We play games, we don’t only make them. Naturally, our choices in games is also what influences what kind of games we want to make. However, it’s not always so easy because in a team there are a lot of different tastes and preferences as to what games we prefer.
It’s before the weekend so here is a little taste as to what kind of games our team members like and currently play. Let us know what kind of gamer you are in the comments 🙂
Trond Abusdal / Lead Programmer
I don’t play much on a regular basis, but I played Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris a couple of weekends ago – I think it was great as a couch-coop-game, it had a nice mix of puzzle and action-based gameplay.
Henning Ludvigsen / Art Director
No time to play games, but I really enjoy watching Natascha’s streams with Alien Isolation. Love the look and feel, and sound of that game.
Aaron Dintino / Game Designer
I started playing Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, because it’s all I have time for nowadays and it has cats. I enjoy it because all I have to do is open the app once a day, refill the kitty food and place down some props while I wait for cats to appear.I have become an old cat lady
Jonny Ree / Sen. Technical Artist
The Witness by Thekla, Inc:
Although my time in-game has only mounted up to some hours so far, the game seems both simple in it’s design and vast in it’s beautiful scenery. Jonathan Blow and his team shows once more how a single mechanic can be explored to it’s conclusion. Taking a very basic “mini-game” and continuously adding to it to create some serious mind-benders.Gunpoint by Suspicious Developments.A game that has been out for a while, but I haven’t been able to get to before very recently. The game-play is clever, multifaceted and funny. As a Freelance Spy with catapulting pants, you take on missions to steal, corrupt data and investigate others (and yourself) by manipulating connection between devices. With frequent, hilarious outcomes. Another study in good game design.
Egil Bradley / Programmer
I’m currently playing “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy”I enjoy puzzle/detective-games, and Phoenix Wright is very different from other games i have tried before.
Still on the first game in the trilogy. Looking forward to the next games as it looks like they’ll have more puzzles in the investigation-part of the game.
Natascha Röösli / PR and Marketing
I am currently playing Alien: Isolation and I absolutely love it. Coming freshly out of finishing Until Dawn, Soma, The Evil Within, Outlast, Outlast: Whistleblower and Layers of Fear, Alien just has me on edge constantly.I think it’s its genius use of Sound, Atmosphere and pacing that really makes this game for me. Additionally, despite having an inventory and different weapons, it never gets in the way of my gameplay experience. It manages to keep me in game at all times, engaged and thus – scared!
Davide Tosello / Lead Concept Artist
star wars—–I played this one for “the brand”.. but after long time is a little bit boring.. I do not really like itcall of duty III black ops—-shot shot shot shot and don’t think nothing … so shot shot shot– the game promise you that you can shot in “modern way”.. cool!Alien Isolation— the atmosphere of the game is really good..Batman arkham — same main character same atmosphere same gameplay but I really like the last episode! 🙂
Fredrik Myhre Haraldsen / QA
Bloodborn (PS4): I love the setting and the general atmosphere. It’s really hard, but it’s so rewarding when you finally manage to progress. It’s something exciting about wanting to see what’s coming next, something that I find very rare in games these days.
We are super excited to announce the release of the official Knutsen & Ludvigsen Mobile Game to go with the release of the new Knutsen & Ludvigsen Movie which will premier Norwegian-wide on the 25th of September.
The film is directed by Rasmus A. Sivertsen and Rune Spaans. Among the voices are Bjarte Hjelmeland, Siri Nilsen and Sondre Lerche. The main characters are played by John Brungot and Hermann Sabado. The Game features cutscenes and voice-overs of the Actors also appearing in the movie.
Knutsen & Ludvigsen på skinner has been developed in co-operation with Tordenfilm is a really fun and addictive mobile game for everyone. Try to catch Pizzatryne to get back stolen items and use them to unlock new items!
Visit different cities in Norway and try to collect as much coins as you can to upgrade your trolly. Go into crazy Badger mode and help Knutsen and Ludvigsen catch Pizzatryne.
How far can you get on the tracks before the train is catching up to you?!
- Follow Knutsen and Ludvigsen to 10 different locations in Norway
- Experience different versions of all the Locations
- Randomly generated Level setup every day
- Upgrades for your trolly (no in game real money transactions)
- Two Different Game modes – trolly and badger mode!
- Complete new tasks and unlock upgrades to your existing boosters!
Based on a universe made by Øystein Dolmen and Gustav Lorentzen
Well there was not enough space to rock out but we had fun!
Nothing better than to mingle with fellow Norwegian Game Developers.
Almost the whole Rock Pocket Games Team was out and about in Oslo at Babylon Bar to celebrate Red Thread Games and Blink Studios‘ Dreamfall Chapters Kickstarter kick-off. Phew, that was quite a mouth-full, right?
(Sorry about the creepy glow-eye pictures, the place was super dark!)
Music, free food and drinks were had and many a good conversations were struck.
The event was not only to invite the press and other developers to check out the first Kickstarter Video and ask questions about the plans for Dreamfall Chapters, but also to network a bit:
The Norwegian Game Developer industry has been too fragmented and detached the past few years but events popping up all around the country to bring developers together is a good sign. The fact that the Norwegian Government also granted more funding for game development overall really helps everyone, specially in creating a more supportive-of-each-other rather than competitive atmosphere among Norwegian Indie Developers.
One of the reason Norway is still lacking a bit behind is probably the struggle to keep up with the international market in terms of development cost but more importantly the lack of exchanging experiences and interacting with each other which ALWAYS leads to improvement and creativity on all sides.
We had a lot of fun and wish the guys from Red Thread Games and Blink Studios all the best with their Kickstarter. We have no doubt everyone will throw money at them. You better because we already have! Go Norway!
It’s hard enough to make a good game, trying to get attention for it even more so. While I could write a whole book on the topic, for now I just want to share a few quick tips and some of my resources with anyone who would find them helpful:
First an excel sheet with English focused gaming preview/review sites and general contacts. Obviously, I also have personal contacts from meetings and conferences but that’s work you have to do yourself (sorry). Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you a) see some mistakes or b) are a reviewer/gaming site, I might have missed and you want to be added to the list. I’ll be updating the excel constantly so keep checking back.
English Review Sites Excel Download (last updated 20th of November 2012)
Should you have issues opening the file let us know and we try to send you a copy that is better suited for you.
It took some time to put this list together and it’s under constant construction. Creating and maintaining a press list is a lot of work but it’s also very important. Some links are shortened for better formatting of the table. They are completely safe to click though, I promise.
The excel can be sorted depending on your focus (iOS review sites, PC etc). You can also sort by Alexa ranking which gives you a general idea of traffic/importance of the site in question but take that with a grain of salt. The first time you open the list, it will be sorted by aforementioned ranking.
Preview and Review sections are to help with which sites do cover games before they are released and which mostly focus on reviews. Keep that in mind, since some sites also have different/specific contacts for one or the other.
You probably noticed the OATS column which has absolutely nothing to do with cereals and everything with editorial ethics and standards for app review sites. You can read more about O.A.T.S here.
Four more additional, helpful links you may or may not have known about:
- Social media Cheat Sheet with size overview for the different elements on social channels
- presskit() to easily create you first presskit for your website
- gamespress.com is your free pressrelease go-to-stop. Free fast and unbiased, how it should be.
- Hootsuite.com is really handy if you have to update several social channels and several different accounts per channel
An additional note from my side: I would be careful with reviewers who take money for reviews. If you have money to spend I am not one to keep you from spending it but I personally think it’s wrong to charge for reviews of any kind and I think the integrity stops once money changes hand. In any case of publicity or reviews even if they involved party claims they won’t be biased
I personally like to spend time and get some background information about journalists/staff writing for a specific site. Following them on twitter and generally being a creepy stalker will help you understand what games/topics certain journalists favour Not to mention, most of them are nice folk, fun to get to know and I am sure they appreciate a more personal approach if you send someone a press-release or review request directly. I also try to avoid sending mass emails. While it does take more time, it also makes a better impression to write more personal emails or inquiries.
Do you know what real-time marketing is?
Marketing doesn’t only happen in the past (by checking statistics and optimizing existing content) or in the future (by planning ahead), it’s also important to always stay on top of what’s happening and react accordingly. A lot of marketing opportunities arise from events which happen right now and it’s called real-time marketing.
Here is a pretty cool example of why you should at all times be interested in what’s happening with your game and more importantly live up to errors and problems immediately. In most cases you can turn a bad thing into an opportunity and even profit from it.
Current example being Bioware and the PC Version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Some of the CDs that were shipped with the PC version were lacking the second disc, which was wrongly replaced by a Mass Effect 2 copy instead. Bioware reacted fast and offers its fifty first customers, who send in pictures with themselves holding up a copy of the wrongly printed version, the whole Mass Effect Trilogy for free. Check out their official blog post on the issue here.
This is very smart in several ways:
- Living up and admitting to an error resonates well with communities. It shows you care, which is more important than trying to swipe it under the carpet.
- Giving out the Mass Effect series to affected people might lead to new fans of the ME IP who otherwise might never have tried the game
- Actions like this are interesting for the press and bloggers (hah, case in point, right?) and will automatically get picked up and covered. Not to mention the viral potential of the happy fifty who got a win out of the mistake.
Now, one might think if Bioware’s Marketing department was smart, that whole thing was actually planned. After all, isn’t it a bit weird that only certain discs were wrongly printed? The text on the blog seems almost too perfect and fun to have been cooked up within such little reaction time.
It’s a practice mobile games have been using for a while now: to leverage an existing community by injecting information about another game.
However, maybe that’s giving them too much credit and they are indeed not as calculative. It might have been too much of a hassle and too costly to do all of this on purpose but these facts remain:
This is going to get them a lot of press for not one but TWO of their IPs in one go, happy reactions and a possibly wider audience for the ME franchise. Even though 50 copies is not that many..
No matter what the story behind the issue is, it’s smart marketing on all accounts and a great example of how it should be done. If it was indeed planned then it’s also very creative and smart.
So what do you think: Planned or just an honest mistake smartly dealt with? Oh and by the way, what you are reading right now is real-time marketing too 😉
It’s almost mid of November and all the stores are stuffed to the brim with Holiday goodies and decorated to make sure everyone knows Christmas (or at least Winter) is coming. Yup, a little pun on the side there.
Back to the topic at hand though: it’s the time where children get excited and restless until they can finally unwrap their gifts. Why not give them something to pass the time that also fits into the season to sweeten the wait a bit? A Winter or Christmas themed mobile Game is a good option. But wait, you are probably concerned about the safety of your kid and maybe your wallet and device too?
Did you know that you can disable certain functions to protect your children with simple parental control? Here is how it works for iOS devices:
Touch the SETTINGS icon and scroll a bit down until you see GENERAL.
Click the GENERAL icon to access its details and scroll down until you see “RESTRICTIONS“.
This is a very powerful and handy tool, to not only enable/disable or restrict content and applications by password protecting them, you can also set a timer after which the pass-code needs to be entered. Quite handy to set a time limit on general play-time.
You can also disable itunes, in-app purchases and installation or deletion of applications. After all, those “dancing” little icons are fun to click on once they start jiggling…
The pin number you get prompted to set, after you enable Restrictions, is not linked to your unlock pin-code, which is great if your kids know your pin to start your device.
And while both your children and your device are protected, what about a Winter or Christmas inspired iOS game to sweeten that wait?
We recommend Ella Bella Winter Fun for our international gamers or Vinter i Blåfjell for our Norwegian gamers. Make sure to check out the Apple, Android and Google Play Stores for many more season themed games by other developers too.
There is a huge discussion going on right now about the re-structuring of the apple store and its aftermath for indies. Several articles around the net cover the issues and I do agree with them – but only to a certain extent. So lets take a look at this from a marketing point of view.
So here is Natascha’s humble opinion on this hot subject:
Platforms such as the apple store, steam (you could even mention kickstarter as a marketing tool) shouldn’t have been the main focus for indie developers to get attention for their games. It worked when these locations were relatively new, with less products, but at a time where there are more than 150 games being added to the app store daily, that time has come and gone. It’s not only an issue of the sheer amount of new games being released daily overwhelming a potential consumer, but also the fact that in order to gain his/her attention, your game has to be at the right place at the right time. This is something which is hard to influence on a platform of any sorts, unless you have full control over said platform.
Why would you want to compete at the last possible destination in a sales process? Sales and attention are being gained way before the location your product is being bought and those are places you can have 100% control over, such as your website/blog, social media channels, communities, forums or anything else related to the web.
It’s like begging/hoping for attention while we indie marketeers and developers should be focusing on gaining/earning the attention through other means.
Marketing is all about attention. I think we all can agree on that (admittedly, very simplified) definition. However it needs the right kind of attention at the right place and at the right time. In order to achieve this there are better means out there than gambling in the app store game and I think it’s about time we get to terms with that fact. The best game in the world won’t sell if people don’t know about it. Minecraft wasn’t a great game when Notch started development, it was a great idea/design and he used the power to engage and include a whole community onto the development process which in turn made them feel more involved and connected. Being part of an actual project automatically makes people more invested. There is an inherit truth that human beings have a craving to belong to a community, engage and interact. So, right there is a great marketing tool for you. Inexpensive, personal and with long-term merit.
So lets assume Minecraft wasn’t known at all before it got released and it would be an iPhone game only. Now lets assume some people saw it in the “new” section. Some would have bought it, others probably not. That would lead off to a slow start but since Minecraft is a very popular game it would go viral pretty fast with most marketing coming from people who love it so much they tell their friends about it. This shows us that most decisions to buy the game are made outside of the app store via friend suggestions or people blogging about how great the game is. The game is being bought because people trust their friends to tell them the truth.
Not to mention, someone who buys your game by browsing in the app store is also much more likely to just drop it again and forget about it. You don’t want a consumer, you want a fan
Natascha is a firm believer of earning attention through content, community building, trust and placing yourself as a thought-leader and specialist in your field. That means stepping out of the mindset that everything is about your product and thinking that just getting it in front of someone who has never heard or seen of your studio or your game is enough to make them buy it. It’s not enough, not anymore, because you compete with thousands of other studios who do exactly the same.
You need to stand out as a person and a studio. Building trust and explaining to people who you are and what your studio stands for takes time. It takes time to understand who your potential customers are. It takes time to understand what kind of problems you could solve for them. It takes time to write content for them and it takes time to get to know people and make friends. That is the reason you should have a person that is dedicated to do this and that’s the money you should be spending on Marketing nowadays:
The good news?
- Expensive Marketing such as ads, TV spots etc are not efficient any more. We don’t need them (or do you seriously not check your emails or browse on your smart phone/tablet or grab something to snack through a tv ad break?)
- The new way of marketing is incredibly cost-effective to almost free and has long-term merit
The bad news?
- Game shop platforms will become increasingly useless as marketing tools
- The new way of marketing is very time-consuming and needs a dedicated person
What exactly is the modern way of doing marketing? Well that is Natascha’s personal opinion and could probably fill a book or at least a few hours of talking but feel free to send us an email and we are happy to discuss
We welcome a new Rockpocketeer into our midst. Arnleif has years of experience as a game programmer and is now adding his knowledge to our exiting team rounding the number to a full ten members!
We are really excited to have Arnleif join us in the fight for glory. His past achievements include working for Funcom on Anarchy Online, Dreamfall and Age of Conan and for Ravn Studio on the Vinter i Blåfjell, Kaptain Sabeltann and Pippi Longstocking Games. Now he is using his programming expertise on Oliver&Spike and the many projects we have in the works. Welcome to the team! 🙂
With the first eight pages of the original Ella Bella Beach adventure completely free, we wanted to make sure you can check out the app and get a feel for how it works.
Once you experienced and listened to the original story you have the option to record your own voice and tell a totally different story (or let your kid be creative and tell one to you!).
The charming app features:
- Highly readable and age-appropriate text
- Fun interactive surprises on every page
- The option to listen to the story or record it yourself
- Original music and lively sound effects
- Colorful and vibrant pictures
- A positive social message about inventiveness and adaptability
This game is available in 3 languages (English, Danish and Norwegian) and universal for iPhone and iPad. You only need to download it once to be able to use it on all your apple devices.