Through game play and level building, viewers shaped the narrative of YTV’s In Real Life, a series where kids compete at “real life” jobs like flying planes and performing surgery. Kids virtually voted to bring back their favourite on-air competitors, known as challengers, for a webisode after the show finale. They racked up game points for them by playing on their behalf. The two challengers with the most points returned for an ultra-daredevil skydiving webisode.
The producers of In Real Life approached us to come up with an interactive property for the second season of their popular reality TV series. During the first season, they discovered In Real Life is a highly aspirational show. Kids at home wished they could participate, and they received lots of feedback from fans wanting certain challengers to come back after elimination.
Keeping in mind audience feedback and research showing tweens spend most of their time online playing games, we devised the 3D Flash game, Race to the Finish, for users to help influence a final webisode.
Inspired by DS-style console games kids love, the game has an avatar creator, a custom level building engine, a show character selector, in-game tutorials, a playable mini-game preloader and six unique game levels with their own songs and matte paintings. Weekly game objects and backgrounds were released and promoted on the show, creating an automatic push and pull of viewers and traffic from the show to the site. During game play, kids earned points and badges based on effort level – and even more points if they created their own game levels using the custom level creator.
The result of the skydiving webisode was an underdog win for Tristen, eliminated in Episode 2 of the show. It fulfilled the theory kids would engage if they could bring back a challenger who was strong, yet eliminated early on.
Listening to viewer feedback paid off. The site was an audience hit, doing incredible numbers of over 3.5 million page views in just 6 months. Race to the Finish was one of YTV’s Top 3 most played games, and kids spent an average of over 25 minutes playing and building levels on weekends. Kids built over 250 levels on the first day of launch and over 10,000 throughout the season.
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Number of game levels: Over 10,000 levels built; 250 built on launch day
|Webby Awards & Nominations|
|2011 Television (Honoree)||YTV, Apartment 11 Productions, Bell Fund, CMF|
|FITC Awards & Nominations|
|2011 3D Flash (Nominee)||YTV, Apartment 11 Productions, Bell Fund, CMF|
|Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence Awards & Nominations|
|2011 Best Convergent Interactive Content (Nominee)||YTV, Apartment 11 Productions, Bell Fund, CMF|
|Creativity International Awards & Nominations|
|2011 Web Games & Entertainment (Honorable Mention)||YTV, Apartment 11 Productions, Bell Fund, CMF|