Probably the most successful gamification effort in government is expanding to new platforms.
The America's Army game, probably the most successful gamification project in the history of government, turns eleven-years old this year. One of the best recruiting tools in the Army's arsenal, there are plans for a sequel, America’s Army: Proving Grounds, to be launched later this year.
The game has been played by millions of people, and it has even won several awards from the game industry while going head to head against other massively multiplayer titles. And I can see why. It’s fun to play, yet it also teaches about Army life. More than once I've thought about joining up after a long play session, until my wife brought me back to reality.
To further broaden the audience, the game launched its own comic book spin-off as a free app for iOS and Android devices. The comics are somewhat interactive too, giving readers choices that highlight the goals and advantages of a career in the Army.
While the core game is mostly about action, the comic books, produced by Michael Barnett, written by M. Zachary Sherman and illustrated by Scott Brooks, often look into life on the home front. I think that is an area that is sometimes overlooked when considering a career in the Army, so it's great that the comics focus on it.
Now the comics are going big time, with a deal that puts them into the IDW publishing group, which means that they will soon be distributed on nearly every single mobile and computer platform in existence. That includes iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, Windows 8, the Web, Apple iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and Kobo. It’s another good example of an agency leveraging mobile computing for public outreach.
And the announcement of the IDW deal coincides with the release of four new America's Army Comics:
- America’s Army Issue 1: Knowledge is Power
- America’s Army Issue 2: Rise to the Challenge
- America’s Army Issue 3: Under a Watchful Eye
- America’s Army Issue 4: Escalation
Over the coming months, the Army will release new issues that further the plot for the game’s missions and maps. And now those comics will be available to a very wide audience.
Oh, and if anyone happens to be at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, M. Zachary Sherman and Scott Brooks will be signing special edition art and comics at the IDW booth.
I plan to enjoy the new comics on my mobile devices, and I'll be in line to grab the new game, too. I just hope I can keep away from the recruiting office this time.
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