Archive for 'Gaming'

Battle Pirates Deconstruct

Posted on30. Jul, 2012 by Michael Gugel.

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Battle Pirates has one of the highest rev/DAU of any FB game.  I’ve been playing it obsessively over the last month to figure out why.
Key Metrics (as of 7/29 from AppData.com)

DAU: 230k
Month Over Month DAU Growth: 9.5%
Engagement: 19.2%

There are 3 main reasons why I think this game is success:

An external threat to survival with [...]

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The Endowment Effect

Posted on14. Jul, 2012 by Michael Gugel.

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The endowment effect increases your perceived value of a good when you own it. In other words, if you buy a t-shirt for $10 and I offer you $10 when you walk out, you’ll probably say “No way!”   It takes almost DOUBLE ($20) to get you to part with the t-shirt!
The classic example is [...]

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TF2 Dueling Mini-Game

Posted on09. Jul, 2012 by Michael Gugel.

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All my kills are legit, but every time I die, it’s BS!
I never die because of MY lack of skill, I die because my teammates suck or due some ridiculous circumstances!
OK, I admit, that’s obviously a bit ridiculous, but it’s a common psychological phenomenon called the self-serving bias.  People attribute their successes to personal factors (e.g. [...]

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The Power of Popups

Posted on03. Jul, 2012 by Michael Gugel.

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Don’t assume a user will magically figure it out what you want him to do. Tell them!  And don’t be subtle about it.  Be bold and get in their face.

You want them to send out virals? Ask them to do it.
You want them to come back tomorrow?  Ask them to do it.
You want revenue?  Ask [...]

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Top 5 Things That Made Harvest Moon Great

Posted on14. May, 2012 by Michael Gugel.

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Harvest Moon was one of the original farming simulators.  It sold millions of copies and helped inspire the most successful game of all time – Farmville.  Even though it’s an old game (from 2000), it’s still STRANGELY ADDICTING.
Here are the top 5 things I loved about the game:

Creation: When I  saw my seeds germinating for the first [...]

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Launching the Zynga Bingo Closed Beta

Posted on05. Feb, 2012 by Michael Gugel.

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Zynga Bingo got it’s first real users last week!  It was awesome to be part of the project.  More details to come, but for now, here are some scenes from the SF HQ:

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Transformative Experiences

Posted on06. Nov, 2011 by Michael Gugel.

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I was addicted to poker.  It was an awesome addiction though — I loved the ups and I loved the downs. And in the end, it made me a wiser and a much stronger person.
It started playing poker when I was a senior in high school.  At lunch time, you could find me huddled in [...]

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Getting Terminology Straight: Open Graph, News Feed, Ticker & Timelines

Posted on02. Oct, 2011 by Michael Gugel.

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You know the guy that misuses industry jargon and comes off looking like a dummy?  I was that guy this week.  I didn’t have all the new concepts / terminology from FB’s f8 conference locked down.  Here’s what I wish I knew last week.
Facebook’s old version of Open Graph let you slap on a “Like” [...]

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Achievement Design

Posted on25. Sep, 2011 by Michael Gugel.

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Check out Greg McClanahan’s awesome post on Achievement design from Gamasutra.
Here’s the best part:
GOOD reasons for making achievements hard to get:

High skill component
Perfection of a core game mechanic
Handicapping the player (in a way that makes sense and is still fun)

BAD reasons for making achievements hard to get:

Completely luck-based (and rare)
Perfection of non-central game mechanic that isn’t overly [...]

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Benign vs Malicious Jealousy

Posted on05. Sep, 2011 by Michael Gugel.

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People expect the world to be fair.  If you work hard, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.  If you’re lazy, you won’t get much.  You can be jealous of both the hard-worker and lazy luckbox, but it’s quite useful to classify that jealousy into two types:

Benign Envy: You feel benign envy when you see someone you [...]

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