Alright, folks, here are some weekend timewasters. All of these are Advent Calendars promoted on Twitter which have a new game on every day. I cannot imagine having this much time on my hands.
(1) Swing Swing Submarine
Twitter: SwingSwingSub: https://twitter.com/#!/swingswingsub
TEXT: “24 Days that Matter”, our indie advent calendar, starts today at 10AM PST. 24 games to win and 24 BTM user levels to unlock.
The Twitter page doesn’t do much other than identify them as a corporate account from France, with a link. However, the graphics are cute and engaging, they have strong follower-following ratio, and you’d tend to think it might be safe to click through. Personally, I’d like to see a little more in the “bio” about their corporate mission. Games, though, will get folks to click through often even when they shouldn’t.
What makes this group especially interesting is that they’ve collected indie games from a variety of independent developers who don’t publish through the mainsteam game publishing channels. They are getting twice the engagement by not just offering the games, but also having a contest associated with each day’s game.
(2) Peter Vardy
This was a lovely example of third person recommendations. The initial recommender implied the games were almost as good as chocolate, leading me to the person they are talking about (Peter Vardy), who is evidently both a person and a Scottish company, and thence to the actual games. Since the initial requester is also Scottish, I rather wonder if they know each other (and suspect they might).
Peter Vardy does such a nice job of communicating the organizational Twitter presence that I wanted to show the main channel as well as the individual relevant tweet. Notice that in the “bio” area for the account he gives his name, a photo of himself, describes his role with the company, as well as the target audience, scope, mission and vision for the company. All in well under 200 characters. I’m impressed. Of course, he includes the link to their page, and you’ll notice that the images he’s tweeted support the stated company purpose. All in all, very nice blend of branding and personal identity. The one problem I identified is the color choices, which lack sufficient contrast to meet accessibility guidelines.
The Advent Calendar is actually from a service that provides similar personalized & branded calendars to a variety of brands. How interesting that Advent Calendars online have become such a huge trend that someone has an actual business selling them! They’ve extended the business to include related countdown calendars, and today are offering a special on their 12-Days-of-Christmas version.
Main service: http://www.adventcalendaronline.co.uk/ (They all look pretty similar, from what I could find out.)
Another 3rd party recommendation, this one from a person with a clearly fictitious name or cloaked real-life identity directing attention to Kirk Israel who appears to be an independent game developer on the opposite coast.
If you are another code monkey, um, programmer, you might get a real kick out of looking at these, since he has made the code open source, and it is all programmed in Java (hence the clever name “Javadvent Calendar”). In a way, this is kind of a resume for Kirk, since he does hire himself out to program games. This gives potential clients an opportunity to see how he manages gameplay, interface, design, related issues and actually look at the code. If you try to load all of them on the same page as shown here, it can be a bit slow. He gives directions for looking at each game individual, and also posts them separately and at a large scale in the blog page.
GamersGate is a well known name in the community of UK game players as people who provide games, similar to GameStop in the United States, making this part of their core mission with their real products, in contrast to most of the others we’ve shown who are creating game advent calendars primarily for marketing and promotion when their primary mission is in other areas. On the flip side, they are not providing free internet-capable games to play right this second, but are offering a discount on the price of purchasing something they have as inventory, and which would them presumably be shipped to you. Possibly some of them might be downloadable, but they all cost money.
What surprised me is that GamersGate is the only place I’ve found offering TWO simultaneous Advent Calendars. The second one promotes the games of a specific publisher, who is especially popular.