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Going viral on the web

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1 Going viral on the web on Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:57 pm

A quick search tells me this hasn't come up in the forums yet, at least not verbatim to my search terms...

The plan is definitely to include a Facebook application, right? At the very least a deck gallery that rotates through images of the 'mon kids have collected? I know Facebook users have to be 14 years old and the target audience of this game might be a bit younger, but not taking advantage of the power social networking would be a crime.

Here's why: http://www.sirlin.net/blog/2010/2/22/external-rewards-and-jesse-schells-amazing-lecture.html

It's a video presentation nearly 30 minutes long. It's fairly well done, but you can skim parts of it and still get the main idea. The presenter talks about the psychology of why certain types of games have become enormously successful in ways people wouldn't have predicted. I feel that it's important to keep these sorts of things in mind when trying to craft messages-into-games people will care about, pay attention to, or at least remember.

Maybe the application could be similar to the Red List Species of the Day web badges? Here's the feed. It can be embedded in any website sidebar, easy as you please.

Seems like a pretty clever way to spread the word on biodiversity in an innocuous and "oh this looks interesting, why don't I click it?" sort of way. Phylomon needs to do the same thing for web-savvy kids.

I know there are extensive plans for the web side of the game, but I wanted to add my $0.02...

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2 Re: Going viral on the web on Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:03 pm

I think a widget like that is pretty easy. Especially if the cards are produced "dynamically" as Dave says. i.e. a card is like a blog post - if so, then converting that to something where the latest can be shown on a website should be doable.

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3 Re: Going viral on the web on Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:38 pm

That was a great talk. Lots to think about anyway. I especially liked the bit about authenticity. Hopefully this phylomon game has elements where there's advantages to the player if you've seen the real organism (or taken a photo of it, or something to that effect).

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4 Gotta see 'em all on Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:00 pm

I think one of the key things to remember from the video is that there are plenty of psychological tricks we don't even recognize yet, including things that have yet to be exploited. The Pokémon catchphrase encapsulated what made its product so successful: "gotta catch 'em all". Phylomon will be using a similar approach, but I think we've got an even stronger position because of the real life aspect.

At the very least, there ought to be a "I've seen this organism in the wild/ I've seen this organism in the zoo/aquarium/arboretum" checkbox somewhere on the card. Give the kids a sense of accomplishment. Of course, that would make international markets a bit trickier, as you won't see a wild hedgehog in the Americas or an opossum in Europe. Certainly we'd want kids to understand the basic idea of native ranges, but it does hamper the "gotta see 'em all" aspect.

Any other fill-in-the-blank bits that could be added to the cards to up the tangibility and sense of accomplishment? Maybe an "I learned a fact about this critter on its phylmon.com website profile" achievement?

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5 Re: Going viral on the web on Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:13 pm

ensimismada wrote:I think one of the key things to remember from the video is that there are plenty of psychological tricks we don't even recognize yet, including things that have yet to be exploited. The Pokémon catchphrase encapsulated what made its product so successful: "gotta catch 'em all". Phylomon will be using a similar approach, but I think we've got an even stronger position because of the real life aspect.

At the very least, there ought to be a "I've seen this organism in the wild/ I've seen this organism in the zoo/aquarium/arboretum" checkbox somewhere on the card. Give the kids a sense of accomplishment. Of course, that would make international markets a bit trickier, as you won't see a wild hedgehog in the Americas or an opossum in Europe. Certainly we'd want kids to understand the basic idea of native ranges, but it does hamper the "gotta see 'em all" aspect.

Any other fill-in-the-blank bits that could be added to the cards to up the tangibility and sense of accomplishment? Maybe an "I learned a fact about this critter on its phylmon.com website profile" achievement?

If there's going to be a Facebook aspect, there's a ton of great stuff we can do for it - interactive quizzes, special card giveaways, mini-games. I do like the idea of a checklist - "I've seen this animal IRL!" It's like BINGO.

Also, integrating achievements is a decent way to promote the game. When other Facebook users see their friends posting "I just battled an aye aye with a blue whale!", they'll be more inclined to click the link to see what their friend is playing. Calls to help also work - "Help! My ant army has lost its queen!"

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6 Re: Going viral on the web on Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:36 pm

rawrchiteuthis wrote:
Also, integrating achievements is a decent way to promote the game. When other Facebook users see their friends posting "I just battled an aye aye with a blue whale!", they'll be more inclined to click the link to see what their friend is playing. Calls to help also work - "Help! My ant army has lost its queen!"

If there is going to be an entirely web-based way to play, I really like the "calls to help" idea. Would it be possible to spectate on a game between friends? Or even to come to a friend's rescue by joining a game that's already started? If you take the land-exploring, world-building approach, this seems entirely plausible to me. If you take the "my guys are stronger than your guys" approach, perhaps not so much.

Or maybe just make an electronic PhyloTerrarium? An applet where people can display their collections, perhaps with interactions or a visual appearance that depend on the overall or average stats of the collected cards?

For example, I could have a desert biome PhyloTerrarium (sandy background), a plant PhyloTerrarium, or a PhyloTerrarium entirely populated by rare organisms or nocturnal organisms or predators. It might demand creating a lot more art, but I think it would be more fun to see Phylo collections in this way than to display them as a Facebook page full of card thumbnails.

I'm not suggesting we reinvent the Tomagotchi or anything, just that kids' collections should be a point of pride and envy throughout the digital playgrounds...

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7 Re: Going viral on the web on Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:18 pm

This is a very cool idea. My lab's not (yet) in a position to do something like this with the phylomon project, but when the website is open, we'll definitely make it known that this type of thing is an area of interest.

Hmm... let me also start a new thread, where I give you all a sneak peek of the website (it's still being tweaked, but it's getting there).

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8 Re: Going viral on the web on Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:39 pm

ensimismada wrote:
rawrchiteuthis wrote:
Also, integrating achievements is a decent way to promote the game. When other Facebook users see their friends posting "I just battled an aye aye with a blue whale!", they'll be more inclined to click the link to see what their friend is playing. Calls to help also work - "Help! My ant army has lost its queen!"

If there is going to be an entirely web-based way to play, I really like the "calls to help" idea. Would it be possible to spectate on a game between friends? Or even to come to a friend's rescue by joining a game that's already started? If you take the land-exploring, world-building approach, this seems entirely plausible to me. If you take the "my guys are stronger than your guys" approach, perhaps not so much.

I don't know, has there been any marketing research to suggest this mode of promotion is actually effective? I know that between myself and some of the people I associate with, there is a demographic that will include people who will avoid these games because they are "annoying", such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, and so on.

However this demographic may represent an extreme minority.

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9 marketing research? on Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:12 am

rageofanath wrote:
ensimismada wrote:
rawrchiteuthis wrote:
Also, integrating achievements is a decent way to promote the game. When other Facebook users see their friends posting "I just battled an aye aye with a blue whale!", they'll be more inclined to click the link to see what their friend is playing. Calls to help also work - "Help! My ant army has lost its queen!"

If there is going to be an entirely web-based way to play, I really like the "calls to help" idea. Would it be possible to spectate on a game between friends? Or even to come to a friend's rescue by joining a game that's already started? If you take the land-exploring, world-building approach, this seems entirely plausible to me. If you take the "my guys are stronger than your guys" approach, perhaps not so much.

I don't know, has there been any marketing research to suggest this mode of promotion is actually effective? I know that between myself and some of the people I associate with, there is a demographic that will include people who will avoid these games because they are "annoying", such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, and so on.

However this demographic may represent an extreme minority.

I'm not sure of any marketing research, but I'll try to find someone. A lot of my friends despise Farmville as well - it seems to be the status quo, but at the same time, there are more Farmville accounts then Twitter.

The logic seems to be that if someone works hard at something, they assume there's "value" in it. Sharing one's achievements via an online portal, where their friends can see, seems to lend credibility to the idea that whatever they've achieved has value and worth. So, Farmville users like to announce when they've gained a level, which makes them feel good, and usually this announcement is coupled with a "share with your friends, and they can get some money too!" to make their friends feel good about "validating" other people's accomplishments (they validate it by clicking the wall feed link and can receive gold whenever their friends level up). So this kind of mechanic is really, really fun for people who are already playing Farmville, and only slightly annoying to those who are not and have that kind of thing clutter up their facebook friend feeds.

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10 Re: Going viral on the web on Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:28 am

So, is Phylo playable online now?

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