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How much thought do you put on your game's description?

Last post 5/10/2014 3:48 AM by Tarh Ik. 9 replies.
  • 2/6/2013 3:08 AM

    How much thought do you put on your game's description?


    I've read so many game descriptions for Xbox indie games that they seem to be the same thing over and over again. Very few times I have read a description for a game that actually intrigues me, but most of the time it's pretty much this template:

    [game name]
    [game name] is a [adjective] [genre] game where you [action] a [person or object] by [method of action] your [in game mcguffin]. [List features A, B, and C here] in this [adjective] [genre] game.


    Since the game's description is pretty much the equivalent of the back of a box, I decided to compare it with professional games. Turns out it's pretty much the same thing, however, the professional ones are better written. They are around the same amount of text we are given yet I was more intrigued to play those games than the majority of the Xbox indie games.

    Now not all of the descriptions are as I described above. I do read some descriptions that actually make me want to try out the game. One game was actually making fun of these descriptions but making up some nonsense that I actually found it humorous. So with all this, I'm asking, what process do you think of when coming up with a good description for your game?

    For me, I'm always incorporating some kind of story in my games so I always use that as a basis for my game's description. I'm not a fan of the descriptions that describe the game mechanics and over use of adjectives to try to sell my game (i.e. "exciting", "addicting", "incredible"). I do try to implement the game's mechanics as part of the story in the game's description but overall, I want the game story to be just as important as the gameplay and I try to reflect that.
  • 2/6/2013 4:45 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?

    I am not sure if it is me or in general, i usually don't read the game description, i just do 3 things.

    1- check box art, if it is nice i go to the detail page
    2- check sample game images / youtube or any other site game video , if i like i do #3
    3- download the trial game

    so by doing it, i skip the description and i get a nice surprise when i start playing, either for good or bad, but at least i know what the graphic experience will be from the start. Why I don't read the descriptions? well mostly all games fall into few categories and I really don't care about the the "nice" and "exciting" words, i prefer word of mouth from others since I know the game description will be the most exciting that the mkt dept will come up, so I don't trust that and just skip it. Give me the meat and I don't like to spend time looking for the condiments :p, that's what the trial is for or youtube videos.

    But there are people that read it, so it has to be the most appealing besides the box art before trying. Personally, I am not very good at that part, and maybe missed to look into it in more details so you gave me a few things to think about...

    And still I remember Ethel's icecream game, though I couldn't finish it during the test , so I don't know how your story ends :p
  • 2/7/2013 3:45 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?


    I never thought about people not reading the descriptions. I always do that for any game. Why? I don't know. I do look at videos, reviews, and all that stuff and yet I still read the descriptions of games from the publisher themselves.

    But in the case of Xbox indie, I do it because I want the developer to tell me what the game is about when I go to playtest/peer review a title. After looking at the title, and if the title interest me, I go to the description so I could read what the developer has to say about their game. Afterwards, I will look at the screenshots and possible video. Now the screenshots and video do show me about the game but the description tells me about the creator themselves. If the description reads something like this

    [game name] is a shooter game based on galaga. Shoot alot of enemies in space with your super gun. Get the high score and beat your friends' score as well. A really addicting shooter game.

    Then I'm going to think the person or persons involved with the game did not put any effort at all and are just trying to push a game out as fast as possible.

    However if they put something like this

    Inspired by the classic shooters you grew up with, it's [game name]. You think you've seen it all? Think again because the game starts out the same, but the further you go, the more insane it gets. This isn't your grandads shooter game. Compete with up to 4 players competitively or cooperate to reach the furthest, increase your weapons with over 10 power ups, and beware the bosses that may show up out of nowhere! Just when you think you've played them all, here comes [game name] to test your limits.


    then I'm going to think that they took an old formula but really tried to make something unique out of it. But again, I never thought people don't read descriptions but if there are people like me, then yes, there are people who read the descriptions, especially here on the developers side since there is no other info other than what the person post on the forums. But as I've said earlier, I want to see if the developer themselves is interested in their own game to give it a decent description to tell other people either "look at my game. It's so cool with this and that. Give it a try" or "this is my game. I made it. Try it please".
  • 2/7/2013 11:12 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?

    Toolkitz:

    ... I do read some descriptions that actually make me want to try out the game. One game was actually making fun of these descriptions but making up some nonsense that I actually found it humorous. So with all this, I'm asking, what process do you think of when coming up with a good description for your game?...

    I read somewhere about what marketing people call the 'Elevator Pitch'

    You need to be able to get people interested in your idea in the short time you have between floors when talking to someone in a lift.

    That's what I've tried to do with my description.

    Regards

    PS.  I mainly look at the screenshots of games though.  So many times the description is interesting, there's excellent box art but the execution is poor.
  • 5/2/2013 4:23 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?


         Hi Tookitz,

         In my opinion, every effort counts, so creating an interesting description is also paramount, whether the average audience reads it or not. Just like a resume, the description must match the targetted audience:
     * Puzzle games should have an enigmatic description,
     * Action games should have some violent comments,
     * Sports games should encourage competition,
     * Zombie games... well, everybody knows what those games are about.

         In my case, as an indie developer, I try to remark in the shortest way possible what makes my game different from all the other games. There are almost 3000 indie games in the channel, so I try to justify why the player should try mine. The average gamer doesn't like to read, so there is not much space to wiggle. It is a challenge.

         As a gamer, I look at the screenshots. If they look interesting, I read the description.

         By the way, as a personal note, I liked the description of "Ethel's Ice Cream" more than the one from "Chained Wings". It told me right-of-the-bat that the game was different from the average games in the marketplace.

         Just my two cents ^_^

         Best Regards,

         Tarh Ik



  • 5/2/2013 7:41 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?

    Hi,

    I would say description, screenshots and box art are all equally important elements to your game. First impression is everything and different people will look at different things. For example I would normally only select a game on the menu with an interesting and well made box cover, I will then go to the screenshots to check the graphics and try to get an idea of the game and then (because I am super fussy) I will quickly check the description to ensure its what I want I want to play. If impressed I will then download the trial.

    I do admit I am probably a little more fussy than most people but its important to realise that without the good boxart I wouldnt look at the screenshots or description, and with bad screenshots I wouldnt read the description :p

    Paul
  • 5/30/2013 6:22 PM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?

    In my case, not enough. I've never been great with words.

    However I do know that opening with your game's name is a bad idea seeing as though the name is already displayed in huge letters. Instead challenging/instructing the player to go play the game is often regarded as the best method.

    For example one of my games:
    "Invertical is a charming platform game with a unique puzzle twist where you invert your colour to find new routes" is just ... bleughh.
    "Can you find your way through this unique puzzle-platform game? Download it today!" is more engaging. Okay it doesn't tell the player a great deal but there will be screenshots, a video and then you can have a longer description afterwards.

    Thinking about it, I may have used something along the lines of the bleughh description. Explains those sales.


    Edit: Personal thing but avoid the word "addicting"...
  • 6/18/2013 6:21 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?

    Oxygen Addict:

    However I do know that opening with your game's name is a bad idea seeing as though the name is already displayed in huge letters.


    I'm surprised that this is the most common method people use to describe their games. It's really redundant to do that.

    Anyways, this post has been enlightening. It appears that when it comes to advertising your game on XBLIG, the description gets the least priority. I'll keep that in mind for my next project and concentrate on the box art and screenshots more.

    Tarh Ik:
         By the way, as a personal note, I liked the description of "Ethel's Ice Cream" more than the one from "Chained Wings". It told me right-of-the-bat that the game was different from the average games in the marketplace.


    That's ironic since I put more thought on CW's description while I just threw in whatever for the Ice Cream game. Then again, I put more thought into CW than the Ice Cream game and the Ice Cream one is more successful. The things I learn in XBLIG...
  • 6/18/2013 1:36 PM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?

    Hi Tookitz!!

         I hear you. I went through the same experience: I have two games where the second one is clearly better than the first one, in pretty much every aspect. However, when it comes to sales, the first one has sold tree times more than the second one, just because it's somewhat more original.

         Best Regards,

         Tarh Ik.

  • 5/10/2014 3:48 AM In reply to

    Re: How much thought do you put on your game's description?


        Hi Tookitz!!!

    Toolkitz:
    Tarh Ik:
         By the way, as a personal note, I liked the description of "Ethel's Ice Cream" more than the one from "Chained Wings". It told me right-of-the-bat that the game was different from the average games in the marketplace.



    http://writingsofmassdeduction.com/2014/05/08/day-1275-ethels-ice-cream-shop/

         Told ya! Congrats for the review!

         Tarh Ik.


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