In Hollywood, they have something called the ‘high concept’ movie. Essentially, this describes a film that can be nicely summed up in one sentence.
Imagine if monkeys ruled the world: Planet of the Apes. A bomb on a bus will go off if the speed drops below 55 miles per hour: Speed.
Sometimes, high concept movies even refer back to other high concept movies. How to describe Alien? It’s Jaws in space!
These projects don’t always work out. Just because something is instantly understandable and sounds cool, doesn’t make it automatically good. But they do help from a marketing point of view. With high concept films, the consumer immediately ‘gets it’.
Can the same thing happen in apps? Of course, it can. In fact, it does all the time. And when it comes together, you have a huge hit on your hands.
There’s a perfect example in the news at the moment: DiffCat Game Studio’s Face Dance Challenge app.
How to describe it? Well, the website Mashable does a great job. It calls this gimmicky app ‘Dance Dance Revolution, but for your face’.
Back in the PlayStation era, Dance Dance Revolution challenged gamers to match their steps on a mat to the moving arrows on the screen against the beats of a pop song. In Face Dance Challenge, they match their facial expressions to moving emojis on the screen.
It’s simple, addictive, and ingenious. According to the Vietnamese developer, the app had reached number one in all app categories in seven countries, in the game category in 11 countries, and topped the music category in 39 countries.
One of the things that must have helped Dance Dance Revolution to succeed is the explosion of user-generated videos posted by fans. This is one of those gimmicky apps that users love to see other people playing. Watching people pull silly faces – but with seriousness – is irresistibly funny.
Could anyone watch this and not laugh?
And one or two of you might remember Pah. This was the ultimate high-concept gimmicky app. Here, users kept a rocket in the air by saying ‘aaaaaaaaaah’ and when they saw an asteroid they would shout ‘pah!’ to shoot it. Watching others play it was infectious. Even more so when they were motherly Chinese ladies.
Of course, the success of Face Dance Challenge might not last too long. It’s obviously one in a long line of explosively popular high concept apps that catches the public imagination. Remember Flappy Bird? Words With Friends? Draw Something?
But it does show that there are always new and insanely simple ideas out there if you think hard enough.