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Gone into the light: Four Colman Getty launch online game for teens

With young people spending so much time online, publishers are looking for new ways to engage this audience and develop a relationship between online activity and reading. One teen author who has harnessed this to his advantage through Twitter, Facebook and online chat forums, is the hugely popular Michael Grant, author of the best-selling GONE series.Taking this into consideration, Four Colman Getty and Four Digital were appointed by Egmont Press to create an online game, Gone Online, based on Michael’s books and celebrating the publication of LIGHT, the sixth and final book in the series.In the initial planning stages the team visited Horniman Primary and Stoke Newington School, to meet with pupils and chat about what they like about the GONE series. The students were hugely excited by the prospect of a game, and very forthcoming with ideas of what they would like it to look like (not all of them possible using current technology - perhaps in a decade or two!)Armed with these ideas, and the content of the books themselves, we created a game aimed at existing fans, and also those new to the series. Some of the games reward time and speed, others ability and knowledge of the books and by using the latest in location-based marketing, players can pick up extra points by checking in with their smart phones at specific locations – bookshops or libraries.Starting with four games at launch - Zeke Zap, Word Search, Hacker and a GONE quiz - there will be further games and challenges released on a weekly basis until the winner is announced in April. The winner of the game - the highest scorer at the end of the six weeks - will win the chance to meet Michael Grant in a private capsule on the EDF Energy London Eye, in addition to book tokens and never-before-seen content such as extra chapters and video messages from the author.In the lead up to launch, a partnership was secured with The Guardian Children’s Books website, who exclusively revealed the game on World Book Day. This was accompanied by a great written piece by Michael, in which he explained that while we don’t quite have the technology to make all the adults disappear as they do in the book, the game is great fun and a good way to cure withdrawal symptoms, for those eagerly awaiting the publication of LIGHT.The game is now in its third week, with over 1,200 users having played more than 24,000 games so far.

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