Iconic TV Show The Dating Game Debuts On Facebook

by R.E.Curtice

The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s. When we heard that it was to be a game on Facebook we wanted to speak with the people behind this. Serena Proudfoot the Project Manager at Three G Studios in Reno was kind enough to sit down with us and explain the rollout of this game.

Can you give us some background on Three G?

It's a game development company that actually began in 2001 as BattleBorne Studios. They brought out the game "Combat Elite" on Playstation 2 a World War II game. In 2006 I actually started as a web developer for the studio in order to check out what the game business was all about. We worked on a game called SWAT: Target Liberty for the Play Station Portable. After that we licensed the Jillian Michaels franchise, working with another publisher. We eventually sold the rights for that after making a lot of money.

After that we released Brave Arms, described as a maniacally charming, 3D social shooter, on Facebook. It was a first person shooter and free to play. Actually we were pretty successful because on the first day we got about 35,000 users to sign up just for the test. Brave Arms never included monetization. The first-person "shooters' in the United States are more apt to be free as opposed to the "shooters" in Europe which are more apt to be a rental system. It was pretty much self-funded to test the waters. We're moving in from console to social space and we need something to test the waters. I was actually project manager on this project.

Give us some background on The Dating Game.

We tried to keep as much of the original show as possible. The show actually dates back to 1966 when it first came out. It had the concept of one contestant behind the wall and three panelists trying to win his or her heart. We pretty much have that in that we had people join in the game and create a cartoon avatar since no one actually knows your Facebook persona it's all in the avatar you create. It can be just like you or someone totally different, however you wish. Everyone gets in an we create gamespace on whether your friends are playing or whether you are playing with someone unknown. There is one contestant and they go through a series of questions, simple questions like what is your favorite color or what is your favorites animal? This is just to get them talking and the turnaround is the three panelists trying to win the heart of the contestant are asked the same question but with more of an innuendo, more like silly sexual. They are refined from the earlier shows but coming down to the same answers. For instance they could be asked if their favorite color is red. Then the innuendo question could be is the answer a beach towel and do you want to lay down on me? Then what color is the beach towel and you're coming to the same conclusion about the favorite color.

Basically there are three stages to the game. The first one is basic question and answer just as I described. The second is word association which is almost like you are sitting down with your psychiatrist and they're holding up flash cards asking for the first word that comes to mind. So you are comparing those two. And the third round is like Mad Libs, are you familiar with it at all? It's where you got a story and the first word that comes to mind. We call it Ad Libs. The contestant fills it out as do the panelists. So you end up with three different stories. From start to finish the computer actually computes the score based on how many similar answers the contestant has to the panelists. Another Perk in the game is that the panelists can send a virtual gift to the contestant like a puppy dog, yachts or Eiffel Tower, this kind of like a bribe with a note like "I didn't answer right but I still love you."

How do you win the game?

You can let the computer do all the calculations for you which means the panelist who answered the most questions right can be paired up with the contestant. The main contestant can end up sharing points with a certain panelist. So whoever has the most points at the end of a round gets snatched up.

How do you make money on this game?

First of all we have virtual gifting which means the panelists are going to have to spend some of their currency. Are you familiar with Farmville? It is almost the same system with every game has their virtual currency. We have points and hearts. The points are just little flower icons and the hearts are hearts. One of them is more valuable than the other. It is harder to obtain hearts but hearts have more elaborate uses, to obtain an Eiffel Tower for instance. Points are used to get you everything else. When you sign up you're given some hearts which is a thank you signing up and playing the game. But if you run out and still need to play you're going to have buy more currency. We also offer and avatar creator, character customization. That includes hair, styles, eyes, nose, mouth, eye ware, clothing and so forth so people can customize all these things. Certain ones are free, again another thank you for playing here's a free item. But if you want to get to the more fun stuff you're going to have to pay points and again if you don't have enough in your balance you're going to have to purchase virtual currency.

As far getting the game out to the world we're doing pretty well. We did a "soft launch" a few weeks ago, asking friends to play. We're hoping that in interviews with the press will also increase its viability. ||