Well when do you Play iPhone Games?
This challenge highlight comes from a solution written by Daesun Yim at MIT. He responded to the San Francisco based mobile game developer Rumpus, who asked students to propose the next “totally awesome mobile game”. Daesun opened by mentioning that all truly great mobile games can be played while on a toilet, and the rest of his solution certainly doesn’t deserve to go down one.
Daesun proposed the creation of an action racing game with an emphasis on fun gameplay with powerups, upgrades and shortcuts galore. He also suggested techniques for acquiring more users, and ways he believed the game would grow organically. For his fantastic solution, Daesun Yim is our MindSumo Challenger of the week!
Here is the first paragraph of Daesun’s solution. Click “Read More” to view his full write-up.
All truly great mobile games can be played on the toilet. Hear me out on this one. Scramble With Friends? Each round lasts two minutes. Same thing goes for Temple Run, and if you’re unfamiliar with the FarmVille theme, I can give you a ten-word synopsis: plant crops, wait, harvest crops, upgrade, unlock new crops, repeat. Or, simplified – click, click, click, wait, repeat. Great mobile games can be played two minutes at a time.
In case it isn’t clear, I’m saying this with the utmost respect. I don’t mean to downplay, demean, or trivialize the blood, sweat, and countless reparametrizations involved in crafting a hit mobile game. The toilet thesis is intended to distinguish the heart of a great console game from the heart of a great mobile game. We are, I presume, in the business of crafting the latter.
So enough with the brazen introductory statements, and here’s my idea for the 18-25 male market: a mobile racing game, in which you drive customizable and upgradeable cars around compact, two-minute tracks. Afterwards, you’ll send your race time to a friend, who will try to beat it; as you beat more of your friends, you’ll unlock faster vehicles, flashier parts, and more sophisticated courses. By aesthetic and necessity, realistic physics and state-of-the-art graphics will take a backseat to – for lack of a more elegant phrase – being able to do cool things. Ramps, power-ups, achievements triggered by exploring out-of-the-way bonus locations. Think of it as Mario Kart With Friends, if you will. (And may God have mercy on your soul if you ship this ill-advised Frankencopyright of a name.)
The racing game concept is natural for members of our target demographic, many of whom have played the aforementioned Mario Kart in their youth. Furthermore, the casual-competition racing game concept also fits naturally into the mobile gaming space. Mobile users will have an intuitive, easy-to-play game that not only rewards long-term play (vis-à-vis upgrades) but also can be played in quick increments. With Facebook Open Graph API and in-phone Contacts List integration, players will be able to recommend their close friends, who are more likely to respond to a join request than relative strangers.
Which leads to one final point of discussion: how do we get their close friends to play? We can do this by granting special rewards (e.g. new cars, upgrades, bonus in-game cash) for connecting to Facebook, and giving additional rewards for referring friends. Furthermore, with Facebook integration, we can look at the interests listed by people who play our game, and target our advertisements towards potential players with those interests.