As India celebrated 75 years of Independence this August 15, one of the aims of the government had been to honour the struggle of unsung heroes of independence. Hence, in line with this year’s theme of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had launched two games in collaboration with Zynga back in August. Titled Azadi Quest: Match 3 Puzzle and Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat, the aim behind these applied games is to educate, entertain and engage not just the older generation but also the younger audiences. “These games are an effort to tap into the huge market of online gamers and to educate them through games. Azadi Quest is an effort to make this learning of this knowledge engaging and interactive,” Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister, Information and Broadcasting, told BrandWagon Online.
As per the team involved with the creation of these games, the idea was conceptualised during Dubai Expo 2022 in March wherein Thakur held informal meetings with various players in the gaming industry and floated the idea amongst them. It is believed that the government has been trying for sometime to launch a product or initiative which would allow it to reach out to older audiences and tap into the minds of the young audiences. The idea for the game was born post the Prime Minister’s address last year during Toycathon 2021, where he pointed out that ministries should make something with the freedom fighters to highlight their stories via both games and toys. Keeping this in mind, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting partnered with Zynga, an American game developer that runs social video game services, in May and the work commenced in June 2022.
From Concept to Delivery
According to industry experts, there are three key factors that go into the making of a game- infrastructure, content and value proposition (engagement level). Normally, it takes about seven to eight months to create and roll-out a game, with nearly 15-30 days set aside as buffer period. However, in this case, the aim was to roll out the games near around August 15. As per Zynga, the fact that the company already had in-house game developers, artists, game designers, and animators, went a long way towards enabling them to deliver the game on time.
Post this, comes the hurdle of content. For this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting worked in tandem with the Directorate of Publications Division (DPD) for the data collection. Due to the constraints of time and space, it was decided that the game will only cover the history that took place between 1857-1947. The final content was sent to Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) experts for vetting.
Furthermore, the ministry’s challenge resided in toning down huge historical data to a few words and presented in a form that is engaging and fun and not just educational. It is here that, Zynga’s team designed a game that engaged its audience by offering information as rewards, making it an engaging trivia game. “We wanted to develop the Azadi Quest: Match 3 and Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat games to encourage young players to learn about our country’s history while having fun,” Kishore Kichili, senior vice president, games and country head, Zynga India, stated.
Moreover, it was imperative that the game is available in regional languages as well. Hence, the game has been rolled out in not just English but also in Hindi. Currently, nearly 40% of players choose to play in Hindi. Going forward, the plan is to incorporate more regional languages for greater reach.
Launched this August, Azadi Quest: Match 3 currently has over 50,000 downloads on Google Play store. The game has 75 milestones, consisting of the most important milestones between 1857-1947. While currently, it has 495 levels and 75 cards, placed across the levels, the aim is to further enrich the content in future. What sets aside the game from others is the fact these 75 cards are presented to players as a reward for completing levels. As per the data provided by Zynga, the game sees a high engagement with over 20 levels per day attempted on an average. Furthermore, the game has five star rating on Apple App Store and 4.5 star rating on Google Play.
● Both, Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat and Azadi Quest: Match 3 puzzle, have been downloaded around 1 lakh times since its launch. Daily installation rate of both the games is more than a thousand downloads.
● With 5 star rating on Apple AppStore and 4.6 rating on Google Playstore, Azadi Quest: Match 3 puzzle has been installed more than 70,000 times on both the platforms.
● More than 35% players play this game in Hindi and approximately 2000 players play this game daily.
● With 4.7 ratings on Google playstore and 4.5 ratings on Apple Appstore, Heroes of Bharat has registered around 20K+ downloads on Android and Apple.
● More than 46% players play this game in Hindi. on an average, each player answers around 67 questions daily.
● Each player unlocks an average of 3.5 azadi veer cards each day.
As for the second game Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat, the game has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play and boasts a 4.9 rating on Google Play. Touted as a trivia game, this game was created with an intention to provide information as well as challenge players with different questions. It has 75 levels and every level has 10 questions. A user has to answer these questions and once cleared, the player will get an Azadi card of an unsung hero. According to Zynga, the game has seen a high engagement with players attempting 60 questions per day on an average. For Kichili, everyone on Zynga’s team came together to make this happen on a tight deadline. “It’s wonderful to see the reception the games have received.”
The rewards (Azadi cards) are shareable by the players on their social media. Moreover, at the end of the game, the player receives a completion certificate. The ministry also plans to highlight those players who have completed all the levels by giving them momentos, books, and bring them on air via Doordarshan.