trial by Coca Cola in 1983 [Pepsi Invaders, a ROM hack distributed at a sales convention]
Sites like history of flight by Nike give consumers an opportunity to engage more deeply with a product, brand or story and ‘share’ functions make friend referrals abundant and trackable for marketers.
My advice would be if you have an opportunity to let consumers play or otherwise interact with your product it is worth strong consideration. Just consider it low cost ‘try before you buy’.
This approach is not for everyone but with cost barriers dropping and consumer expectations rising now might be the time to plan a game or interactive execution as part of your next campaign.
Just press ‘play’.