Here at 7 Generation Games, we ignore a lot of advice. Probably the most common piece of advice we ignore is:
Everyone is doing iPad games. You should concentrate on tablets.
Really? I looked for a Grand Theft Auto iPad version and I couldn’t find one, because, as David Price pointed out, it doesn’t exist. Funny thing, GTA V generated $800 million in revenue in its first 24 hours of release, exceeding the previous first-day sales record of $500 million set by Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Most educational games are pretty generic – play on an iPad, focus on basic skills, minimal story line, minimal teaching, jumping around and shooting. If you played Math Blasters 20 years ago and hadn’t played an educational game since, you could pick up an iPad, download a dozen educational games and pick up right where you left off.
We have all of that in our games, but they are casual games in between game levels, or an off-shoot for a few minutes to practice your basic math facts before going back to the real game.
We’re building a massive game – not massive in the online sense of World of Warcraft (although I’m not ruling that out in the future) but massive in terms of size and scope.
Like GTA and Call of Duty, we are coming out with companion apps for the iPad, using our same characters and story line as the main games. The first one will be available this year. However, this is not going to be our main emphasis unless tablets change dramatically.
To quote Price,
Advanced gaming is also an area where processing power counts,
Our main focus, is building a virtual world, where Native Americans travel, hunt, raise crops, trade with neighboring tribes, search out herbs to save the tribe from an epidemic and occasionally steal horses. One of our users jokingly called it Grand Theft Horses.
Our game has layers upon layers:
- We include history and mathematics and are starting to slip in some science,
- Students who miss a problem are routed to a page where they choose their preferred method of study – reading, video, activity
- After studying, students take a quiz to go back to the game. The quiz is rarely multiple choice, and can include fill-in-the-blank with the correct number, explain your reasoning or even be a tic-tac-toe type of game where three correct answers in a row wins
- It is PACKED with Easter eggs, most of which have a cultural/ historical component. Clicking on a rabbit can bring up a movie that tells how snaring rabbits saved the Turtle Mountain Ojibwa from starvation. Dying in the game may bring up a video clip on the Dakota beliefs about after-life. The wrong answer in a problem on the number of warriors needed to fight off the enemy results in a video of your village being burnt down by the attackers.
We’re VERY different and deliberately so. As Tom Peters said,
You can’t increment your way to greatness.