A Royall Juggle

Posts Tagged ‘second life

I have to admit, my favorite part of this week’s blog topic was “Googling” some of the video games of my past to find out what’s out there about them today. If you asked me about 15 years ago “What is social gaming?” I would probably respond by saying something like, “It’s when you go to your friend’s house to race them in Mario Kart.”

One of my first memories of video games was playing Paperboy on the first Nintendo with my sister and yelling at the TV screen at the dog that always ended my paper route (yes, you can still buy it). In fact, I still have my Super Nintendo in my closet and went through a stage after college where I would buy used games from Amazon and invite people over for Nintendo and wine nights J Back in the 90’s, I thought I was pretty cool because I knew the password to skip to “Genie World” in Aladdin — “Genie, Jafar, Aladdin, Abu.” Today, all kids have to do is search online and it comes up on the first page of search results.

In lieu of my country video of the week, I had to bring back Paperboy to prove how much gaming has changed since then (whoever created this YouTube video was a pro compared to me and figured out how to dodge the dog).

Back then, I would have laughed if you said that FedEx and UPS were battling it out for advertising sponsorships on Paperboy, but today many big advertisers are doing just that. They are using games to build their brands in virtual worlds such as Second Life, World of Warcraft and the many games for XBOX.  

According to our guest speaker this semester, Michael Slaby, former CTO of the Obama campaign, once all the traditional media space was taken the days leading up to the election, the Obama campaign team purchased advertising for XBOX games. Some examples of corporate use: Toyota used an online game to introduce a new car model, Coke sponsored a concert that took place in the Second Life virtual world and T-Mobile built a party island for Second Life “residents” to explore. If I ever spent time on Second Life, I’d rather check out Dry Gulch Saloon, a popular country music spot destination complete with themed events, line dancing, DJ performances, bull-riding, and other Western-themed fun. I wonder if CMT or popular country singers have ever thought to add that to their marketing mix…

According to the interesting podcast about the Business Week cover story: “Virtual World, Real Money,” you can actually make a decent living developing and selling virtual property online and converting virtual bucks into real money in your pockets. Similarly, businesses have also used virtual worlds to design and test out products, saving significant amounts in research and development costs before bringing their product to the real world.

Bottom line: social gaming today isn’t your typical paper route. Many games and/or virtual worlds have complex storylines and are extremely influential within their community of dedicated users. If Paperboy was a social game today, I would definitely have the ability to install invisible fences in the yards to keep the dogs away from my bike. How would you change your favorite games from the 80’s and 90’s using the technology of today?


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