Viral Flash games are capable of driving massive amounts of traffic, and building brand awareness or collecting opt-in details. While the style of game will inevitably depend on the brand or product to be promoted, there are certainly some genres which are better suited than others.
Puzzle games, word games, driving games… in fact most genres can be made to work well as a viral game, but the most essential element is that of competition. High scores which can be posted to Facebook or Twitter updates encourage other people to play the game and attempt to beat their friend’s scores or achievements.
Another option, rather than using scores as the hook, is to use creativity. By allowing the player to create something which can be shown off to their friends it’s possible to create the same sort of lure to get their friends to play. From dressing up celebrities, to building snowmen, or painting cars, the idea is always the same – give the player the creative freedom to draw/build/create something which they can show their friends and encourage them to create their own.
A third method for hooking players and encouraging the viral spread of a game is to include some personalization. By allowing a player to add their friend’s names (or even profile photographs) to a game, it’s possible to massively increase the temptation for their friends to join in. Most people will be intrigued if they receive an email or social media message, personalized to them, inviting them to take part in a game that their friends have recommended.
So as you can see, the actual genre of a game is probably less important than making sure it includes elements which encourage sharing and competition. Certainly viral games should be kept simple, and appeal to as wide an audience as possible (within the target demographic) but rather than concentrating on genre, a better approach is to ensure that whatever genre is used, the game encourages viral spread.
Of all the kinds of games available online, horse racing ones are probably the most paradoxical. These games have that old familiar ring to it which makes you feel like you’ve always known and always played the game even if you have never actually played such a game. But of all the various games in this genre, one name stands out as better than the rest – Domino the Speed Defining colt.
It is, in a way, sad that most people who play this game are completely unaware of the history of the horse. Domino was no ordinary everyday horse used for pleasure riding; he was an American thoroughbred from the nineteenth century who was renowned in his time and later for his extraordinary speed. This speed had been inherited from his great-grandfather, Eclipse, another horse famed for his powerful legs. Since every great hero needs a hamartia, Domino had one too – he did not have much stamina. Over short distances, he was the terror of the racetrack, but if he was forced to gallop for miles on end he would tire out and give up pretty soon (quite a big disadvantage in the nineteenth century because most race tracks were at least two or more miles long). But this speedy steed has lived on past his day and become engrained in every horse race’s heart as the benchmark of speed.
While the bloodline of Domino carries on in the racetrack, one might think that his time has come to an end and he will eventually be forgotten and, if it were not for the internet that would be true! The old chestnut beast is still roaming the world in the form of an online game. Domino is one of the most popular names for various online horse racing games which have become more and more popular these days. Every few horse racing games online has a horse named Domino, and more often than not, they have no idea where this name came from. But, now having known this, such games should become that much more interesting. Most races will give you that one arch rival to give you a run for your money, just like Domino had Dobbin (his own personal arch rival). Since Domino already has a huge reputation in the real world, it is reasonable to thing that he can have the same in the virtual world, provided his jockey is experienced enough.
One thing many people seem to believe is that a horse race can only ever be about gambling and so come to these games with the intention of setting up some stakes. But this is not the reason why the virtual world has resurrected Domino. It’s not for the money, it is for the fun of guiding one of the greatest thoroughbreds of all time through a long course and actually making it out alive! There are plenty of elements to enjoy in such games as opposed to a car racing game. Give it a shot, you might actually like it.