What’s the Game du Jour?

There’s no disguising what Game du Jour is all about. The developers have taken the idea behind Woot! — selling one product per day at a hugely discounted price — and applied to the quickly expanding world of casual games. Launched in 2006, the Silicon Valley-based company wants to get some serious attention from net savvy bargain hunters, and what better way to reach the best-informed Internet users on the planet than to order a ReviewMe review from John Chow dot Com. After all, there are over 7000 potential customers being reached via full feed RSS.

One Deal Per Day

At its core, Game du Jour wants to sell you a new casual game each and every day at a “deeply discounted” price. For example, when I was writing this review on Tuesday afternoon, the deal was for “Pretty Good Solitaire”.

game du jour - deal a day casual game

Based on the short write-up, this is a collection 660 card games, making it the “Rolls Royce of all solitaire games.” The special “Game du Jour price” of $12 (50% off) was available for 24 hours, ending at 12 midnight CST. There’s even a countdown clock to let you know how much time you have left.

Try Before You Buy

Just like every other casual game website out there — Big Fish Games, Real Arcade, and Gamehouse are among the biggest players in the market — Game du Jour also offers free game trials. This way, you can take the title out for a 60-minute test drive, complete with full access to all of the game’s features.

You’ll want to rifle through the trial pretty quickly, obviously, because you don’t want that 24-hour clock to run out on you. This is especially true if you download the game closer to the midnight CST deadline.

Over 200 Games At Your Disposal

This is a rather major difference between Game du Jour and Woot. Whereas the latter only sells one item a day, not allowing you to purchase anything else, Game du Jour opens up its entire library on any given day; it’s just that there is only one game being offered at a massive discount. The rest of library can be purchased, typically, for between $10 and $25 each.

game du jour - 200+ casual games

The library of casual and independent games is quite varied, ensuring that they’ve got an offering for just about any kind of casual gamer. Tile lovers can get their fix from 3D Magic Mahjong, action junkies can turn to AirStrike 3D, and simulation enthusiasts might want to check out AIT Trains. And that’s all within the first 15 titles in the 200+ game library.

I’m disappointed that the large number of games isn’t organized very well. They’re all just listed in alphabetical order with small screenshots. I suggest that they organize the games into categories — like puzzle, action, and card — so that users can better find what they’re looking for.

A Gaming Community

The idea is there, but the execution is a little lacking. Instead of having a centralized forum, there are individual comment forms linked to each of the product pages. If you take a look at AirHockey 3D, for example, you’re initially shown a description and a list of features, but there are tabs for discussing the game and telling your friends about it.

game du jour - comment form

Sadly, you’ll be hard pressed to find any comments posted at all. I feel the discussion would be better in a semi-separate forum, which can easily be monetized with a series of affiliate ads. They’re already doing affiliate links for each and every game publisher.

Play Games for Cheap

Casual and independent games are quickly rising in popularity, so it makes sense to launch a website that captures this growing audience. In fact, Game du Jour is the first “one deal a day” website for indie and casual PC games. Whereas all the other portals sell their games at regular price all the time, Game du Jour can sell the exact same game for half that price. Better still, they have an RSS feed so you’ll never miss a deal.

The concept behind Game du Jour seems to be a sound one. That said, I’d personally change the logo to something a little more distinctive, organize the library into categories, and open up a forum if they are truly interested in discussion.