OMGPOP is a casual gaming and social networking site. We’ve previously written about meta games and gamified gaming, but OMGPOP deserves a little more atttention. The premise is simple: play games, earn coins. Use those coins to customize your profile, in-game characters and environments, earn coins by reading mailing list, winning games, answering survey questions and watching video clips while you queue. Bonus coin giveaways occur pretty frequently, and free gifts are often given away on the homepage. Earn XP from playing to gain different levels of status and unlock additional features on the site. If you make it to the Star level (which either requires paying for access or getting to player level 100) you gain full site access which includes playing games that are still in beta.
Choose from about 20 games that are reminiscent (and often down right ripped from) classics. Balloono, Dinglepop, Blockles, Booyah? Think Bomberman, Bust-A-Move, Tetris and Uno. There’s also pool, checkers, even a typing based game! Each of these games is easy to play right away. The controls are basic, many games you already know and in case you need it, each one has a “how to play” slide show in the lobby. Your favorite and most recently played games will get pulled to the front of your welcome screen. Unlock achievement badges during game play and earn medals when you win – each game has its own lobby, set of achievements, special items and customizable features.
Once you fall in love with a game, the high level of customization is even more appealing. Not only are you likely to burn through your free coins, you’ll probably be willing to pay for more or watch a series of ad videos to keep earning. The store is jam packed with avatar accessories, profile decorations, and in-game items. Buying t-shirts with cash earns you more coins. The maddening cycle could go on forever! Many items are very expensive in terms of coinage, so play often and stock up!
OMGPOP is also intended as a place to meet friends. Log in with Facebook, invite friends, make new friends and give free XP to help your friends level up. A leaderboard amongst your friends is kept for each individual game and the front page let’s you know who is currently playing what. Each game room has its own chat log while you wait for the game to start and players at level 5 can unlock a site-wide chat window. However, for a site with so many chances to interact, most people don’t use them. The majority of people seem to want to get in, kick butt and move on to the next round. No chit chat, no messing about. Maybe OMGPOP should add more incentives to socialize, like a bonus in XP or coins for having a certain number of friends or chatting. Why would players work to unlock additional chat functions, if they don’t use the ones they already have?
All minor issues aside, OMGPOP is an all-inclusive gaming hub that appeals to an extremely wide demographic. The site is brilliantly choreographed to keep you playing for extended periods and coming back again and again. In fact, I wonder if I can squeeze in a round of Balloono this afternoon…