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Main Content => General Discussion => Topic started by: Gar on February 08, 2011, 09:26:23 AM

Title: Gimmicks
Post by: Gar on February 08, 2011, 09:26:23 AM
A while ago I introduced a little minigame into my comic. It started when I did a week of filler strips featuring a character called Bummy. He's a little simply-drawn dude with a massive ass. It ran for a week and was completely pointless, and my friend (now co-writer) Keith hated it.

So I started drawing him into the background of the main strip from time to time to bug Keith just for fun.

And then at the start of the current act, I started drawing him into the background of every single comic.

Eventually someone spotted him and I revealed the game, and there was a little rush of comments activity where people went back through the comic looking for Bummy. It's become a really well-liked feature of the site. If there's a subtle Bummy (or more than one) in a strip, people like looking for him and being the first one to point him out.

I'm sure something like this has been done before, but it's a fun little extra feature that generates comments activity and encourages people to look at the artwork and go back through the archive.

Does anyone else have additional hooks, minigames or easter eggs hidden in their comics?
Title: Re: Gimmicks
Post by: Rob on February 10, 2011, 12:35:10 PM
We don't but after seeing your audience's reaction to Bummy awhile back I considered it. I'm still considering it.  ;)
Title: Re: Gimmicks
Post by: Funderbunk on February 10, 2011, 01:21:10 PM
I know that in the early days of Questionable Content, their community was often preoccupied with trying to figure out the menu changes on the coffee shop. That's about as close a thing I can remember.
Title: Re: Gimmicks
Post by: ShadowsMyst on February 18, 2011, 04:50:49 PM
I think having a little interactive gimmic isn't a bad thing. It engages readers to look more closely, or read the archives. People tend to stick around longer and become invested if they've got something to stave off boredom and this bummy thing seems to have a kinda 'where's waldo'ish like appeal.

I'd say to go for it and think of other ways to use him in this capacity to keep readers engaged with your site.
Title: Re: Gimmicks
Post by: Rob on February 18, 2011, 11:30:38 PM
I've been giving this some more thought lately since you wrote this post Gar and it occurred to me that I get more comments when I title my comics or alt text my comics with something that is blatantly pop culture related. I'm not suggesting that's a good gimmick... it's just something I noticed. The more creative I was in titling and alt texting the better my comment numbers were. And the comments tended to be exclusively related to the title or alt text.

So in summation... I think the gimmick gives the audience permission, if you will, to join in. It's something that everyone can talk about... a safe subject of interested to parties involved. It's rather fascinating. Because I really do think it plays into the psychology of the reader. They don't have to be worried about asking a dumb question or seeming silly they can just talk about whatever the gimmick is and it gets the conversation rolling.

I may have to give this some serious thought after I end this storyline.

I mean, it's more than just like "spotting the playboy bunny" on the cover of the magazine. This is a conversation starter which in turn adds a sense of community to the people discussing it.

I think I'm on board.

Now I just have to consider what a good gimmick would be. 
Title: Re: Gimmicks
Post by: Gar on February 21, 2011, 05:04:26 AM
I think you're on to something there Rob, the gimmick's kind of like talking about the weather. It doesn't have much to do with anything, but everybody knows it's there. There's the most Bummy conversation on days where the game is particularly difficult, or where I've got him performing some sort of background action. So far everyone's been on board with not giving away the solution when there's an "I can't find Bummy" comment, they just give hints. The Nekophiles are a good little community, I kinda wish I had a better name for them :P

Gimmicks belong more in the art than in the writing, so you should talk to Corey about it. Off the top of my head, a repeated incidental detail you could start using almost immediately would be Remedy's monkey wrench. Maybe have Ash stick some googly eyes on it and give it a name so people identify with it, then keep showing it in the background propping open doors or on shelves or something when it's not in use. Arthur's a thoroughly practical bastard, so he'd have a million uses for a monkey wrench.