You’re the short, blue alien with two long antennae, trying to hover your way across town to the credit union, where you’ll deposit the coins you grab on your journey.
     So goes the adventure in a Flash-based, online game created and hosted at $172-million Motor City Community CU (MCCCU) website here. The player must deftly use a computer mouse to guide the blue alien along a winding, narrow path–any fumbles force the player to start again.
     The business strategy that launched the game–as well as the name of the game–is not clear: MCCCU did not respond to e-mails or phone calls from Credit Union Journal, but readers can find the site at www.mcccu.com.
     Meanwhile, at Langley FCU in Hampton, Va., kids can play GIF-based online games–or color online pictures–developed by the $1.2-billion CU. Games include mazes, word searches and crosswords.
     â€œWe want to provide programs that draw interest so that kids will come back to the site every so often,” said Brett Noll, SVP/CMO.
     â€œWe’re facing a lot of competition in our area. We’re hoping to get members in the door while they’re young and provide them with a memorable experience, so that we end up with good members for life. In addition, we’re trying to educate children so they can live a good financial life.”
     The online games are just part of an award-winning, enterprise-wide effort to attract youth, said Noll. About 10% of the CU’s membership is 18 years old or younger, he added.
     Whereas the MCCCU home page links directly to its “coin-picking blue-alien” game, Langley FCU hosts a separate “Just For Kids” page, where visitors can play the simple games created by the CU. Alternatively, kids can follow links to interactive, Flash-based games hosted by CUNA’s Googolplex, “Googolplex has such wonderful material that we haven’t seen the need to continue to develop our own games,” said Mike Budahn, senior Webmaster at the CU. “But I haven’t given up on ours.”
     LFCU started creating its games and coloring activities at least seven years ago using common image-editing software, according to Budahn. “The games have such an appeal,” he said. “Site hits aren’t as big as MySpace, I’m sure, but we do get dozens of hits per month to the Just For Kids page. Our intention is to expand our games because they’re very simple to create.”
     Langley FCU’s creations are, ultimately, pencil-and-paper games because they most likely require the player to print the game board in order to play. But it used an “interesting technique” to develop the maze game, including a javascript rollover so that players can click to see the maze solution superimposed over the maze.
     Online gaming at Langley FCU is a small piece of the financial-literacy puzzle, Budahn continued. “We’re working this year to enhance our kids-presence by developing three separate kids’ sites, each one with focused content for elementary, middle and high schools.”
     The current collective Just For Kids site is awkward, he explained. “You just can’t talk to a 5-year-old the way you talk to a teenager. We need the opportunity to present products and services to each group on terms that group can understand.”
     
     MORE CUJOURNAL.COM
     Search the following terms at cujournal.com to read more about tech that may attract younger members:
     The Site That Has Some CUs All-A-Twitter; Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster Are Ready To Offer Consumers The Truth; AYSOS? NVM the F2F, TXT MSG
     For info on this story:
     * www.mcccu.com
     * www.langleyfcu.org
     http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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