Play to Pay

Play to Pay

"As the genre grows, it's getting too big for its advertising-based britches. Freelance ARG writer Brooke Thompson says, 'We're close to finding that Holy Grail of the self-sufficient alternate reality game, where instead of being tacked on to an advertising campaign, the game experience will be able to support sponsors.'"

Nova Barlow uncovers the truth about Alternate Reality Games.

Play to Pay

"However, in 2004, things changed. Powell and Williams launched a premium subscription service, which granted players several bonuses, along with a sponsored downloadable toolbar. At the same time, they introduced banner ads. (People who paid for the premium subscription didn't have to look at the ads.) The community rebelled at the broken promise, but the designers claimed the ads were necessary."

Christina Gonzales documents the commercialization of Neopets.

Play to Pay

"People are willing to get involved. They're willing to give up some of their time, even if it is branded, even if it has a marketing message, if it's fun. So they're paying attention. They're getting engaged in the experience, which is really powerful compared to banner ads or a TV spot."

Howard Wen speaks to Dan Ferguson, co-founder of Blockdot.

Play to Pay

"Super Chick Sisters is an homage to the Super Mario Bros. games, looking and playing a lot like Super Mario World. Players control either Nugget or Chickette, two plumber's-cap-wearing chicks that embark on a quest to save a missing Pamela Anderson, a vocal PETA supporter in real life. If you finish the game, Anderson becomes a playable character, in a full Princess Toadstool costume no less."

Chris LaVigne chronicles the adventures of PETA's Super Chick Sisters, on a mission to save Pamela Anderson and expose the cruel treatment of KFC's soon-to-be-fried chickens.

Play to Pay

"I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I probably spent as much time coordinating my outfit as I did learning how to pull off a Nollie Inward Heelflip. The sheer volume of products you can buy is mind boggling, especially when you consider that most (if not all) of the products featured are available for purchase with real money in actual stores. If, as the pundits have suggested, violent videogames allow troubled children to 'rehearse' aggressive and dangerous behavior, skate is providing sorely needed training for our nation's youth to navigate their local shopping malls."

Jordan Deam examines the advertising potential of EA's skate.