“Using an extensive, well-known and beloved platform, this project transforms function into play in a way that is clever, educational and entirely fun.” —juror Tali Krakowsky
“This is a simple, fun, easy-to-use and great-looking product demo designed as a game.” —juror Winston Binch
Overview:There is no better way to get people to use a site or service than making a game out of it. To encourage more people to interact with Google Maps, creative development company Hook created a game called Smarty Pins that uses the map service as the basis for a trivia and geography challenge. Players can choose from six different categories, from arts and culture to sports and entertainment, and answer questions by dragging a pin to the correct location on the map. Players begin with 1,000 miles, and their miles go up for answering questions quickly and correctly and go down for answering incorrectly.
• A total of 2,300 pieces of trivia content were written for the game.
• Since the game’s launch, nearly four million people have played, answering more than thirteen million questions, with an average engagement time of more than five minutes.
• Development of the game took nine months.
Comments by Hook:
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “Reducing the barrier for entry on mobile devices—enabling players to access, understand and replay the experience with minimal effort—was a key driving force. The entire game was also localized for English-speaking regions around the world, so players in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia were all challenged with unique, locally relevant cultural trivia.”
Are there any other technical features you'd like to call attention to? “With platform fragmentation, small screen sizes, low bandwidth and reduced processing power, achieving a polished game experience on mobile browsers is a significant challenge. The core feature of Smarty Pins is the highly polished implementation of the Google Maps API and toolset across all modern mobile devices. But we also incorporated the Google Maps API into a custom content management system to help create, edit and maintain thousands of trivia questions. Players were never exposed to this feature, but it helped the content development and quality assurance teams immensely.”