Thursday, June 19, 2008

The many faces of Toad

Dear Fellow Toad-Gamers,

Ok, a couple of quick things and then it's back to coding. I want to make sure everyone hears about two programs we're starting, Referrals and Power Levels.

First, the referrals. It's pretty simple, for every ten people that you refer who sign up for an annual subscription, you get a one-year extension to your subscription. Easy, peasey, no fuss, no muss. We're going to make it simple to refer people by having an "Email to a friend" function. It'll send a coded link to the user that will keep track of the fact that you referred them. Rack up 10 and you're golden for 12 more fun-filled months. Send 100 like-minded individuals with the requisite cabbage our way and your entertainment needs are met until nearly 2020. Send a 1000 people and I personally guarantee that Dan and Chris will come to your house, stand on your front lawn and sing "Endless Love" while holding hands. Pure magic.

We're also going to open up the referral process to non-subscription members. So if you want a subscription and can't quite swing one, here's your chance to turn a bit of sweat equity into a bona-fide membership.

To qualify, the person you referred must sign up for a one-year membership. And this only applies to new members, no renewals. And in the event of a conflict over the referral with another member, you'll duke it out, Thunderdome-style. Chainsaws and chains, two go in, one comes out.

Wait a sec... What? We can't have people fight to the death? Really? Ok, Chris just said that we can't legally have members fight. So in the event of a dispute, the judges (us) will make some capricious and arbitrary decision. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.

And while you're feverishly combing your old high school year books for people your can refer, a curious thing is happening to your account. It's called Power Levels and it's the greatest thing since square plastic mayonnaise jars. Each confirmed referral also gives you a bump in your token multiplier. Everyone starts out at 1x. Play a game, earn 100 tokens and 100 tokens get dropped into your account. For every referral, that number will go up by .05. Play another game, earn 100 tokens and 105 tokens get dropped into your account. See the beauty? It's all about the math, we worked it out with NASA. They're going to use it on the space station, I think. Of course, it can't go on forever, that would be chaos. The Power Levels top out at 2x but by then you're racking up double what the hoi polloi is pulling down.

So there you have it, two more facets of that jewel we call Toad Games. Be there or be square. Until next time....


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The New Face of TG

Dear Fellow Toad-Gamers,

Behold the new mascot for Toad Games! Handsome devil, ain't he? He was brought to life by an old friend of ours, Ronnie Sampson. Ronnie and his wife run a design studio out in San Francisco, doing creative animation for children's learning software. Really nice stuff and they've got a whole shelf of awards to prove it.

I'm not sure why he's not wearing pants. I'm just going to imagine that he's got some short shorts on, covered by his sweater.

He needs a name, too. But before you start firing off can't-miss witticisms, give us a chance to get organized and set up a proper survey.

Once again I want to mention how grateful we are for the positive feedback regarding the direction that we're taking TG. Seven years is a long time to carry this site and there's just so much more we want to do with it. And to those few who insist that you're taking your "business" elsewhere when we start charging, so be it. We absolutely understand and hope that you find another online community that meets your needs for less than 15 cents a day. We'll still be here, growing and expanding, and ready to welcome you back whenever you're ready. To paraphrase Tom Bodett, we'll keep the servers on for ya. Until next time....


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Feel Purdy

Dear Fellow Toad-Gamers,

First, let me address the most pressing question in all of your minds, based on the responses we've received:

I am, in fact, a man. My middle name is Franklin, hence the nickname Lin. I am immensely flattered by the all the attention, however, and the new-found confidence you've given me should carry me right through the Speedo season.

Now on to more pressing issues. We've heard a few of you raise your voices in concern regarding the cost. And, not surprisingly, we heard even more of you raise your voices in asking how you can help those who may be less able to afford TG. Wow, even the most hardened, cynical, world-weary web-surfer would get a little misty over the responses.

So here's what we're thinking about doing. We don't have all of the details worked out but we want to create a sponsorship program. Those of you who want to help can sign up to be a sponsor. Those of you who need help can sign up to be sponsored. Sponsor + sponsee should equal a robust supply of good karma for all. Obviously there are a lot of issues to be worked out, privacy being one of the major concerns. Both sponsor and sponsee (is that even a word?) may or may not want to have their particular status known and we want to respect that. We may just have a Sponsor Hall of Fame and various perks for the sponsor's membership (tokens, new membership levels, NPR-style tote bags, who knows?) Stay tuned for more info.

One more thing about cost. I know we put a number out there last week. And it was a number that wasn't arrived at lightly. That being said, we're still willing to consider various tiers of memberships with various levels of features. We've also got to consider the 800-pound gorilla in the room whose name starts with "P" and ends with "O" and whose middle letters are "OG" and, well, you get the picture.

Next item: Family Memberships. Great idea and we're willing to put forth some effort to figure this out. We're pro-family in whatever incarnation you and yours have decided to configure yourselves in and we want to support that. It's also a grand opportunity for nafarious behavior and we don't want to get taken to the cleaners if the Dalton Gang takes a fancy to the online life. Once again, we're for it but we'll have to work out the details.

Next item: Token Transfers. Yes, it will happen. However, it may be a Warren Buffet-style stock swap where you may not get the same number of tokens in the new site as you had in the old. You may get less but they're worth more. Or you may get more but they're worth less. I advise you to continue playing TG with vigor and ignore the stock market. Too depressing these days anyway.

Regarding free trials and the like, please remember you'll still be able to play a lot of the games on TG for free even if you don't pony up the fifteen cents a day. However, you may have to sit through a sales pitch before playing each game, not unlike that "seminar" in the Poconos where they tried to get you to purchase a week in some moldy condo by the turnpike with a "mountain vista view", which, incidentally, was blocked by the dumpster. You also won't be able to accumulate tokens, chat on the forum, play the multi-player games or any of the other cool stuff we've got planned, like ToadKins (get it?), badges and awards, photo albums and personalized home pages, VIP access to new games, widgets, head to head challenges.....oh yes, my fellow toad-gamers, the things we have in store for you.....

Keep the comments coming! Until next time,