Snapchat’s 8-bit Serena Williams game is interactive history

A new game from ESPN’s Discover channel sponsored by Gatorade highlight Snapchat’s efforts to distinguish itself as a marketing vector for brands, as well as its potential to expand beyond its media sharing origins with add-on apps and features that could end up with it resembling a more multi-faceted platform.

Serena Match Point isn’t ground-breaking in terms of mechanics; input depends on a single tap, though you can vary the location of your tap to achieve different effects. But the 8-bit look of the game, paired with its faithful recreation of the scenes and, as Kotaku notes, set dressing of Serena Williams’ past 22 victories at major international pro tennis tournaments, definitely make it a worthwhile distraction.

The game is available in Snapchat’s ESPN Discover channel, as mentioned, but it’s also available on the web courtesy of Gatorade if you’re an old or otherwise unwilling to locate it in the Snapchativerse. The graphics, soundtrack and simple but effective control scheme, paired with how simple it is to learn, mean you’ll probably get all the way through Serena’s 22 victories in a relatively short time.

For Snapchat as a platform, it’s a demonstration of something it can offer that isn’t necessarily available in other social vectors – a different, more engaging kind of interaction model integrated right into the stream of multimedia content brands are delivering using things like Stories and Discover. And it’s proof that game developers might be able to do something interesting within Snapchat itself as a platform (you could easily see recent hit Reign replicated using similar tools within Snapchat itself, for instance).

Whatever it does or doesn’t lead to, it’s an interesting experiment that definitely stands out among brand advertisements, and a sign that Snapchat is thinking differently about how it might engage both business and end users in that regard.