Dark Igloo makes emailing fun with a Contact Us page that doubles as a 3D video game

10 years ago, the Brooklyn-based studio switched its Contact Us page for an 8-bit mini game. Now, it's launched an addictive 3D update where users can collect coins to increase email character count.

Date
2 August 2022

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If you send emails, you’ll be familiar with Contact Us pages – that bland segment of a company’s site that lets you do little other than getting in touch. But imagine if, rather than being met with a text box that will likely send your message into an answerless abyss, you were met with a video game loading screen. Here, you can spend the next hour or so playing a 3D racing game, trying to gather enough coins to increase your email’s character count for your message to the studio – you might have a lengthy introduction to type out. Although a chunk of your day may get lost, you don’t feel an encroaching sense of doom at the sight of your lengthening to-do list because you had a bloody good time playing Contact Us 2, Dark Igloo’s newest site update.

The idea to turn a contact page into a video game isn’t new for the design studio. In 2013, Dark Igloo launched its first 8-bit version of the game on a shoestring budget, which we covered on the It’s Nice That site. As a small studio that spends a lot of time emailing, the project was a way to bring a surprising edge to the activity, but also signal to potential clients the type of imaginative work it wanted to deliver. While the first Contact Us was a relatively straightforward mini-game affair – think Crazy TaxiContact Us 2 is for the Dreamcast, Sonic the Hedgehog video game era as it presents an immersive 3D world full of 64-bit graphics and chunky polygons.

Dark Igloo: Contact Us 2 (Copyright © Dark Igloo, 2022)

Contact Us 2 is a racing game made in collaboration with Fuzzy Wobble on code, where users collect coins to increase email character count. Players can select from four different vehicles and even drive through an easter egg eyeball to enter into the Igloo studio while playing. Since launching the update, potential emailees with slim patience playing Contact Us 2 have meant Dark Igloo has received emails as economical as “HireMe”. More than just a fun trivial exercise, however, the game is also a branding opportunity. As seen in the polar bear player character design, Contact Us 2 is full of Igloo iconography. “Every member of the team is present in the game somewhere,” Igloo co-founder Dave Franzese explains. “Other scenic objects hold more personal meaning to the members of our team: vintage camcorders, guitars, a T-Rex.”

The design of Contact Us 2 hugely tops the previous iteration, with the studio even writing new original songs for the experience. During the extensive revamp, “the actual email part of the game was one of the very last steps and a huge technical challenge to figure out”, Dave says. “As you can imagine, a website that emails people with no login required is super tricky to get working, as well as getting those emails to not be interpreted as spam.”

Beyond functioning as a fun update for Igloo fans, Dave confirms that Contact Us 2 serves a more serious purpose: “We want our collaborators to play, and to take that play seriously." The contact video game is an invitation and ultimate “vibe check” for potential collaborators. See if you past the test here.

GalleryDark Igloo: Contact Us 2 (Copyright © Dark Igloo, 2022)

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Dark Igloo: Contact Us 2 (Copyright © Dark Igloo, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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