There have only been a few games made for Twitter, and they haven’t gotten far. There was the iPhone app, Tweet Defense, and before that, the re-release of the World of Blood games back in summer of 2009. Now, a group called Big Kitty Labs is taking a rather… different… approach to utilizing the social network in its new iPhone and Android game, Chump Dump!
Let’s face it, a wide margin of social networking users – be they Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter – have more friends than they can handle. Thousands. It’s because most social games create an added benefit to having more friends that play with you (e.g. Mafia Wars). But this smartphone app rewards the player for actually dropping those superfluous “friends.”
The game can be best described as a lottery type of game with a bit of user-generated content mixed in. When users log in, the app presents them with a daily lottery – a “winner,” as it were, among the user’s “friends.” Once they’ve been pulled up, Chump Dump! digs through about a month’s worth of tweets and activities this person has been up to. This includes information such as whether or not they follow the user, how many times they’ve replied to them, number of tweets, followers, and followies, etc.
From here, the player has two choices to make: Save or Dump! Should the user Dump the individual, they will earn a set amount of points, dubbed “Karma.” If they save them, they’ll still earn Karma, but it will be a lesser amount. Additionally, once a dumping has occurred, the player gets an opportunity to earn additional Karma by giving a reason.
This is, obviously, the user-generated element of the game, and comes off as amusing (some of the time). Granted, as with all user-generated content, a good deal of it is likely pretty lame, but a few reasons are pretty good. As of July 12th, in fact, Big Kitty Labs actually posted the Top 5 reasons, which includes “Dude, it’s my BOSS!” Yeah…. In most cases, that may not be a good one to keep.
Obviously, this is the premise behind the Chump Dump’s other major social mechanic: leaderboards. Really, that’s where the user’s drive in playing comes from. That said, there is the concern of getting fewer points if you save a person. What if said person is an actual friend? Moreover, with purchasable vouchers that let users Save or Dump more than one person a day, it’s easy to earn more points more quickly.
Regardless, while the concept is quite creative, it doesn’t seem entertaining enough to warrant the noted virtual goods purchases (thus the previous concern is more or less moot); which is why the iPhone app has advertisements and the Android version, ChumpDump Unlimited is $1.99.
If users do wish to earn extra points, for free, however, they can pick up dumped individuals in the form of “adoption.” Granted, it is a bit counterintuitive to the app’s overall premise, but the concept is kind of funny. It’s almost like a hall of shame.
In addition to adoption, Chump Dump! further enhances itself with the addition of badges (achievements). Like most mobile games to make use of this traditional social mechanic, they’re nothing terribly extravagant, but they do add a little something extra in the form of longevity and “bragging rights” as players earn them through methods such as Dumping, Saving, or Adopting a set number of individuals.
As simple as the game may be, Chump Dump! is certainly a wonderful addition for the iPhone if you have a bit too many “friends” on your Twitter account. It makes for a great means to clean things out a bit, and as a free app, it’s certainly worth a download. That said, it’s difficult to judge if the Android price tag is worth it or not. True, $2 isn’t a lot, but if you’re not heavy into Twitter, it’s hardly worth it. In the end, it’s a game with a few kinks, here and there, but one with a truly unique idea behind it. We look forward to what new developments come out of Big Kitty Labs, as well as what curious machinations will utilize Twitter, as a whole, in the future.