On Games

Games are hot. How do I know this? Because 9 out of 10 times I’m in a, “What should we do online” meeting, somebody says, “What about a game?” Only thing more popular, based on frequency of mention, is widgets.

It’s my job to be a cynic about these things. And generally, game ideas are half-baked and end up failing. Here’s a couple of game ideas that I like, mostly because they’re actually challenging. I think that is the key to making a successful game.

So if you’re making a game, make it tough. See bigger versions of these at my Flickr.

Swedish Armed Forces – Recruitment Campaign

Swedish Armed Forces

So apparently the Swedes are in need of defense. This bit of wonderful (not sure which agency created it) takes you through a series of truly difficult tasks. If you score well, you’re qualified (so to speak) for the Swedish Armed Forces. It’s all done in Flash, and it’s generally very well designed and built. Give ‘er a try and see if you’re up to standard.

GlobalSpec – Brain Strainer


I’ve had this site in my bookmarks for a long time, when a copywriter at Meyers + Partners gave me the case study. I don’t have the case study anymore, but apparently the game enthralled engineers (the target market for GlobalSpec, a search engine not unlike ThomasNet) and got them to sign up for the service. If you’re in B2B and are looking for a good example of something interesting, successful and fun-to-build online, this is it. Why was this so successful? Because it’s built on real physical “rules”, and is difficult enough to actually make a Ph.D. think.

Traveler IQ Challenge

Traveler IQ Challenge

I’m a geography nerd. I always have been, and always will be. You can see on my Facebook profile that I’ve played this one a few too many times. Basically, the game gives you a location, and you need to click on the map where you think it is. You get points for proximity and speed. It’s easy at first, but gets more difficult as time goes by. The game is supposed to promote TravelPod.com (a travel blog), and I’m not sure how successful it is there… but 1.4 million folks have added the application to their Facebook profiles, and that’s pretty good no matter what you’re trying to do.

And if you didn’t know by now, HY Connect’s back-end guru Don “Steel” Smith is now blogging, and recently wrote about games on his blog. Check it out.


5 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. Donna,

    Got to level five with an IQ of 89. I was about 1200 points short of being allowed to continue:)

  2. Diana,

    I’m totally signing up for the Swedish Armed Forces. I kicked some major ass. That Pet Shop Boy didn’t intimidate the Diana. Haven’t tried the other two sites.

  3. I got to level 6 but missed the 30K points needed to get to level 7. I think I had about 27K. My only complaint with that game is that the map is so small it’s hard to accurately place things. In some cases the question is less about accurate placement and more about, do you have any idea where in the world this place is? Take Luxembourg, Luxembourg for example. It appears as no more than a few pixels so it’s really a question of, do you know that Luxembourg is on the northern border of France rather than, can you accurately locate the city. I think some regional zooming might be appropriate so you could boost accuracy; I never got closer than 50km of the targets.

  4. Level 9. I agree with Don. Would have done better with a bigger map.

  5. I once got to level 12. Didn’t do too well there. A little obscure for my tastes.

    I agree, it would be easier if it were bigger. But still, it’s pretty fun.