Recently, a couple of friends came over to our place, and one of them brought a new board game from work. It wasn’t merely a board game though. It was an “advergame”. Similar to the concept of an “advertorial” (advertising through editorial), this is advertising through a game.
What’s it advertising?
For those who don’t live in India, or who aren’t familiar with TV in India, SAB is an Indian TV channel. “That’s Tarak Mehta,” my husband pointed to the character on the bottom right corner of the game’s box when he saw it. Apparently, his comedy serial Ka Ulta Chashma (Glasses Back to Front) has been running for a very long time and is really popular.
Ah. I could see that the game was going to be totally lost on me. I didn’t recognise anyone! What’s more, I tend to find Indian comedy more ridiculous than amusing. I mean, a guy called Gadha Prasad who resembles a donkey, and is the servant to occupants of the Chidiya Ghar (Bird House) where each family member has the quality of an animal. Oh dear! Bird brain comes to mind along with bird house! Yet, this show is also apparently popular.
For the purpose of the game, all the popular SAB TV characters inhabit a city called SABurbia. The city needs a new mayor and the players compete for the position. They must bond with the characters and gain their goodwill.
Like many games, we had to roll the dice and move around the board, performing tasks, shopping at the mall, and going on detour amongst other things.
Although I didn’t expect too much from the game, parts of it did amuse me and were oh so relevant to life in India.
Extra Goodwill can be earned by gossiping over tea. There are also “checkpoints” for determining if you’re a “good” neighbour.
Extortion of money from co-players, overcharging them, and depleting their Goodwill is encouraged.
Oh, and of course… no water!