Girls Got Game: Marjorie M. Liu’s Tiger Eye to be Romance-Themed Game

First, there was Heartwild Solitaire. Then, there was the announcement of the soon-to-come Nora Roberts downloadable game, and Nora’s awesome quote about how girls like to blow stuff up, too. She’s got a point – the girl gamer is often missed in the peenoriffic marketing and production of games. And alert reader Regina sent me a link to this download game from Big Fish based on a Harlequin Presents novel.

Book CoverBut today marks the launch of a new gaming concept, and the release of a new romance-themed casual game. (NB: I admit, I totally had to look up what casual game meant, because I was wondering if the formal game required me to wear panty hose. Casual game, it turns out, is a game targeted toward those who aren’t serious gamers, and as a result is not super complex nor does it require a massive time commitment. In other words: this probably won’t intimidate me. I hope.)

PassionFruit Games is releasing Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box, based on Marjorie M. Liu’s Tiger Eye. According to Melissa Heidrich, Studio Director of PassionFruit Games, there’s a big market for casual games among women, who are drawn to them because of their offer of a brief escape – which echoes the reason many women pick up romance novels. For that reason, they created a game based on a romance novel.

The game will not feature explicit sex, but it does follow the storyline of the book, and offers Liu fans and curious readers and gamers “things that weren’t in the book and to search for hidden objects, play minigames, listen to a film quality soundtrack, and solve puzzles, all the while following the storyline as the main characters’ relationship deepens emotionally.”

From the press release:

Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box $6.99 standard package, which includes instant download of the gameís opening cinematic, ìDelaís Dream,î and a link to download the game when it releases in April.

Players will also have the option to choose the $9.99 premium package, which includes “Dela’s Dream” and a link to the game when it goes on-sale in April; but also features the MP3 of the Tiger Eye theme film-quality soundtrack; concept art of the male heart throb, Hari; exclusive wallpaper art; and a PDF of the official strategy guide.

For those who think that Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box will be the perfect gift for a loved one (or for themselves!), holiday e-cards are available at http://www.passionfruitgames.com.  The game will be available in both Mac and PC versions.

The game itself looks visually interesting if the screen cap I was sent is any indication. I also hear that a contest is in the works to choose beta testers from among romance readers – another smart move in reaching out beyond the normal romance reading boundaries to publicize a new opportunity.

So what do you think? Interested? Not so much? Do ou game casually, or wearing a tuxedo and pearls?

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  1. 1

    This is a cool idea! I’ll be curious to see if it takes off … I’m confident that the leaf-shaped sliver of overlap in the venn diagram for Romance Reader and Gamer is reasonably fertile, but you’ve got fans with high standards on both ends. It’s bound to be a challenge to meet both those sets of expectations.

    Personally, I only like games where nothing’s trying to hurt me and there’s no time limit (this is also why I didn’t advance beyond blue belt in Taekwondo), so perhaps this would work for me. It’d have to have puzzles hard enough to make my brain bleed, like the Rhem or Myst, though. The romance theme isn’t enough to tempt me if the content’s not up to snuff. Will Shortz trained me to accept only the very best when it comes to puzzling.

    All that said, I’m intrigued!

  2. 2

    I think this might be a good opportunity to note that I in fact work for a casual games company, Big Fish Games, and that we’ve got a thing going with Harlequin to release romance-themed games.

    Yesterday, we released Hidden Object of Desire. It even comes with a free novel.

    I haven’t played this one yet but I am absolutely going to. ;)

  3. 3
    Kristin says:

    Ooooh, I love Liu’s books and this game sounds great!  I think it is going on my must have list.

  4. 4
    Mireya says:

    I am in!  I have my own casual oriented kinship in Lord of the Rings Online, have played City of Heroes, Guild Wars, WoW and waiting now for Star Wars.  I am also TOTALLY hooked on Dragon Age and Farmville.

    I likes this.

  5. 5
    HelenK says:

    I love it. I downloaded and started to play the Big Fish game last night (Hidden Object of Desire) I played a few minutes (enjoyable!) before I had to put the creatures to bed, so when I came back I read the Free book that comes with the download (Sandra Marton’s Billionaire Prince, Pregnant Mistress) and I think that will make the whole game even more fun.

    (Unlike Anna, I don’t work for Big Fish – I just love casual games.) :)

  6. 6
    marley says:

    not much of a gamer as i find them too boring, though i think this book would make a good game because it had an interesting concept, which, in my opinion was mitigated by the writing, and the shallowness of the main character and story. perhaps veering off from the thory might make it interesting.
    oh, and ps, are you allowed to snark at the covers in the ads on the side of this website? because a certain man, or at least his very interesting christmas, er, tighty whities are starting to rather disturbing, especially with the animation.

  7. 7
    Mhlia says:

    I suspect I’d be right in their target market!  I’m not really a gamer, so the casual gaming aspect would be right on.  And I do enjoy Marjorie Liu’s books.  I’m intrigued!

  8. 8

    I love this idea!  I’ve been a Big Fish game club member for a while, mostly because I love the Mystery Case File games.  Ravenhurst sucked me in and Madame Fate sealed my love for those puzzle/story/hidden object games—ones that require thought and a discerning eye for success, rather than just fast reflexes. An interesting story line adds to the enjoyment.

    I’ve now turned on both my daughters to these games and they’ve spread the word among their friends.  I think there’s a tremendous, untapped female audience for this kind of game.  I hadn’t seen the Harlequin one yet, but I’m going right over… I’m pretty sure I have a couple of game credits built up.

  9. 9

    My sister is a director at Encore Games (I’ve worked on two games for them and am working on a third) and according to her, it’s correct in that woman are the majority of the “casual game” market.

    As for me, I fit the profile of a casual gamer and only play for fifteen…thirty minutes tops. I’ll download the game (assuming it has a trial) and see how it plays out.

    That said, I also play more lethal games (like Left4Dead) but still I only play for fifteen minutes at a time and never online with other gamers….who needs that stress!

  10. 10
    MaryK says:

    So I’m a casual gamer apparently.  I like puzzle games but don’t enjoy high adrenaline or even moderate adrenaline games.  This looks pretty cool; I hope it turns out well.

    I got an email this past week about the HP game, and I plan to buy it.

  11. 11
    veronica says:

    I wasn’t familiar with the casual gamer name either, but that sounds about right for me.  I have a wii and I only use it for brief spurts of time.  I’m going to check them out. Thanks for the info.

  12. 12
    Sharon says:

    I’m feeling compelled to comment because I’m not a casual gamer. :) I’ve been enjoying a variety of computer games since the early/mid 1980s—arcade games, text adventures / interactive fiction, 50+ hour RPGs with quests and dungeon crawls. No WoW for me, though I did try Guild Wars as a solo player for a while; online “interaction” is too much stress, as Sharron McClellan says.

    All that said, Tiger Eye as game sounds intriguing to me, too, and I’m mildly curious about the Hidden Object of Desire game that Anna the Piper linked. Thanks.

  13. 13
    Kara says:

    Casual Games…what a great concept. I think gearing games towards women is a fantastic idea. I love to play video games, but haven’t found any that spark my interest (all war games). So, I am definitely going to check out Big Fish and anxiously await to try out Marjorie Liu’s game!!

  14. 14
    Jan says:

    I’m an avid casual gamer and have been a Big Fish game club member for a couple of years. Can’t wait to try the new one linked to HQ Presents. I think the romance based games will be a big hit as long as they are carefully crafted and contain well done puzzles and hidden objects. The more the merrier!

  15. 15
    Katherine says:

    I thought these might be right up my alley being a long-time gamer and romance reader, but was greatly saddened to see the big fish downloadable games are WINDOWS ONLY.

    BTW, I do play WoW, and the interaction is usually the best part for me, but you can do a lot in it without much interacting with other players if that’s what you want. It can be distressingly addictive though :-)

  16. 16

    Katherine:

    Actually, we also have a shiny new Mac section on our site to highlight all the Mac games we have available. :) However, the Hidden Object of Desire game IS currently only for Windows. I don’t know yet if we’ll be releasing that on the Mac as well. Keep an eye on our Mac site at http://www.bigfishgames.com/mac.html to see if it’ll show up some time soon. A lot of the more prominent games we release do come out on the Mac platform, although they do lag behind the Windows releases.

  17. 17
    Katherine says:

    Oops, my bad. Big Fish does have Mac games, but the romance one featured above appears to be Windows only :-(

  18. 18
    Mary Meerkat says:

    First off I’m definitely a casual gamer.  When I read this I got so excited!!  I love hidden object games, and I am a huge fan of Mystery Case Files.  Also Nancy Drew Dossier which was awesome.  I found it even more fascinating that according to PassionFruit Games website they are the team that made Resorting to Danger.  I loved that game so I hope this is an indication of how good the Tiger Eye game could be!

    I went to Big Fish immediately after I read Anna’s comment and tried out Hidden Object of Desire.  I liked how it started but it didn’t feel very romantic at all.  The game wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped.  No offense Anna!

  19. 19
    Ash says:

    I’m a huge fan of both video games and Marjorie Liu (she’s the biggest hidden gem in the market, in my opinion) so I have to be careful of getting my hopes too high. The concept of a “casual gamer” was new to me (I’d love to see more women give games a chance) but I like where this is going. :)

  20. 20
    caligi says:

    “I think gearing games towards women is a fantastic idea. I love to play video games, but haven’t found any that spark my interest (all war games).”

    Oh gag me.

    How about SimCity, The Sims, Katamari, Mario, or Jet Set Radio? Those are all big name games without combat. I mean, the Sims is a juggernaut franchise that pretty much appeals only to women. These low-budget games Sarah mentions are not the first to appeal to women, not even close.

    SquareEnix considers how its characters will play with young women in their astronomically popular Final Fantasy series when they chose the lead character.

    The Wii has enjoyed its success entirely because of women. It certainly wasn’t on the basis of gaming power, since the Wii was barely a technical improvement over the GameCube. Their motion-based games appealed to casual gamers who don’t want/don’t have time to spend time learning to play games, i.e. moms.

    I played WoW with an awful lot of women, and I was a 5-6 night a week raider, pretty much the antithesis of casual. The games themselves appeal to women just fine, it’s just the marketing that ignores us. Kind of like professional sports.

    As for the story games mentioned: call me when we get a big-budget console RPG with a female lead with a well-developed romance arc, because THAT would be awesome. Final Fantasy often has romance, but the lead’s always male and the romance secondary. Close, though.

  21. 21
    joanneL says:

    I gave Heartwild Solitaire for Christmas.

    There’s something weird about that sentence.
    Anyway, I got the link here from SBTB, Derek was full of awesome in answering questions and it was easy to send (they take Paypal) and I think it has been a successful gift.

    Now my vote, again, for Nora to do an In Death game with things and people and droids that blow up. ‘Tis the season of Peace but whatever.

  22. 22

    Mary Meerkat, no worries and thank you for giving the game a try!

    Also as an FYI, I am told that we do have a Mac build on the way for Hidden Object of Desire. No release date yet but it is coming! :)

  23. 23
    Sharon says:

    @caligi: YES.
    Would you count Mass Effect re: character arcs? KOTOR tries to mix up romance a bit, too, but I can’t remember whether it was released for consoles as well (I’m mostly a PC gamer).

  24. 24
    caligi says:

    I haven’t played Mass Effect, so I couldn’t say. They released KOTOR on consoles, I own it on the old XBox, but I didn’t play that either.

    I was fondest of the oddball games – Katamari, ChibiRobo, Magic Pengel, Cooking Mama, Okami, Viewtiful Joe, etc. – though I do enjoy hack and slash on the PC, looking forward to Diablo 3, sometime in the next decade, and Japanese console rpgs – Suikoden, Skies of Arcadia, Final Fantasy.

    Oh man, if Square did a romance RPG? /swoon. Final Fantasy games are stylistically similar to Clockwork Heart, it’d hardly be much of a stretch. PNR would translate well to RPGs as well. I’d kill to play a valkyrie from the IAD series.

  25. 25
    EmilyW says:

    This could be an author’s dream I would think. A deal they could make separately from a publishing company on their backlist books, no? I’m assuming that Nora Roberts would have to share any money made on the game with her publishing company right?

  26. 26
    Kat Sheridan says:

    Oh, ACCCKK, there goes the Christmas budget! I’ve been a fan of hiddenb object games for ages, and particularly Big Fish games (I buy from Pogo.com and specifically look for Big Fish). I also got started by playing Mystery Case Files. This looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  27. 27
    Sharon says:

    Katamari, Chibi Robo, and Okami, definitely agreed. My faves of recentish games are Morrowind, Persona 4, and (for the DS) The World Ends with You.

    Something casual-gamer-compatible, I think, for all the rest of you reading these comments :) is the Phoenix Wright sequence for the Nintendo DS. Phoenix is a defense attorney who has to gather evidence for courtroom use. The legal setting is completely fictional and sometimes illogical, but the writing is pretty good and the problem-solving is not too easy, not too hard; each of the games is like having four or five novella-length interactive stories to read.

  28. 28
    jarant says:

    I’m a bit of a gamer. I was devoted to everything produced by Sierra when I was a kid, and I dabbled in World of Warcraft for a while. This sounds like a Kings Quest type game, and I would love that kind of experience again. This is a really clever concept, I’m interested in giving it a try.

  29. 29

    Oooh, Katamari is fantastic! I haven’t played it in three or four years but I still get its addictive J-pop tunes in my head from time to time.

  30. 30
    Aitch CS says:

    Hey! I think you two were featured in Bitch Magazine on-line, (and in print I guess.)  Is that correct?  I started reading Erotic Romance novels recently and am intrigued.
    Tried to find you on that website, I think I lucked out here.

    Love,
    Aitch

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