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10Nov/11

TwinKomplex: A New Genre of Social Games?

By Sebastian Sujka

Despite the enormous success of social games, mainstream media criticizes the lack of creativity. One of the reasons might be the overwhelming number of farming games that came along with the initial boom. A game that certainly cannot be blamed for the lack of creativity is TwinKomplex. The game has been produced for over a year now in and about one million euros has been spent on it.

The game was created in Berlin by virtual economy expert Dr. Martin Burckhardt and the company Ludic Philosophy. TwinKomplex is a project that received widespread coverage in the media. The game gained a lot of attention by working with local actors and keeping the fundamental gameplay a secret.  In total, 22 artists are working on the project, including five authors to write the complex plot story. TwinKomplex was advertised as what it is not. It was referred to as “not a game”, “not a book”, “not a movie” or “not a graphic novel”. Recently, Ludic Philosophy declared that TwinKomplex is a social game.

We can conclude with certainty that TwinKomplex is a game. The idea like this: The player starts as a secret service member who is trusted with the mission to solve a mysterious case with a group of three other unknown players. The groups of four receive a set of clues. Depending on how these clues are used the outcomes vary. It is impossible to narrate the plot of the game as the outcomes depend on the individual group. The set of actors, writers and other artists moderate the different groups of agents and provide them with reading material, video sequences or complex personality test to fulfill their mission.

TwinKomplex intends to bring the player in a position where the differences between game and reality becomes blurry. To do so the player is provided with a set of real maps or video sequences that have to be used to solve the case. To make it harder, the player is never sure if he interacts with the other three players, with actors of if he receives a fake message.

TwinKomplex is played in a browser but uses Facebook to post messages or to invite friends. Currently it is only possible to play with strangers but according to the company it will be made possible to play with friends – for a certain fee. TwinKomplex will be financed with the sale of virtual goods. Due to the complexity of the game the monetization is ambitious: Ludic Philosophy wants 10% of their aimed for 100.000 users to pay 3-10 Euros a month for virtual goods. The game will launch on Monday next week and will be available on every browser – initially only in German and English.

It is hard to say if TwinKomplex is a social game. It is not directly played on a social network but utilized the social graph. Due to the complexity and individual groups of players that need to be moderated, the game is certainly not made for a mass audience. As we are stuck without a widely accepted definition of social games, this will be up to debate.  TwinKomplex, however, is certainly innovative and an interesting game concept with following.

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