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Colt Canyon and Realities of Marketing

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In this episode of marketingXP—Colt Canyon and Realities of Marketing—Rachel recounts her surprise at how challenging the game play of Colt Canyon is, and how that relates perfectly to misconceptions and realities of working in marketing. Listen to the episode to get started or ramp up your marketing analysis and, if you’re looking to impress a client or executive in your life, access the PowerUp for this episode >>>

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In this episode of marketingXP, we’re jumping into the pixelated wonderland of Colt Canyon. Spoiler alert: it’s not as simple as it looks, and it’s got some seriously relatable vibes for us marketers.

Cover image of Colt Canyon video game in pixel art

So, picture this – I’m diving into Colt Canyon, an eight-bit gem by Retrific and Headup Publishing. Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much from the pixelated graphics. I mean, who would when we’re spoiled with gorgeous visuals these days? (Me. I’m spoiled by gorgeous graphics.) But even I have to admit that Colt Canyon surprised me: it’s super engaging and, as you might expect, has a ton of commonalities with the realities of marketing.

Lesson 1: Roll with the Changes

You know how most video games have a set landscape and path forward that, when you die and regenerate, you can go right back to and try again? Colt Canyon has a definite air of uncertainty about it when you start the level over. Each time, the way forward is totally different: enemies are in different spots, the landscape has changed, and resources are randomized.

Remind you of anything? Playing Colt Canyon is like marketing, always throwing us curveballs with new tools, upgrades, and trends. Just like in the game, we marketers have to embrace the changes, adapt on the fly, and keep on hustling to stay ahead of the trends.

Lesson 2: Save, Save, Save (But Not Like You Think)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a prolific saver when I’m gaming. Too often I’ve been burned by getting through a truly difficult scene or boss, playing on to die in a bit, and then finding myself back to before the challenge I had just overcome. Annoying!

Gameplay in Colt Canyon with a several trails of blood and explosions as the main character battles enemies

So imagine my frustration to discover that, in Colt Canyon, there’s no saving progress – when you die, you start from scratch. Kind of like when you’ve worked really hard on a marketing asset and it is downright gorgeous, but guess what — you forgot to save! Even if you wind up with multiple files named “final,” “final_v2,” “final_really,” and a bunch more, perfecting your marketing game takes time and a whole lot of versions.

Lesson 3: Marketing Ain’t a Walk in the Pixel Park

I’ll confess that, at first glance, Colt Canyon looks easy with its pixel art. (If there’s ever been a more obvious declaration that I don’t play Minecraft, I don’t know what it would be.) But I am guilty of making the assumption that Colt Canyon would be easier to play.

People often think marketing is a cakewalk until they dive in. The game’s unexpected difficulty? Yeah, that’s like marketing challenges – they sneak up on you, demanding skills and experience that aren’t always apparent and are worth every dime someone pays for them.

Closing Thoughts

Colt Canyon isn’t just an eight-bit game; it’s a marketing metaphor. From rolling with changes to perfecting your craft, this game offers more than meets the eye. Until next time, happy gaming and marketing, pals! ????✨

Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] ​all right. All right. Back for another episode of marketingXP, a podcast that is a mashup between video games and marketing. Two of my favorite things. And hopefully if you’re listening to two of your favorite things, and you may always be wondering really, do video games have anything to do with marketing?

[00:00:28] Oh my gosh, yes. So much. Part of my challenge is I your host, your so humble host, not really Rachel Moore as I play these games it’s just not that hard to like say, oh, I could totally see how this relates to something in marketing. Today I will be talking a bit about the game, Colt Canyon and how it relates to marketing.

[00:00:51] And I’m gonna get a bit more, it’s gonna be a bit more broad. As it relates to marketing. Colt Canyon, but I’m gonna relate it to marketing and I’m gonna talk about . This is a bit more about, you know, how you see those memes that come across social.

[00:01:04] Like you’re, if you’re a marketer, you understand X, you know, you understand this and it usually something funny. Just some rant, some truth we all experience as marketers. That’s where we’re gonna go today. So first things first. Let me announce too, that marketingXP is brought to you by, But Wait, There’s Moore.

[00:01:23] M-O-O-R-E that is my business. And again, I’m your host Rachel Moore. I am an almost 49 year old video gamer and career marketer. Been in marketing for 15 years, been playing video games since I was three. So and those of you who may be wondering, I have PSS five, I’ve got Xbox one x. X.

[00:01:45] Do I have X or S? See, maybe I’m not that smart. We have a switch. That’s not my jam. My kids do pc. I’m definitely a console player. And the game that we’re talking about today is on Xbox Game Pass. You’ll hear me say that a lot. One thing I like about Xbox Game Pass and no, they’re not promoting this podcast yet but one thing I love about them is that I can pretty much at least cloud play if not installed, just about any game that’s out.

[00:02:10] Some of these are not brand new, but they’ve been enjoyable to play and explore. They surprise me every time, just like today’s game.

About Colt Canyon, the game

[00:02:18] So let’s jump in Colt Canyon. Now, if you haven’t heard of this game it’s an eight bit. So it’s you know, I know if you, if you have ever played Minecraft, you know, it’s just called that pixels, those blocks, that block style.

[00:02:31] That’s what we’re talking about. And I really liked it too because I, as I mentioned, I’ve been playing video games since I was three. My first system was an Atari. Actually in the background, if you’re watching the video, it’s not the same cartridge I used growing up, but that was my first game Defender on an Atari cartridge.

[00:02:49] And we’re talking eight bit y’all. Two dimensional only. Basically blocks that were kind of globs that were usually in the shape of something. I still remember playing golf. I remember playing breakaway and basketball where it’s literally just a little glob of blocks that makes a person, and this is them dribbling blah, blah, blah.

[00:03:09] Just a little stick of eight pixels going. And then the ball was basically a square. That was what you could do. My how we’ve come so far. But what’s interesting is that there is still a lot of love for eight bit. And so I was not actually planning on enjoying this game.

[00:03:27] I’m not an eight bit. I love where graphics have come for video games. They’re so real. Like Forza Motorsport, which is one of our prior episodes of this podcast, it’s gorgeous. Like it’s just beautiful. And so . I love all that, all the graphics that they have nowadays. And so going into an eight bit, I was kinda like I was wrong, I was wrong.

[00:03:47] It was totally entertaining. So little bit about Colt Canyon the developer is Retrific, like kind of retro, but Retrific published by Headup Publishing. So you can play them on PC, on Steam, but like I said, I played it on Xbox Game Pass. So essentially the premise is you are a gun slinger and you can pick if you wanna be a dude or a woman and it’s super simple where you can have at least starting out the game, you can have up to two weapons in your loadout. You have finite resources. You start at a camp and it just kind of shows you the super basics about how you can use RB to, you know, break stuff. You can use RT to shoot you, you know, you swap your weapons with Y you can Dodge Roll think it’s with lt.

[00:04:33] You can look and move and you can use cross hairs to direct your aiming toward an opponent. It’s not super exact, and of course you can fine tune those, but there’s no separate setting for easiness.

[00:04:46] It’s all standard. And and so let me just jump into this too, because there’s some things about it that really did kinda carry over for me into, wow, this is harder than I thought. It’s more enjoyable than I thought. So in the game at least thus far, I’ve gotten to level one dash two, which means I’ve gotten to the second part of level one, haven’t gotten much farther, and I’ve played this game for maybe two hours total.

[00:05:12] It’s hard. If you die, you are put back to the very beginning of the game. And I know this because after I finally progressed past one dash one level, and so you proceed to the right of the screen to go to the next level. Then you go in there and you start playing.

[00:05:28] If you get killed, it does not save, it saves your stats so far, but your progress is not saved to where you respawn right there, you respawn back right after the tutorial. And that got super frustrating. I was like, ah, especially ’cause as I mentioned, it’s not easy. Now, some of you may have been in there playing it, if you breeze through, awesome. I could say it’s because I’m getting older, I don’t know, but I just didn’t find it that, that that easy. And here’s the other thing about it. It seeds a whole new landscape every time, and sometimes I can see them cycling through where the landscape’s a little, a little similar, but so.

[00:06:09] Let’s say the first time you go through and you’re like, okay, well I’m gonna explore up here. Okay, I see there’s like, you know, a canyon I’ve gotta go through and, and there’s a tree. And by those trees, there’s all these barrels that I can break apart to get ammo and things. On the next time that if you die and get responding, go through that again.

[00:06:24] That is all different now. There’s not a canyon up there or the barrels now, they might be down here. And the game can provide you with someone you have to rescue. And they can fight with you alongside of you, but in order to get over there, you’ve gotta fight through all these the gang that’s keeping the prisoner.

[00:06:40] And they’re all different all the time. Yeah. Also there are tons of different types of enemies. So you can have a dude with a pitchfork, you can have a dude with a gun, you can have a dude with a lasso. That guy is not my favorite because he can lasso you, grab you to him, and you’re stuck there. And he beats on you for like twice and then you can get free.

[00:07:01] But you have to like shoot him from far away. And then there’s some opponents that takes one shot to kill ’em. Others, it takes two or more. And remember I mentioned finite resources earlier. You basically go find bullets and you can pick up other weapons. You can pick up a broken bottle, you can pick up a hoe, you can pick up a rifle, a shotgun and stuff like that.

[00:07:21] But remember when I said it reseeds differently, so you might think, oh, I found a shotgun down here, and you respawn after you die and the shotgun’s not there anymore. . So it changes constantly, which leads to like, oh my God, I, there’s nothing I can expect here. I have to just kind of wing it.

[00:07:38] It’s difficult which makes it so entertaining. And the fact that you want to beat this, you wanna be like, I wanna get farther so I don’t die and I can, you know, and then you get to level up and there’s upgrades you can do. So I really liked it unexpectedly. And I really thought this is a bad thing that I did.

[00:07:57] It’s so wrong. So I’m entering the confessional right now. I assumed eight bit, that’d be easy. No, all of you right now are like, you are so dumb. I’m be like, well admittedly, I was dumb. I am now smarter. ’cause now I know that’s not the truth. , right? And anyone who’s been in Minecraft’s, like no, it’s not easy.

[00:08:16] Come on, you know, better. Yes, now I do. Yes. And we did, by the way, if you follow the UnpauseIt podcast, that’s another podcast that my family does for entertainment stuff. We did do two episodes. One was my daughter teaching me how to play Minecraft, and another episode was my son teaching my husband, vastly different experiences there ’cause my son basically tried to kill my husband and his dad in Minecraft the whole time, whereas my daughter was actually trying to teach me how to play the game. But yeah, this was a fun ride. I do wanna keep playing it just to see if I can keep getting further in without dying.

[00:08:53] All right, so that is Colt Canyon. Give it a shot if you’re inclined. Don’t underestimate it would be my my saying. Which leads us into perfectly how this game ties into marketing.

Marketing constantly changes

[00:09:07] So first of all, I think we’ve all been there. Technology is an amazing thing. Is it not? Can we just all agree on that? Technology’s amazing. We all love when tools are developed and they’re new and like, oh, this is saving my life. This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve always thought there was a way that this could work.

[00:09:25] You get these new tools and we have all the tools that we have been using for years. They’re evolving all the time, obviously. Sometimes they do an upgrade to these and we’re like, what if what has happened? There’s a lot going around about Adobe Express, I think that people are really mad about for those of you who use Adobe Cloud and Adobe Express people are not happy with the latest updates they’ve done to it.

[00:09:46] So there’s that, or the tools can upgrade to where it’s like, oh my gosh, it’s so much better. Like for instance, I will be editing this podcast with Descript and I’m loving a lot of the stuff they put out though.

[00:09:56] There’s been a couple UI things they do when they upgrade. I’m like, ah, I don’t like that you moved that on me. Whatever. But tools change. I don’t know if any of you, if you’ve ever gone to show somebody how something works, you’re demonstrating how maybe a social media app works or MarTech tool, you know, or something like that.

[00:10:18] It could be anything. It could be Canva, it could be Asana, it could be you know, Trello. It could be a social media management tool. You’re gonna show them how the app works and you go in. And you’re like, I know how this works. I am so proficient at it. And you go in on, as you’re showing somebody else how these things work and the tool has changed.

[00:10:42] It happens all the time. If I had 10 bucks for every time that has happened where I’ve gone to train somebody or show them how something works in a software tool I use for marketing I would not need to work. I would have all the money. Can we relate with that? I know they try to let us know that these upgrades are happening, but if you’re busy, you don’t necessarily see all those notifications and emails.

[00:11:05] So that is the life of a marketer. That game kept changing on me and making me have to relearn stuff over again. So, you know, you’re not able to settle in, really, you’re not able to get bored, which is one thing I, and maybe you love about marketing.

[00:11:22] It’s one thing that I love about this industry I work in and the specialty is because it does shift so much because it relies on tech so much, but also the creativity. I mean, you think just even about trends and how they change, you know? We’re coming up on Spotify Unwrapped. When that first came out from Spotify, everybody was replicating it. Like, I need to jump on this wagon. So that stuff changes all the time, and then a couple years later, it’s obsolete and you don’t do that anymore.

[00:11:48] So marketing changes. Marketing is always changing. . It’s like change is one of the constants of the universe. Marketing changing is that constant. But also why I love it, it definitely keeps us on our toes, which is also what Colt Canyon does. So it’s the first thing that kind of tied those two things together.

Save your work, if you can

[00:12:05] The second one. So relatable, y’all. I want you to think right now, of a project you recently worked on of creating content for marketing and how many different ways you named the file that you considered to be final, but then it wasn’t so then it became final two or final B, or finally, or whatever you wanted to call it.

[00:12:33] How many versions do you usually save, you know, before you get to the actual final and please share any memes you’ve seen of those where it’s like final.

[00:12:42] Finally two. Finally three. Final, final, final. No, really I’m serious. Final. . Finally fuck it final. I’ve seen those too, which I can relate with ’cause you’re just like, God, I’m tired of tooling with this. And even if you are not the one trying to make the changes or, you know, thinking it needs to be changed, maybe somebody reviewing it is making you change it over and over and over again, and you’re just like, iteration, iteration, iteration.

[00:13:06] And now then suddenly you have 12 files that were all final except now you got a real final one. And they’re like, what do you name it? Right? So that it’s cleared everybody. This is the final one, but that’s there’s that aspect of it. And that leads me to say too, still part of the second aspect of, of why Colt Canyons like marketing saving stuff.

[00:13:28] Most tools we have now do automatically save to the cloud. Thank goodness. I got really annoyed recently. I was editing a webpage that’s in an old version of WordPress and I’m dealing with it where there’s no sandbox and I’m trying to like, create some elements where I can, like, I, I need to create a preview of it so somebody can see it, but I don’t wanna publish those yet.

[00:13:53] So. In that old version of WordPress, I don’t have an option to save the updates, but without actually updating it. So I made a bunch of changes to this webpage. I added a bunch of elements, and then the site pooped out on me, like it lost all my changes. So three hours of work down the toilet. So frustrating. We’ve all been there. I think video is one of the worst things to work with, where it’s like, and that’s gone and you talk about all that effort gone into nothing. But we are also thankful when these tools we work with have . Evolved to where they do save, they save regularly and they save, like they have a, you know, if you’re, even if your app crashes, we recovered this usually they saved enough.

[00:14:40] But I tell ya, whatever you’re using, whether it’s Control S or open Apple S save, save, save, save, save. All the time. All the time. I’m just used to that. And I do that in video games too. If I’m able to save . I tend to create a bunch of saves, which again, col Canyon does not let you do that.

[00:14:58] FYI, you cannot save your progress. You either live or you die. That’s basically it. And then respawn and try the whole thing over again. So that’s part, that’s the second aspect that Colt Canyon really made me mindful about some really true aspects of marketing.

Marketing Isn’t Easy. Not One Bit.

[00:15:13] And the third one. How many of us are so sick of people telling us, like, or coming off, like what we do in marketing is easy.

[00:15:26] You know what I’m talking about? You’ve got like some, it’s a client or it’s an executive. Someone who’s senior to you doesn’t know how to do what you do because you make it look awesome and amazing and easy ’cause you’re so good at it. And they come in with like, well, you know, I don’t know if we really need all this effort.

[00:15:44] I mean, my fill in the blank family member does Facebook or does Instagram, and I’m sure they can do this just as well. Such bullshit. Oh my gosh. And you have to fix your face. If you’re on video with or in person with those people, you’re just like, okay. The daggers coming out of my eyes at you for saying something so naive and ignorant.

[00:16:10] . Protect yourself. Stop, drop and roll and get outta the way. ’cause oh my gosh, it’s, it’s so annoying. But this really does boil down to marketers making stuff look easy. ’cause we know our craft. We know how to do all, how to work through all these changes in the tech tools. We know how to be creative.

[00:16:29] We know how to wield the power of content marketing and scheduling and publishing. And the formatting that’s needed. The coding you know, the campaigns that we put together, the editorial calendars that we manage and make sure makes sense. So that we’re creating a user pathway that makes it all look super easy.

[00:16:49] But then you just get dumb people who come in saying, well, it looks easy that you do it. Certainly we can have somebody else do it just as well. And you know, it’d be like, why don’t you go ahead and try that, see how that ends.

[00:17:01] Sometimes people have to learn that. What is the saying? The burned hand teaches best. I’m not saying anyone should go burn your hands right now, but you know what I mean? I mean, I’ve burnt my hand on a, on a hot stove a couple times in my life and I now am super careful. ’cause I don’t wanna feel that again.

[00:17:16] It’s terrible. So. But yeah, and that’s where Colt Canyon was very similar to looking easy versus actually being easy. I thought it was gonna be easy and man, was I wrong? With the various enemies that just kinda keep popping up. Oh my gosh. I forgot to mention, god forbid you start getting chased down by a dog in that game.

[00:17:36] They’re hard. They’re faster, they’re much more mobile, harder to shoot, and they take multiple shots and they just keep coming at you. You cannot dodge away from them quickly enough to get space. Like your best bet is to shoot it when it’s far away from you, but then it moves so quickly, super hard.

[00:17:51] But yeah, various enemies of different difficulties, finite resources. Can we all relate with that? I mean, marketing usually does take a lot of overhead and the tools are expensive but can save so much time with all the things that marketers need to do. But our resources are finite. Usually our budgets are very finite.

[00:18:11] Amount of budget we can spend on tools or humans. You know, human power is finite. And so we have to get super creative and dare I say bootstrappy to try to make our marketing happen. So very relatable, not easy. I’m sure we’ve all been there with daisy chain tools together. We wish they would talk to each other, but we’re like, well, this is what I can do.

Wrap Up

[00:18:31] And you make it happen. So my dear friends who do listen to this podcast that is my reflection around Cult Canyon, having played that game a bit and then correlating it over to marketing. . It was pretty easy to do. Please, if you don’t mind, subscribe to this podcast wherever you’re listening to it.

[00:18:49] You can visit my podcast page too, on, I do this podcast plus a couple others, and I also by the way, produce podcasts. So if you happen to be looking for someone, you are like, I need to get a podcast on the ground. It’s not happening. Let’s get it off the ground.

[00:19:06] Let’s get it out into the æther so people can be hearing you and your thought leadership. Perhaps you would like to talk about video games or marketing or both. I already talk about video games and marketing, but yeah, I can help you get that done. But this is a fun I love this project and like I said, I love video games and marketing and it’s just fun to be able to talk about both of those in the same setting.

[00:19:27] Alright, thank you everybody. Rate the podcast. Would love to hear what you think about it. And feel free to go comment on the landing page for this podcast episode and check out the other ones. And since you can comment on that page, tell me if there’s any other games available in Game Pass or elsewhere that you would like me to play, and then see what what correlations I derive from that game that go right into marketing.

[00:19:51] I would love to take up that challenge. Thank you all for listening. I hope you have a great rest of your day, evening, whatever, and I’ll see you on the next episode of marketingXP. Bye.

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