A Unified GAME.minder experience, at last!

GAME.minder 2.5 has just been released to the App Store and it's a big one. The most important change is that there is no longer any distinction between Web/Android users and iOS users. Sign in with your GAMEminder.com account anywhere, starting today! But this is just the first step in a pretty major update that will be occurring in stages over the fall. You can grab the 2.5 update now, but if you'd like more info about the coming changes, read on...

Humble Beginnings

GAME.minder first launched almost 2 years ago, in October 2010. The concept was pretty simple - we wanted a way to easily keep track of the constantly moving target of video game release dates. We fancied GAME.minder as a simple utility app with 2 pieces. The first was the app itself, running natively on iOS and the second was a server component where all the magic happened. 

This system was designed in association with a student think-tank of sorts at Case Western Reserve University called the Qube Lab. It was very uni-directional in that the server component gathered and stored all the info and gamers tracked games but had very little input into the process. Over the next year, we expanded the reporting options and added what we called the "Meta-Game".

During this year, there was one question we were getting more than any other - can I get it for Android?

Beyond the walled garden

So we set about trying to decide the best way to break the GAME.minder experience out of iOS. Should we go native on Android? Should we try something like PhoneGap? Sprinkled throughout the Android requests were enough Windows Phone requests and desktop requests that we were swayed to the idea of making a mobile web experience that could keep everyone happy.

However, a web experience required something we didn't have yet on iOS - a user system. It was at this moment that we began thinking about GAME.minder as more than just a utility (more on that later). So we took the existing backend, bolted a user system onto it, added a web front end in jQuery Mobile and called it a day. With this system, we went to GDC and hoped to set the gaming world on fire.

This taught us one thing more than any other - there's a reason people like apps. After a few months, we realized that, while having a mobile web experience is important, it doesn't take the place of a downloadable app experience. While we began planning a truly first class Android experience, we released a PhoneGap version of the website so Android users could at least begin participating.

It's all about the network

iOS users, Android users, Windows Phone users and web users - GAME.minder was starting to hit its stride. And while that was happening, we were doing some heavy thinking about what the next big movement of the GAME.minder symphony would look like. GAME.minder 2.5 for iOS is just the first step in the grand unified theory of Game-Mindering. So what is our vision, and how will we get there?

There are many moving pieces in the GAME.minder constellation, and more are on the way. Right now we have:

  • GAMEminder.com - the backend system that runs the whole show
  • GAMEminder.com - the web frontend that you see when you visit
  • GAME.minder for iOS - Native iOS app that accesses gameminder.com
  • GAME.minder for Android - GAMEminder.com, wrapped in an Android app wrapper

As of this update to GAME.minder for iOS, we've finally begun the process of unifying all GAME.minder gamers on a single system and we're doing so for a couple reasons:

  1. We have big plans for GAME.minder moving forward
  2. We're working on some of these plans as we speak
  3. These plans only really work if we can migrate everyone forward together

Without going too far down the rabbit hole (and while still saving some surprises), here's what's coming this fall:

- A far more robust reporting system. Ask yourself this question - Instead of reporting a game for having the wrong date, what if you could just change it yourself (à la Wikipedia)?

- International Date support (yes, finally). If you live outside North America and want to track dates only in your region, soon you will be able to do just that.

News and information. Wouldn't it be great if you could see a feed of news and articles about your games right in GAME.minder?

I hope that whets your appetite 'cause that's all we're willing to let out of the bag for now. But rest assured that we've been listening to all your great feedback. GAME.minder is becoming a much bigger idea than just a simple utility to remember video game release dates, even if that will always be its central pillar. So stick with us through the fall to see all the great stuff we have in store and most importantly, DON'T FORGET TO PLAY!

Posted on September 10, 2012 .