Kwanzoo’s Sponsored Quiz Widgets – WhatTheyPlay

The problem with banner or display ads is that visitors to a site have trained themselves not to pay attention to them. Why would they? The ads don’t do anything except take up space.

We’ve recently introduced a quiz-based solution to appeal to publishers and readers alike. For an example, head over to WhatTheyPlay.com, a site devoted to informing parents about the world of video games and what’s appropriate for their kids. Check the bottom right of the front page. Look closely, and you’ll see a familiar logo.

WhatTheyPlay is running sponsored quizzes, powered by Kwanzoo. Right now, for instance, the space is being sponsored by Walt Disney Home Entertainment, with 10-question quizzes on things like Hannah Montana and High School Musical.

How’s it working? Pretty well, so far. During their initial one-week trial, WhatTheyPlay found that their click-throughs increased up to ten times what they’d seen with display ads.

Having dabbled in online advertising a little myself, I can tell you that’s huge. WhatTheyPlay thought so too, and they’ve signed on for a one-year subscription to our service.

Since the WhatTheyPlay trial, we’ve been expanding the quiz widget idea, with more types coming soon. You’ll find a free version available now to engage readers on your own site or even spice up a profile page. You may have seen them embedded in our Kwanzoo blog posts for some time now, but here’s an example.

We’re also working with other partners to provide similar subscription services integrated with the publisher’s ad platforms and networks. Very soon, we will be coming up with ways to serve ads within our quiz widgets, along with revenue sharing for bloggers and publishers.

WhatTheyPlay is writing their own trivia for their quizzes along with photos and images. Kwanzoo takes care of the hosting and serving and provides all the tracking metrics. Other Kwanzoo partners have access to the library of over 50,000 tagged trivia questions that our writers have been building.

You can also take a look at our publisher overview page and grab a free quiz widget to try on your site. You can track the click-through rates from your “My Widgets” page.

If you’d like to try the version with ads integrated, let us know and we’ll notify you when we roll those out.

Halo 3: Recon Becomes Halo 3: ODST For Some Reason, Has Nathan Fillion

Ok, so remember how Bungie made a big deal of rolling out their newest project, Halo 3: Recon? It’s not called that anymore. Now it’s Halo 3: ODST.

“Stay tuned to Bungie.net in the coming weeks and months for development updates and new details on our latest project,” says the website. “In the meantime, please remove ‘Halo 3 : Recon’ from your memory banks and replace it with ‘Halo 3 : ODST.’”

I guess that’s one way to do it, changing the name of your project after you do your huge initial PR push, replacing a straightforward subtitle with one that’s meaningless to all but your most committed fans. (ODST stands for “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper,” by the way.)

The news of the name change came too late for the magazine GameInformer, which arrived in the mailbox today with the title “Halo 3 Recon: World Exclusive Details Straight From Bungie.”

The article did have several interesting tidbits in it, however. Foremost among them, at least for me, was the news that Nathan Fillion will be playing the squad leader that your rookie character belongs to. You may be familiar with Mr. Fillion from such roles as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly and Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. If you’re not, I don’t want to know you.

Gears of War Meets the Real World

As any responsible owner of guns knows, there’s some basic safety procedures to follow when handling a firearm. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire. Don’t point the gun at your friends.

Thanks to YouTube user “pfcthiel”, we can add some more rules: “Do not put a Gears of War-style electric chainsaw bayonet on a working rifle” and “Do not use said chainsaw bayonet to awkwardly chase a pumpkin around.” Video after the jump.

Dude, you are going to kill yourself with that thing.

I saw this on Kotaku, but the videos are posted in a thread in AR15.com.

The device is actually billed as a “firearm mounted anti zombie device” rather than a Gears of War knockoff. When another poster wonders aloud whether the Gears bayonets are gas-powered, the creator replies:

I don’t know I never played the game.

But mine is more stealthy if that’s the case.

Stealth is relative for chainsaws, I guess.

Still, watching this video, you realize just what a horrible idea the Gears of War Lancers would be in practice. Soldiers would be cutting their own legs off left and right. I’ll stick with the Nerf version, thanks.

Black Mesa Trailer Teaser

There’s a fan remake of the original Half Life underway, going by the name Black Mesa. The site for the mod is utterly blitzed under the traffic, but here’s the trailer they just put out.

Tell me that doesn’t look pretty sweet, eh?

You may be thinking there was something similar already released. It’s true that the original Half-Life was re-released under the modern Source engine, but aside from a few minor special effects facelifts, the game looks more or less the same, using as it does the same models and textures as the old one.

As you can tell from the trailer, this is a remake from the ground up. The dialog has been re-recorded, clearly. My goodness, the scientists don’t all have the same four heads now! Some of them are women, even!

Look at the attention to detail on the blind tentacle bursting through the test fire room, bending and breaking railings as it goes. That’s the definitive moment of Half Life, recreated beautifully.

The mod is supposed to be out sometime in 2009, and would work for anyone with a regular Source game already installed, like Counter-Strike: Source, Half Life 2 or Team Fortress 2.

Until the site is back up, you might still be able to glean some information out of the forums or this interview at Planet Half-Life.