In a week of frenzied game release activity, Tag Games announced the first title to come through its partnership with Channel 4. Come Dine With Me is the insanely popular cooking programme which challenges four ‘normal’ members of the public (or occasionally celebrities) to hold dinner parties for each other. The guests then rate their host’s cooking, decor, entertainment, taste, manners, pets, children and personalities.
It makes for fascinating viewing, especially when accompanied by the voice overs from series narrator Dave Lamb, who’s pithy put downs and wry observations add much to a main course of Mini Kievs, Potato Waffles and carrots out of a tin (which is what we’d do for the ungrateful swine if they ever came to dinner at SGHQ).
Unusually, Tag’s new release is not a game based around the programme, but an actual practical App. We caught up with Paul Farley, shortly before he boarded a plane to London, to find out more.
[SG.net] What does the Come Dine With Me App actually do?
[Paul Farley] Well it’s basically a pocket-sized dinner party planner. You can schedule your party, invite guests from your contact lists, publicise the event via Facebook, Tweet about it – and much more. We’ve included 100 recipes and Hardy’s have supplied an extensive database of wines, so there are plenty of culinary ideas for even the worst cook! To top it off on the day of your party you can record the memories using the iPhone camera and then your guests award you points. It’s all the meaty goodness of the TV show – in an app. Oh did we forget the Dave Lamb soundboard? That’s probably the most popular part of the app, allowing the user to bring all of Dave’s most witty quips into their home. Meal times will never be the same again!
[SG] Why did you create an actual planning app, rather than a game?
[PF] Much of the creative direction was the combination of Channel 4 and ourselves sitting down with no pre-conceptions and weighing up the best available option for the brand. As a team Tag is experienced in non-games as well, so forcing a game concept out of a property as rich and popular as Come Dine With Me, where a more practical app works best, seemed to be a bad idea. We do have ideas for a CDWM game though, but you’ll need to wait and see on that one!
[SG] Is Channel 4 going to be actively promoting the app?
[PF] Yes Channel 4 have already used the Come Dine With Me following on Facebook, Twitter and the web to promote the app. TV features are coming we believe, along with Hardy’s running in-store promotions on some of their wine ranges.
[SG]Do you think the traditional media companies are beginning to realise the value of the various App stores and markets?
[PF] Absolutely! So much so that shortly we will be announcing a new business direction for Tag Games, that will service this interest! The fact is that right now no media company can afford not to have a mobile app supporting their brand or property. Tag is here to help and given its extensive app and games experience, offers a number of advantages over traditional digital media agencies.
[SG]Intriguing! So, what are Tag’s plans for the non-gaming side of the app market?
[PF] Watch this space! We have an exciting announcement coming this week.
[SG] We have to ask this you understand, but what’s your favourite recipe in the App?
[PF] I can’t look past the Monkfish in parma ham, it’s awesome!
[SG] Can we come round to yours for dinner sometime?
[PF] Sure. How are you set for Friday? Just don’t tell everyone else they’ll all want to come!
We’d like to thank Paul for his time, for his very kind invitation (and would like to assure him that despite the £3.24 price tag Sainsbury’s own Cabernet Sauvignon we’re bringing is actually very drinkable).
You can find Come Dine With Me on the Apple App store, where it costs a very reasonable £1.79
We will track Mr Farley down in the very near future and demand more information on Tag’s new announcements.