It was a crisp fall day in Texas in the year 1999 when our team at NVision Design, high on the growing success of our game Frogapult, released another email forwardable game Elf Bowling. These were the days when you could still send .exe files via email, and the stats were incredible. With a 1mb size, we were sending terabytes of data per day that Christmas season. For years afterwards, I could ask people if they were familiar with Elf Bowling and literally 2 out of 3 would say they were. In fact, I believe I interviewed at LEGO asking the same question.
The success of the game, and the pure game development genius of my friend and co-worker, Matt Johnson inspired a fantastic follow-up.
During the dot com bubble bursting crazy, the gaming properties (under the brand name “NStorm”) were sold off to another company who made several follow-ups. On top of that, apparently they’ve made a movie this year too. That’s right, a movie based on foul-mouthed elves being used as bowling pins for Santa. If you’re asking “What the f….”, then you’re asking the right question.
When I stumbled across this brand new, $9.99 movie in the checkout aisle at Tom Thumb, it trigged one of my favorite mantras: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. The movie is horrendous and hardly seems worth the effort. Were the new NStorm owners so hard up for money that they felt they had to monetize every. last. drop. of all that is (or at least was) good about the Elf Bowling name?
A new mom recently told me that after seeing her toddler “dancing” every time a particular song came on the radio, she was looking into dance classes for her. The toddler. Classes.
Sometimes it’s better to just let things play out naturally. When we try to monetize absolutely everything for our own personal gain, it doesn’t seem like it tends to serve anyone involved worth a damn.