Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Level Up!

I was thinking about games and what makes a game fun and addictive. The answer, is leveling up.

This is especially true for flash games on the Internet. The games with a lot of achievements, level ups, upgrades, badges, perks and bonuses are the ones people play online. Even games with boring gameplay, like tower defense, become fun when you can upgrade your weapons.

So what else can we level up? Well I've seen this concept in restaurants, and I think it's great. I went to a potato place called Patates et Ciboulettes and they level up potatoes. Get a potato, get a flavour mix-in, get a topping. There's also Coldstone. Get an ice cream, level it up with a candy mix in. I've seen it in Yeh! Yogurt too. They have cookies. Choose a dough, level it up with candy.

The boy scouts have been doing this for years with merit badges. You do some work, you have a badge showing your new skill. This model has also been around for years for big ticket items like cars and computers. 5-cd changer, GPS, V-6 engine, 5 speed transmission, rear spoiler. Now that's a laptop! It seems to be relatively new in the restaurant business, and I can't, off the top of my head, think if it's hit smaller consumer goods yet.

There might be room for creativity here. Buy a jacket, level it up with designs, rhinestones, earphones sewn in, a USB port, a custom candy dispenser... Buy a backpack, level it up with batteries, built-in speakers, LEDs, a fog machine... Buy a container of milk, level it up with one of 6 flavour mix-ins... Buy a chair, level it up with all sorts of stuff.

The key to this, I think, is modules. Anyone can drill holes in their desk and run wires through and buy a set of speakers to go in there. But if the device came with standard ports for upgrades, and you just buy the module and snap it in... There's where your money is. You have to make it easy for someone to do in 5 minutes instead of an all day project.

There we go. Now who wants to hire me?

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