The global gaming market is expected to reach a whopping $314.4 billion by 2026 — a testament to its constant revolution or rather unparallel reinventing that impresses even those outside the industry.
Just look how far we’ve come in the last three decades alone. From the undisputed "Super Mario Bros" to the luscious open-world, free roamers like the "GTA", "Ghost of Tsushima" or the latest superstar, "Elden Ring". It’s a wonder we’re not plugged in 24/7!
Table of Contents
1. ZeroGravity by Yabloko Agency
- Retro gaming vibe
- Interactive, point-and-click elements
ZeroGravity Group, the Ukrainian trailblazer in eSports and entertainment, leverages two decades of experience to foster state-of-the-art products and businesses in the industry.
Powering and working closely with the likes of NaVi (one of the most acknowledged eSports teams in the world) and renowned platforms like DMarket (blockchain), ESForce, and DreamTeam, the company wanted to reflect both its digital origins and corporate mission through the highly innovative and engaging website, courtesy of Kyiv-based Yabloko Agency.
Right from the get-go, visitors are met with stunning, animated visuals on the homepage. After the initial surprise with the unconventional menu navigation, millennial demographics will most certainly recognize some of the prominent imagery abounding the website.
Visually, the whole experience bears an uncanny resemblance to the so-called point-and-click adventures of the late ‘90s and early 2000s like "Blade Runner" and "Freelancer".
Each step in this 3D journey is meaningful — every stage honors one of ZeroGravity’s partners with convenient logo placement and related visual elements. Visitors can literally spend hours transitioning from one level to another.
Since the whole user journey feels like playing a game, it’s also fun hunting for various pop culture easter eggs ("Predator" countdown numbers, DeLorean from the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "Akira" graffiti, and "Cyberpunk" poster, to name a few).
Besides the undeniably impressive and immersive graphics, the website architecture is rather simplistic, minimal, and most importantly easy to traverse, which is an accomplishment in itself.
2. Cinekid Play by Next Empire
- Arcade-inspired colors
- Gamified navigation
- Smooth transitions
The Netherlands’ Cinekid Festival is the largest children's media festival in the world. Children aged three to 14 years can watch new, unusual, striking film and television productions and meet the creators.
As on-site film festivals came to a screeching stop when the pandemic hit the world, the organization worked with Next Empire to conceptualize, design and build an online content platform. The website gamifies content exploration while traveling a metaphorical space where every “planet” has a specific theme and holds a rich collection of carefully curated content.
It presents a playful surrounding where children can “fly” through and explore the content they’re interested in. Gathering trophies, finding space wreckages, or seeing other kids’ avatars whizzing by is a masterfully crafted galaxy soundscape that takes after triple-A titles like No Man’s Sky, all neatly packed in an online browser.
What many online learning platforms and even educational games aimed at younger demographics fail to understand is that children demand freedom. When that is denied, they turn to passive entertainment. As Next Empire would put it:
The website is, in fact, an invitation to play and learn together. Its careful and well-thought-out selection of content (films, workshops, interactives, and Q&As) with discovery is at its core will propel Cinekid Play to reach not only the whole of the Netherlands but the rest of the world.
3. The Loved Up Co by Olya Black
- Fun illustrations and typography
- Playful messaging
- Prominent CTAs
Simply put, The Loved Up Co is your go-to date night subscription — fun and romance delivered right to your door!
Aware that planning a perfect date has become quite challenging, especially in this post-COVID era, The Loved Up Co aims to bring a new adventure to you (and your date).
Their website, masterfully crafted by Wix-pro studio, Olya Black, showcases the portfolio through engaging and playful visuals and jolly messaging that reminds you that every day can be turned into Valentine’s.
Although we clearly move away from the gaming aspect with this particular entry, a strong case can be made, that the custom, monthly-themed gift boxes echo the classic tropes of the Dating Sims subgenre. But in real life, no less!
In fact, every box, as the website clearly explains without spoiling its contents, has two delicious drinks and snacks, a custom game designed to fit the theme (with an extra activity or two) plus a playlist to match. (Drink. Eat. Play. Repeat.)
One of the more interesting facets of The Loved Up Co website is its menu navigation or rather the lack of it. Besides selecting the specific theme, the whole page is focused on converting visitors and nudging them to click the strategically placed CTAs.
Even hovering over them is engaging, as cute illustrations of a Zippo-styled lighter and adorable hearts appear. This reminds users what The Loved Up Co brand is all about: maintaining the flame, one date kit at a time.
- Parallax effects
- Interactive navigation
- Arcade game mode
fourpillars is a boutique design agency based in Athens, Greece that always strives to push the boundaries, bringing state-of-the-art technologies to their clients.
Looking at the logo and the meaning behind it calls to mind the agency’s national history as it represents the minimalist depiction of the ancient Doric columns – the primary building blocks of great European architectural wonders.
Right from the start, it’s safe to say that fourpillars’s website takes scrolling effects to new heights or a new level if you will. It is, in fact, a perfect example of how a fairly monochromatic, minimalistic outlook, paired with creative parallax effects creates a seamless user experience and a genuinely satisfying escapade.
The site’s user journey is dominated by morphing illustrations formed by the four lines and five squares that continuously jumble around to form new figures.
As visitors begin scrolling down, the four vertical words that represent the agency‘s brand messaging (or four main pillars) start to descend, revealing the complete logo.
Next, still triggered by scrolling, the logo morphs into figures with abstract messaging that expound on each of the agency’s pillars.
This is possibly one of the most creative usages of scrolling effects we’ve ever witnessed and is definitely one of a kind.
Bonus tip: Keep scrolling until the lines form an asterisk that splits sideways. You will find yourself inside a game similar to the legendary "Pong", one of the first arcades ever created.
The whole experience seamlessly communicates the agency’s philosophy – delivering creative solutions through simplicity, commanded by users (clients) themselves.
5. All In! Games by Challenge Studio
- Background animation reel
- Tech/gaming-related color scheme
- Thematic static effect
All In! Games is a new video game publishing company located in Krakow, Poland. After the global success of CD Project RED and their Witcher franchise, All In! Games, consisting of a team of passionate specialists, is yet another great example of talented professionals emerging in the country, ready to conquer the world and the Western-dominated industry.
The company’s website, designed by Challenge Studio, showcases the portfolio through a beautifully rendered background reel on the homepage.
Rich visuals, along with the neat text blocks are complemented by an abundance of on-brand colored space that lets the pages breathe, preventing them from feeling cluttered.
The subtle green tint evokes the classic Matrix code, ideal for a gaming-oriented company. Although the website is quite complex because of multiple sections, the correct positioning of different elements on the page avoids it from looking bulky.
The navigation is easy — scroll down and you’ll find more info about the company or use the sticky navigation bar to jump to another section in a few clicks.
The smooth and thematic animation permeating the website not only makes the website user-friendly but also reflects the spirit of the studio’s video games.
They contribute to the website’s dynamic nature, reminding and inspiring visitors to take action and game on!