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  • Results from the Game Design Challenge: Marketing Bullets

    [09.25.08]
    - Manveer Heir and GameCareerGuide.com staff

  • Dean Ray Johnson, The Joe Madden Approach
    Here are my three points, in the order that I think they sound most relevant to picking up the guy just walking past the box and picking it up to look at it (in the order of Joes two, three, and one -- see Explanation):

    • Play through the eyes of Lt. Michael Dawkins as he discovers pain, danger, and mystery beyond what he was ever told about the life of a soldier
    • Pick right up into the basics of combat with the "Soldier's Action System," quickly learning over 30 weapons of the era
    • Go online with up to X friends in the online campaign that mimics the tactics of actual conflict


    Explanation
    Well, let's face it: As a bunch of people who really think about the game industry and spend a lot of time looking around it on the net, we're not the ones the bullet points are aiming at. The bullet points are really going to need to be targeted at Joe Maddenfootball, who just wandered into Gamestop to do some trade-ins and happens to see the game on the shelf. He's the one who's never heard of the game and is just thinking about it.

    So what kinds of things does Joe Maddenfootball think about when he sees a game? Let me try to step into his shoes for a moment.

    He could be thinking: "Hmm, my roommate has Call of Duty 4, and that was cool. I wonder if this is as good as Call of Duty."

    Or maybe he's thinking: "Hmm, my roommate already has Call of Duty 4, so I don't really need another WWII game. I wonder if this is just the same game."

    Or he could be thinking: "Hmm, I don't really like army games. I like Madden Football. I wonder if there's any reason I would like this army game?"

    So I'm going write one bullet point to try and lure in each of these three Joes, but none of those points can be so aggressive that they drive the other two Joes away.

    Joe No. 1 wants a game that's similar to other army games that he likes. What drew Joe into playing other WWII games? That's a hard question for me to answer. I know that Mikey McNoobpwner likes games with thick multiplayer that let them trash talk and teabag the people that he's just blown apart, but Mikey is really more of a Halo fan than a WWII gamer. In fact, I'm going to guess that the reason that Joe liked other WWII games is that they weren't Halo, that they focused on a mature, realistic system that rewards tactics and aim over crazy maneuvers. So I'm going to spend one bullet point on the solid, authentic WWII experience.

    The second Joe doesn't just want to play CoD4 again, but we've already stated that most of the things about the game are the same as other army games. But there's one thing that rarely gets exactly replicated from game to game -- the story. If people watch twelve different crime dramas on primetime network TV, then they can also play different WWII games as long as the plot of the show is different. So one of my bullet points will highlight the interesting story that you'll want to hear about.

    The third Joe would rather be playing Madden. That's a tough one, too. The gamer who only plays Madden might be the guy just looking for a simple, fun game that recreates something he really likes. Or he might be the guy who's really into Madden and can tell you a lot about the individual pieces of the game, but he's a little skeptical about getting into another genre. I think that both of those points say that this Joe would want a game that is easy to pick up, that isn't too intimidating, but also isn't too simple like a PopCap game or something. So I'll spend a third bullet point to encourage the less experienced player.

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