Staying in touch with old friends requires effort, not necessarily grueling effort, but effort nonetheless. Evidence? Attend a reunion and see the number of people that you genuinely care about but with whom you’ve not shared a single word for years. It doesn’t mean we don’t care and it doesn’t mean we’re lazy, it means we’re all busy getting on with our lives. They don’t call them reunions for nothing!
But there is something that I’ve discovered that’s doing the trick of keeping me surprisingly and happily connected and engaged with friends with whom I’d not otherwise be in close contact with, I’ve game-i-fied them with turn-based asynchronous games.
These games work because they are turn-based and rather than requiring that both players be on line at the same time, each player checks in to make a move when they can allowing busy people to enjoy gameplay at their own pace. Not only are these games keeping me in touch with friends with whom I’ve been out of touch with, but through the gameplay the games are reminding me and in some cases redefining for me, just who these wonderful folks are in the first place.
Game-i-fying our time together through games like ‘Words with Friends’, ‘Draw Me!’, ‘Scrabble’ or ‘Chess with Friends’ has been the secret sauce of our recent friend-reconnection.
The game is the thing!
The game provides a common activity with which to build other communication around. The fact that it’s on an iDevice enables us to play no matter where we are. The surprising thing is that In the spare communication that occurs through game play and in-game chat, we’re actually making a deeper connection’s than we think. Game play reveals the character of the opponent allowing each player to learn what makes the other other tick, a personality is expressed, a sense of humor communicated and a competitive streak revealed. These attributes, all byproducts of the game play, are what connects players socially, in deeper ways than they might have originally imagined.
So in-game communication isn’t about mundane things like our livelihoods and our families, we have long track records of NOT connecting on those subjects! This communication is mostly about the game at hand (the common shared activity that we’re experiencing). But what starts out as a lighter than air connection enables one to begin see a side of their friends that they might not have encountered before. The reason it works when other forms of communication flounder is that there’s no scheduling conflics. “How about Tuesday night?” “The fifth?” “I’m out of town that week.” etc. And there’s no big issues to wade into “how am I going to break the news that I have a family of 5 with his high school girlfriend!” Asynchronous games are played in our own time, when we want to and are able to engage – and allow for communication light enough to embrace and not too heavy to avoid.
With the huge migration from desktops and laptops to mobile devices, asynchronous game play is going to increase. The more mobile we all are the more our game plays happen at odd and impossible to schedule times.
Since connecting people through play is a big pillar of what makes Brandissimo! tick, we’re busy building in asynchronous gameplay into the NFLRUSH Zone. It’s a big pillar of our huge mobile make-over for the site. We’ve always had head-to-head challenges but now we’re adding in asynchronous game play so that players can play on their own time and always have a challenge game whenever they want. The idea that the NFLRUSH Zone plays no matter what!, is exemplified in this initiative. Moving forward we’ll be incorporating it into our game apps as well.