Maddy Rose joins us in today’s podcast about gamification and films. She is a fellow marketing communications professional and specialises in game development.
In this podcast we discuss gamification, films, what it means and how it works.
Thanks for joining us Maddy!
Gamification is when you take something that isn’t a game and give it elements that make it a game; like competition with others, rules, allowing the possibility to score points.
We’re talking about the active decision, usually from a marketing department, to produce a game that is centred around elements of the film or it’s characters.
Is that pretty much it Maddy?
Maddy: Gamification is really complicated. At its core it’s just giving anything that is not a game, game like elements. Competition or making it competitive or things like adding experiences points or levelling up. Which aren’t common in movie stuff. Basically anything you make into a competition or add elements of social interaction or interactivity.
What would be your favourite game that’s based on a film?
Maddy: I would probably say Batman: Arkham Asylum most video games make terrible movies, most movies make terrible games. Because people fail to understand the difference between the mediums. And I think what Arkham Asylum does really well is that it’s not trying to be the exact same.
Like this is not Batman, the movie/ the game. It’s not Dark Knight the game. It’s its own entity. It’s kind of based off some of the feel, especially of… I have totally forgotten who directed those movies.
Nolan? Christopher Nolan?
Maddy: Nolan! Yes! You know, it’s based off that world. But it’s its own entity. And I think that’s what makes it effective.
So you’re saying that the best way to provide a gamification element to the world of the film is to make it its own thing. Don’t try to copy the narrative directly. Feel free to put different creative decisions in to this new platform.
Maddy: Well I think that the best way to add those elements in, whether directly through a game or just expanding the universe. So that thing already exists, there is no reason to perfectly implement that over.
That said, there are good games that are basically the movie played out. So that’s fine, there’s always room for that. And that can be interesting, but I think the best games, especially coming from movie universes, are ones that expand that. In ways that you couldn’t from just having the film by itself.
Can you give us an example of a game that has done it really badly?
Maddy: There was an X-Men game based on the movie. Which movie? I can’t remember, I think it was the second movie, which was my favourite movie. And I just remember playing it and being like… urgh I’m not super into this.
My introduction to film gamification would be, when the Lion King was released and I could never get passed the stampede. And I remember that whenever you would leave the game idle suddenly Simba would just growl out you… hearing that noise, just reminds me of failed times, killing Simba.
Maddy: Yes! I’m glad you mentioned the Lion King. It’s funny, Lion King in particular is… I’ve never played it but I’ve heard people reference it as a good example of gamification and that the thing where it is an adaptation of the movie, as opposed to its own thing. So it works, and I think that’s a really big nostalgic part of lot of people’s childhood in conjunction with the movie itself .
Where do you think gamification can go in the future?
Maddy: Things like ARGS, augmented reality games/ alternate reality games. And what they are, they’re meant to take the real world and then transpose over it another world and then you’re supposed to interact with that within the real world space. As if that is actually a thing that is taking place.
So the biggest one is Batman: Dark Knight and this one went for a year in real world time and it involves emails and real world scavenger hunts and meeting up with people around the world. Working together and they’d bake phones into cakes and send those to people and you’d get a call from the phone in real life.
Film fans aren’t really interacting in an online space as much as game fans are.
So there’s all this really cool stuff. And that’s a game and it was for a movie. And you think, this is the way marketing will go and this is the way non interactive media will go. But they don’t really exist anymore. There are elements of it and I think they are more common for video games nowadays, because there is already a good set up for them, whereas film fans aren’t really interacting in an online space as much as game fans are.
But they’re interesting and a weird mesh of marketing and media and game elements.
So you would say that gamification is best done when it’s not trying to be just what the film was, but when it’s becoming something new, but still in the world and just extending the story elements?
Maddy: Personally I think that’s what’s most effective. There are ways as a merchandising tool in making an exact replica and putting game play elements in to it is always going to sell on some level. So I guess it’s about what’s most meaningful and worthwhile and playing and making and what makes the most money. So I think there is a happy medium between them. I think they’ll do some interesting stuff in the future. We just need to keep our eyes open.
Absolutely! Anyway, thank you so much for joining me. Until next time!
For further information on gamification here is a handy little article.
What are you favourite games based on films?
Leave a comment or get in touch and let me know!