When watching an ad on TV, how often have you yelled in frustration, jumped when startled, or practically crashed into the screen trying to see what’s coming next? Chances are, not very often. Games, on the other hand, invoke a strong emotional response. It’s nearly impossible to be impassive while playing a game. The engagement created by playing and controlling the experience first-hand is unlike any response created by ads.
And to truly understand the power of games, it’s not enough to just read about them - you have to actually play some yourself. That’s right - you need to experience the excitement of exploring a new world, the frustration of trying to figure out how to move and interact, and the sense of accomplishment when you finally get a hang of it.
You’re not a gamer, you say? Neither is our marketing consultant from Digifianz, Shannon. We tasked her with truly immersing herself in the game world by playing three games that underscore the emotional effect of games. Here’s her experience:
While growing up, I played some video games with my brother - Crash Bandicoot and Mario Bro’s, for instance - but in adulthood I had mainly abandoned the pastime. Enter Plinq: I started learning about games, advergames, and what powerful tools they are, but the team assured me that it wasn’t enough to simply read about games - I should play them myself in order to have a full understanding. This, of course, made sense, so I set about trying out their suggestions, all in the name of science (ahem, “work”).
With all three of these games, I don’t want to say too much to shape your experience, but here’s a little background: in Abzu you’re a diver, exploring a wondrous underwater world. You’re literally submersed in the world created by the game.
No ad can give you the calm, tranquility of swimming, diving, actually feeling immersed in an underwater world.
This game highlights the captivating power of games and their effect on emotions; it would be ideal to decompress at the end of a busy day. Instantly you breathe a little slower, your curiosity levels spike - you feel that childlike wonder - what is here? what can I do? The gameplay harkens back to youthful experiences of exploration and testing boundaries.
I thoroughly enjoyed the playful nature of gaming, of wondering: where does this lead? I was also surprised to feel a sense of accomplishment when figuring out what you’re “supposed” to do - my natural curiosity was rewarded with treasures and clues.
Warning: this next one is a horror game.
Again, I don’t want to influence your experience so I won’t include much information on the actual game, but I can assure you that the experience will be memorable. Be sure not to watch any videos of the game beforehand and to play in a dark, quiet room using headphones. The headphones are essential - otherwise you won’t be able to feel anything (dun dun dun).
I have a no-horror movies rule. They’re just not my thing. When the guys at Plinq asked me to play this game I was apprehensive and nervous, but I knew it would help me get the feel for the effect games can have on players.
If I can do it, so can you! I wasn’t scarred for life and thankfully I didn’t have nightmares afterwards, but it did quickly make the point that getting chased in a game is way scarier than seeing someone get chased in a movie! Oh, and you’re the one making all the stupid decisions. You know, the ones that you make fun of in scary movies. Well, it’s harder to judge when you’re tasked with making the moves yourself.
Why subject yourself to a horror game, you may wonder. So that you can experience for yourself the emotional impact of games. Games evoke a much stronger emotional response than traditional forms of marketing. While reason (quality products) sells, emotion (an impactful mission) does so even better.
Give it a try, and let me know that I’m not the only one who hid behind a blanket, squinting my eyes to keep from being too startled.
You’re in for a real treat with this one. There are two parallel stories - a mother fox trying to find her cubs and a son reconnecting with his estranged father. You take on the role of the mother fox, running around a gorgeous, whimsical land.
I loved this magical world full of possibilities and discovery. Figuring out: can I jump? How far? Is this just to explore or is there a mission? Stumbling across hidden clues.
It may sound strange, but I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I figured out what you’re supposed to do and when I found clues.
The beautiful, captivating world was absolutely absorbing - everything from the sound of the wind in the brush to the depth of the snow affecting how fast you can trot. It was such a pleasant experience - entirely different from the fighting games of my childhood.
I got completely caught up in the mission - just as consumers become invested in your mission when playing an advergame created specifically around your brand. Custom-made advergames communicate your mission to your customers organically as they play your game and are involved in completing it.
With all of these games, I was surprised how powerful the urge was to keep playing - to find the next treasure, to figure out the next clue. I was tasked with playing Abzu and The First Tree for a half hour each. I knew I had played longer than that, but I was shocked to see that I had played Abzu for 71 minutes and The First Tree for 50! I played twice the amount of time required by the experiment because the games were absorbing and fun! I had forgotten what it feels like to explore a game world.
OK, enough reading about games - it’s time to play some for yourself! Go sign up for a Steam account and get playing.
Once you’ve been completely convinced of the unparalleled emotional effect of games, come check out how advergames upgrade your marketing strategy!