Gamester is an app that allows anyone to create a personalized game. It’s like Jib Jab but for Games. Users just take a photo of their face or of a friends and then select different options to customize their game. It’s that easy! Now they can play and share a game all about them or a friend!
In the winter of 2014, our friend Jackie asked us to make a game for her boyfriend to celebrate their anniversary. The game would feature them as the main characters and be customized to include their favorite animals, colors, music, etc. I thought it was such a cute idea that I found an artist and together we created the full game for free. On their anniversary, Jackie surprised her boyfriend with the game and he loved it. He played it for about 2 hours, determined to save his Princess Jackie in the game.
We showed the game to a few publishers, but they were more interested in publishing the game, but were more interested in hiring us to create games about their significant others, kids, and even pets. We realized there was an opportunity here, an untapped market of personalized games for consumers. There’s dozens of stories about Game Designers creating a personalized game to propose, but this isn’t something an every day consumer can do. So our solution to this was to build an app that allowed anyone to easily create a personalized game about someone they care about.
The first version of Gamester was build and demoed at several gaming expos to showcase it and promote a Kickstarter campaign we ran. At PAX East, we set up a mini game dev studio in a 10×10 booth where visitors could take a photo in front of professional lighting equipment, meet our artists to get drawn, and record their voice acting in a personal sound booth. We won first place during a competition at a PlaycraftingNYC expo in NYC and were flown out to San Francisco to demo the game at Casual Connect.
After a month of demoing the app, we raised about $12,000 for our Kickstarter, but it was short of the goal we set for ourselves. None the less, the adventure was well worth it because we had hundreds of players try out our demo and started to recognize patterns in user behavior. There was a consistent issue that people had- it took too long to get to the gameplay. Since then, we’ve iterated the design to improve usability and overall UX. The main restructuring focused on simplifying the user flow of making a game. It now only takes users an average of 15 seconds to get to gameplay instead of a previous 4 minutes. This had a huge impact on user satisfaction!