Doko! A Walking Review

Reading Time: 7 minutes

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Doko! is a new trading game with a bit of a twist.  You can obtain tokens by finding, trading or buying them.  The tokens themselves are a heavy plastic center with a colorful design, wrapped in a metal edge.  The coins have a satisfying weight, size and heavy clinking sound when rattled.  Laser etched in the side of the coin is a unique series of letters and numbers.  Much like the contests that the soda companies run, these numbers are your key into DokoDrop.com.

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Mammoth Toys started their ad campaign by dropping the coins in various public areas, including parks and playgrounds.  I’m unsure how well that went, but at least one news story popped up about some controversy about the coins near school playgrounds.

Now for a walking review of the game.  I’ll explain how the game works, what I think of it, and any insight my kids gave me about the process.

Initial impressions

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The tokens are cool.  Both kids liked how they looked, felt, and sounded and they stated so right away.  I was interested in how they would react since they are both into Webkinz and really like the online interaction and game play.

The Web Site

The site, dokodrop.com, like most of the kid oriented kid sites, is entirely flash.  When you first load the page there is a cool animation where some funny looking icons swirl around a globe as we zoom in on them.  The animation isn’t too slow, but it did start to get annoying waiting for it after the 20th time.

The initial screen is a bit sparse with options to sign in, sign up, or enter a Doko.  Both kids chose to enter a Doko and were quickly prompted to sign in or sign up.  I had to point out the difference between the two and direct them to sign up.

Signing Up

Doko aims to be a safe zone for kids and I think they succeeded in that.  The only real world info they ask for is country, state, city, and zip.  Never do they ask for any other real info about your child.  The user name is computer generated using your preferences for Animal, Sport, Food, and Lucky Number.  You get to click "More Names" a few times if you don’t like the 6 choices.  I managed to get ai13 for mine.  My kids IDs are CatCat37 and Cheetah8.  Feel free to have your kids add them as friends if they want.

In addition to choosing the user name, you’ll need to enter a password (twice), pick an icon from a bunch and enter a parents email address (for password recovery).  I have not yet received an email so there is no initial sign-up spam.

The Games

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The spinning zooming world comes back now, but with more icons.  Added are my dashboard, network, games, stuff, and help.  Hitting the dashboard showed we didn’t have any doko.  We return to the home page to enter the doko code.  The kids voiced their annoyance of having to type it in again.

Once we enter the code a window pops up with the name of the token (SKATE4LIFE) in this case, a picture of the design, and a choice to accept the 100 points, or play a game for more.  I suggest playing the game.  It is a sort of Breakout game with power-ups and cool levels.  Both kids have scored over 3,000 points without much effort.  These become "Official" points and are good for trading in for stuff later.

Once we lose all our balls in the breakout game we quickly move on to the Games icon on the home page.  We are presented with nearly 80 games to play.  Many of the games looked familiar and once I click on one it became apparent that they are MiniClip.com games.  Not that this is a bad thing.  It will give the kids a place to play web games without the advertising or sometimes offensive chat in the sidebars.

Networking

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Like all good social networks, this one has a way to connect with other people.  The obvious way to get connected is trading doko and entering the codes.  I suspect that this is the most exciting part of the game as doko are likely to travel to someone you don’t know.  The dashboard will show trades, miles traveled, and names of each person.  Clicking a person lets you send a friend request, chat, or  see their doko.  From the home page is a link to view the map.  Plenty of doko showed up in our area, but we never could locate our doko on the map.

Chatting is similar to most other safe chats.  You can only chat with your friends (offline or online), and you choose from a canned list of phrases, questions, and answers.  Both kids were able to navigate the chat menus with ease.

Doko Points

The doko points appear to be divided into two categories, official, and unofficial.  The first person to register a doko (a pure doko) receives official points.  If they play the breakout game those points also become official.  In my case I earned 4962 points with my 2nd doko.  Each time it is registered the point value is halved and passed on up the line.  My first trade received 2481 and I get 2481.  The second trade gets 1241 and myself and the first each get 1241.  Somewhat like an MLM for kids but the kids don’t have to pay to join if they can find or trade tokens.  The token expires after the 5th trade.  It might be fun to make up some kind of real world POG like game as a use for the tokens after they expire.

All trades (after the initial registration) receive unofficial points.  These points can be converted into Official points with a Doko Dekoder, but I haven’t seen one and can’t say exactly how it will work.

Stuff Spot

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Official doko points can be traded for real world goods and services at the Stuff Spot.  Pricing is inconsistent and a lot like cashing in game tickets at D&B or Chuck E Cheese.  The selection is very limited right now but I expect that will change as more retailers get on board.  You can spend 200k for $20 or 25k for $5 TRU gift card.  200k buys a Doko single ($6), or 50k for a Dekoder ($10).  Other gift card, and discount coupons cost similarly odd prices but average out somewhere between these.  The best exchange rate is the $5 gift card for 25k.

So at best, doko points are worth a $1 per 5,000 ($5 gift card for 25k) and worst $1 per 28,571 points (Doko Single for 200k).  For 3,000,000 points you can purchase the giant doko that crushed the porsche.  I had to google for that one and came across this YouTube video.

Summary

The site is pretty easy to to navigate and most of it works as expected.  Both kids liked the idea of trading doko, however the youngest didn’t really want to give up his favorite designs.  I suspect he hid them in his room instead of giving them to friends.

The site itself has a few bugs.  The kids were annoyed that they could enter a doko before they signed up or logged in, then had to enter it again.  There was a problem with logout not really logging you out that appears to be fixed now.  If you are sharing a computer, make sure you are logged in as yourself before you enter a doko.  I also found navigating the map difficult and never could find our doko on it, even when I zoomed in on our town.  I could see some doko nearby in and around Dallas.

Compatibility with Linux was poor.  I’m not sure if this exposes a bug in Flash 9 for Linux, or if Doko is doing something strange with flash.  Neither Chat nor the Map worked as expected.  Chat reported an error contacting the chat server, and the map never loaded data.  Some of the MiniClip games required Shockwave.  Fortunately I have a WinXP virtual machine handy for just such emergencies.

The retail price of the Doko is $7.99. They are available at Toys R Us and Amazon now for $6.99.  The Dekoder is available at TRU for $9.99.  Personally I think the price is a little high and I hope they come down.  I think a simpler package and price around $3.49 would lead to a lot more impulse buys at the cash register.

Overall the game idea is interesting and the kids showed a lot of interest in the physical coin but they aren’t fighting with each other to log in.  Webkinz still reigns supreme in this house and probably will for some time to come.

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Contest

I’ve got 5 retail boxes and a pile of loose Doko to give away.  First 5 comments each get an unopened retail box and one previously registered loose Doko.  The second 5 comments gets a couple Doko each chosen at random from the pile.  Some were registered by myself, my kids, or all three of us.

After you comment, please send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll try to get these all in the mail by the end of the week.  My email address is: anton@antonolsen.com.

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