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Mobile gaming: Game for the stars

Today you can download celebrities on your cell phone and help them win through all the trials and tribulations that mobile gaming firms put them through, writes Ruchira Hoon.

entertainment Updated: Sep 04, 2007 15:49 IST

Once, all you had was solitaire and tic tac toe. Today you can download celebrities on your cell phone and help them win through all the trials and tribulations that mobile gaming firms put them through.

Pick up that sword, grab your bow and arrow and lend the warrior princess a hand as she battles tribal warriors who invade her father's territory Sounds familiar?

No, this isn't Lara Croft we're talking about, it's our very own desi princess – Sameera Reddy and she can be downloaded right onto your cell phone.

Mobile gaming has taken a brand new turn as conceptualisers have begun to design more and more games based on Indian celebrities.

At first most of the games were based on films, but now iconic celebrity games are the flavour of the season. What's more, the icons are winning over not only gamers, but non-gamers as well. "I absolutely love celebrity games, they are fun to play and kind of give us a sneak peek into the personal lives of the celebs we adore," says marketing executive and avid gamer Keerat Jain.

"Whether it's an action packed game featuring Vin Diesel or Jean Claude Van Damme, or a cricket game featuring Sachin Tendulkar, I'd play them all."

Hot and sultry Priyanka Chopra, sexy siren Bipasha Basu, charming singer Shaan, tall, dark and handsome R Madhavan... you can download all these celebs on your cell phones and help them win through the trials and tribulations that gaming companies put them through.

Icons and more

Gaming companies like Mauj, mobile2win and Jump Games have all played a big part in the creation of celebrity games. Creating racier and edgier games that have huge selling power has become essential.

<b1>"Stars have their own aura that they extend into the games. We want to highlight this as well as their own attitudes," says Salil Bharghav, CEO, Jump Games. "So we always try and ensure that, when we create games based on stars, we recreate their attitude and persona correctly."

For example, AquaDiva, the game starring Malaika Arora Khan, is a water-based game on the lines of the international game, Bejeweled. AquaDiva features colourful sea creatures in stead of gems because that Malaika is a complete water baby .

"Gaming gave me a whole new medium to explore. I felt that it would be rather cool to have a game based on me," says model-cum-item girl Malaika. "When I was approached with the concept, I just felt that it had to be based in water since that's the one part of me my fans haven't seen."

Game, set and match
Celebrity games are a sure fire way to convert non-gamers into gamers. From thrilling arcade games to puzzles and action and adventure games, celeb games now come in many avatars.

"Bollywood has always fascinated me and I have collected all sorts of Bollywood-related mobile content including wallpapers and ring tones."

"Celebrity games are totally my cup of tea," says Sharad Kapoor, lawyer. "

And Bipasha is one of my favourite actresses so of course I must have her game."

According to Rajiv Hiranan dani, co-founder of mobile2win, celebrity games are meant to attract the attention of gamers to the full extent that the celeb him self or herself appeals to the audience.



"Every time we cre ate a new game, our challenge is to attract more enthusiasts and it doesn't matter if they are novice gamers or not. As long as the game is good, the reach will be that much wider," he says.



"I believe that as long as we use the right celebrity for the right kind of game, the game will do phenomenally well." One of the games that has done particularly well is

Bappi Da Disco King

, where a cartoon version of the music composer Bappi Lahiri has lost all his jewellery and goes on a hunt



The difficulty levels also increase according to how well you score. Says Advait Goregaonkar, assistant manager, Art and Animation, Jump Games: "As per the story line, we built the difficulty level and even decide on what kind of an image we want for the celeb. For example we decided to do a caricature of Bappi Lahiri while we kept a live picture of Sameera Reddy ."

He adds that they have to create different versions of the game so that they can be compatible with the various kinds of handsets.

"Every time we launch a new game, we give a list of handsets that it is compatible with and the format it needs to be downloaded in. In fact, people who are new to the world of mobile gaming can check with their service providers for more help," he says.

Starry Starry price
How do companies gauge whether a game has done well? Simple. By the number of times the game has been downloaded. For example, the highest grosser for mobile2win.com was the game based on Sholay.

"On GSM phones, Sholay was downloaded 1,40,000 times and on CDMA phones 800,000 times. It created record sales and is still one of the most frequently downloaded games. The Rang De Basanti game was downloaded over 25,000 times," says Rajiv Hiranandani.

<b3>The games are priced between Rs 2 and Rs 5 (only available on CDMA phones) for pay per play and between Rs 18 and Rs 50 for downloads. For games with very popular stars, the price can rise up to Rs 99 for downloads as well. Reliance Communications, who are pioneers in mobile and gaming industry, are the most well-known service providers for these games.

"We've tried to bridge the gap between those who want to play the game just once and those who like it enough to download it, and so we cater to both," says Mahesh Prasad, president, application, solutions and content. "The unique prices of pay per play or per session actually gives a value addition to the customer."

So, don't sit there and imagine the gorgeous Bipasha Basu splashing away in a wetsuit. Press that button and download her onto your phone.