Luke Wroblewski, a prominent web designer, shares Will Wright’s belief that games (and web sites) should allow people to succeed within the first five seconds. Both brilliant designers, Luke and Will are in the business of creating engaging conversations with people they’ve never met and, like all first conversations, it pays to gradually introduce yourself. Motion-Twin, the developer of MiniTroopers, shows a little social swagger with this friendly introduction that is all play. Name your army and select your first trooper…let’s have some fun.
Once you’re introduced your trooper is ready to kick some pixelated butt. The blinking “Go!” button is hard to miss and the combat itself can’t be fat fingered or Leeroyed; you’re just the cheerleader for a minute.
Ok, fine, that’s all great but where’s the game, right? What makes MiniTroopers a game rather than a toy is the decision making outside of combat. Once you’ve earned some coins you can purchase new troopers or upgrade your existing army. As your troopers advance you can also give more detailed instructions that will guide how they behave in combat.
What’s critical here is that the theme of limited, clear choices is carried through across all aspects. Rather than feeling underwhelmed, this lack of complexity puts the player in charge of the situation. Invite and empower your player immediately just by keeping it simple.