I am surprised that I haven’t seen this game, revived from my childhood to meet a new era in communication: Barcode Battler. The premise was that you’d take barcodes, scan then into a handheld gaming console and each barcode would give you a new character, weapon, or feature that you could use in your fights.
For a long time, I thought this would make a great social media game where each follower you received and each tweet you sent out would assist you in creating a superhero you could then fight against other people. Everyone one percent increase in your followers would give you a skill point you could assign to your character, and every tweet pushed through the site to your twitter feed would earn you ammo to use (ammo being everything from the number of physical attacks, to psychic attacks, to weapon attacks).
I saw it as an interactive social game, where the word of mouth would not only help introduce new people to the game, but also give “bonus points” to those that tweeted about it. Mention the game once a month and gain a random special power card that could be useful for your own character (bonus equipment, stat improvement, or ammo cache), or worth trading to a friend.
I thought it could be really fun and dynamic, and something that brands would love to be associated with. For example, imagine tweeting about a great sale that Best Buy has going on.
And in doing so, you receive a bionic eye in the game because Best Buy has partnered with the site.
Taking the whole thing from another direction, it could just be a more modern, direct conversion of the original game by just allowing people to use their smart phones to take pictures of barcodes that then unlock various items for their characters. I think this would be great because it requires people to get out of their house and reminds me a bit more of what the check-in services have done, but this would provide a reward beyond potentially being the “mayor” of a location. You could collect sets of specific gear from Coca-Cola which then as a set provides an extended “upgrade” to the wearer, making searching out products an important part of the overall game.
Companies could easily sponsor prizes for the top champion of the week, month or year to continue to create co-branding opportunities, ways to give back to the community that plays the game, expand the reach of the game, and build a marketable business brand for the creators of the game.
The potential is fairly large, and could be a boon both for the development company, if they can get people hooked to the game, as well as brands, if they can leverage the attention beyond just personal goals within the game.
I’ve always wanted to develop this idea, but just haven’t had the money, resources or knowledge to do so…