Continuing my thoughts on Purple Cow as applied to games.
Just to reiterate, you've got to stand out, be a purple cow, to get noticed in this cluttered world. "Be remarkable," is one of Godin's key phrases.
You might get the idea from my last post that game-jam-sized games can't be purple cows. Of course they can. Schizoid was one. Schizoid actually was pretty remarkable - not only was it aggressively about the co-op, it was weird. Hard-to-describe weird. There was no good elevator pitch for it. There was no shooting! It was kind of like Pac Man in the way you'd eat dots, but analog - you could move any direction, and then there was the whole color coded thing on top of that.
But to this day, when I talk about Schizoid to people, if they've heard of it, they say, "Oh yeah, wasn't that a twin-stick shooter?"
To which I usually say, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice, "Well, I guess, but you couldn't shoot."
But this isn't their bad; this is human nature. We see something and we immediately want to put it in a category and feel like we understand it. If your game even looks slightly like another game in its screenshots and trailers, people are going to assume it's more-or-less a clone, lump it in the category, and move on. People looked at our screenshots and said 'glowy bloomy saturated colors with spaceships - must be another twin-stick shooter.'
So it's not enough to be remarkable, you still need to get the message out why it's remarkable, and overkill is probably the order of the day there. Maybe we should have named the game something like "Co-operate!" (looking at Loadout! and Incredipede as examples there - some of what makes those games stand out is right in their titles) and maybe our look should have been something like this:
Something like that anyway. Something that would clearly show the homage to Pac-Man, clearly show it's a two-player game and color-coded, and not remind anyone of Geometry Wars or Flow, the games du jour.
And maybe our trailer should have explicitly said, in big letters, "Red can eat red. Red cannot eat blue." and vice versa, so people who weren't paying that close attention would notice it.
How is your game remarkable and how are you making that clear?
Very insightful. It's great to see the theory applied to something both concrete and personal.
Posted by: Michael Guerrero | January 05, 2013 at 03:10 PM