Crush the Castle: an iPhone App Success Story

I’m a lucky man – every day I get to work with and talk to some of the most excellent people in technology, both client and reporter-side.

Hence I’m not sure why I was so surprised when, out of nowhere, a chance encounter with Armor Games founder Daniel McNeely led to working on the iPhone version of one of my favorite flash games, Crush The Castle.

The challenge, however, was getting press for a game that while recently, significantly updated, was months old. Great as a game is, many PR firms would have said that the press (and the consumer) can tend to have a short memory – and that if something is considered ‘old news,’ it’s mostly left to the dogs.

However, this is ultimately what we live for – not so much the thrill of the chase , but to get great things in front of great reporters, bloggers and journalists. Being bad at PR is A) giving up and B) being unable to make something awesome palatable to the press. If you approach every single writer with the same fluffy, hypey pile of marketing linguistics, talking about ‘amazing’ this and ‘stunning’ that, you’re probably not going to get far. If you approach them like a human being and say “Hey, this game’s great. It’s about this, does this, and if you want a code, let me know.”

Guess what? It works. Crush the Castle is living proof – Joystiq and WIRED love it, TechCrunch so much that they put it on the front page – and the Washington Post picked it up, too.  The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Destructoid feel the same way.

And PR moves the needle, too – from the afternoon of the 30th January to today, the first of February, the game had earnestly skyrocketed from Number 80 on the paid app charts to 60 – staying rock solid over the weekend and even poking its head above 58 at one point.

What made it even sweeter was Armor Games’ contribution to the Haitian relief efforts – as part of the Apps For Haiti project, 50% of a week’s profits went to helping those suffering via the Red Cross.

All in all, a success – castles crushed, apps sold, and people helped.