You won’t find this game in any app store. But there is a payoff for playing.
You earn 500 PC Optimum free points every day for simply practising your hauling skills while playing No Frills’ Hauler: Aisles of Glory.
It’s the latest clever marketing campaign from grocery giant Loblaws, which owns the No Frills stores and Real Canadian Superstore.
This web-based game truly has no frills – and that’s the idea. It has no fancy animations, high-definition video or 5.1 Dolby surround sound. What you get is a 1980s eight-bit 2D arcade-style single player side-scrolling game.
The game is designed for haulers, who the marketers describe “as someone who gets a lot for less and totally takes pride in the experience.”
“Every major sport has a video game franchise, so why should hauling be any different?” says Uwe Stueckmann, senior vice-president of marketing for Loblaw Companies. “The best haulers aren’t born – they’re made. This game is designed to let them practise before they head to No Frills for an epic haul.”
Players shop in an animated No Frills store, earning points for hauling groceries (Hauls) while avoiding dangerous Frills like diamonds, champagne towers, limousines and expensive speed boats – things not likely found at grocery stores.
No Frills says they understand hauling is no laughing matter. It takes serious time, practise and commitment to achieve coveted hauler status and Canadians wear it like a badge of honour.
How to play
You have three basic navigation buttons. The up arrow takes you one aisle up, the down arrow one aisle down and the space bar allows you to jump over something in front of you.
You choose a character icon and assume the role of a hauler. Your hauler will start each game with three lives or hearts. You earn points by collecting Hauls and dashing along the aisles through the store. You lose lives by hitting obstacles or Frills.
Basic Hauls like toilet paper and bananas will get you 100 points each. Grabbing a bag of Naturally Imperfect peppers or PC Organics frozen pizza will get you 300 points. Things like steak and avocados, or President’s Choice The Decadent chocolate chip cookies will net you 600 points each.
You lose lives if you haul a Frill like a limo and if you run into obstacles like a gelatin sculpture or a chocolate fondue fountain – so watch where you’re going.
You can also find a number of Power Ups along the way that give you more longevity.
Once your virtual haul is complete, enter your PC Optimum card number to claim your daily reward of up to 500 PC Optimum points. No Frills will reward Canadian haulers until they award 50 million total PC Optimum points.
If you’re one of the top five scorers, you can enter your initials onto the leaderboard and play over and over to see if you can beat your high score, but you won’t earn additional points.
After playing Hauler a half dozen times, I realize I’m not that much better at gaming than I was decades ago. But I know I’m a better shopper.
The game is a clever way to put No Frills front and centre in the minds of the public. It’s addictively fun. And I earned 500 points – without going through a roll of quarters.
You can play Hauler: Aisles of Glory in any browser on your computer, tablet or mobile device.
Troy Media columnist Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.