If you’re wondering what 404 games are, they’re the fun offerings found on 404 error pages. You might get this type of error for several reasons. Perhaps you mistyped a link, or the page moved. The backlink might have an additional character. Whatever the cause, these pages can devastate your conversion rates.

Around 73.72% of people who land on a 404 error page will leave your site and never come back. Plus, 79% of users state that if they’re dissatisfied with a website’s performance, they won’t buy from that company again.

Since it’s impossible to find every issue on your website, you need a better solution than a static page. Luckily, you can use 404 error pages to entice visitors to hang around. One idea includes offering a coupon and redirecting customers to product listing. However, a more exciting method of keeping people is providing 404 games for entertainment.

These games engage the user and prevent them from bouncing away. You have to know your audience and offer something they’d be interested in, though. To figure out what type of game to add to your site, study what’s already available. Here are eight 404 games to inspire your transition from a static error page to one that pulls visitors in.

1. Slack

You can base your 404 games on other popular entertainment available online. For example, Slack’s interactive error page is the scene from an MMO game no longer available called “Glitch.” The name of the game matches what happens when someone lands on a 404 page — they’ve hit a glitch. It’s an ideal element to keep users engaged.

Move your mouse around to see the complete scene and for animations to come to life. Butterflies flit about, and little birds move with the mouse. The background changes are similar to the way you’d see the background move in a Mario game.

2. Mantra Labs

Perhaps you don’t want to add a full-on game, but you want to make your 404 page interactive. Is your goal is to get the user back to the homepage or some other location? Then you can encourage them to wait for the transfer by engaging them.

Mantra Labs accomplishes this concept by adding a countdown feature and the image of an astronaut. For those who love space, it’s engaging. For those who are ambivalent, it’s interesting. The user watches the countdown and stays until the page refreshes.

3. Yalantis

One fun way to draw the lost in is through the use of interactive animation. Yalantis takes 404 games and breaks them down into the simplest form possible. The white dots on a black background instantly grab the user’s attention.

Move your mouse, and they morph and bounce up and down. The effect is that of a 360-degree video but in a very straightforward format. It’s also fun to move the dots around, so users will stay for a minute and try it out.

4. Bitly

When you arrive on Bitly’s 404 error page, you’ll see a fish upside down in the water. You’ll also notice an animated seagull in the upper left of the screen. The text offers some directions, but it isn’t what makes the page fun.

Instead, you can click on the fish and see the water move as though a wave is passing through. Try to get creative with your 404 games and animations. If you succeed, visitors are more likely to attempt to get to the page they’re looking for.

5. Fornasetti

Actual 404 games can be a bit more involved, such as this one on Fornasetti’s website. When you hit their not found error page, you’ll receive an invitation to play a game. You can go through four levels of play. Each has a different background, and players use a shooting target to try to hit as many plates as possible.

The game is fun and ties into the types of products they sell. You can also share the game with your friends, which is an excellent marketing tactic that gives them referral traffic.

6. Roman Braiser

When it comes to 404 games, Roman Braiser’s is one of our favorites. Little lemmings fall from the sky. If you hover over them, they receive a parachute. If you don’t, they crash to the ground. Try to get as many points as possible by giving them aid.

Users love watching the saved lemmings congregate on the bottom of the screen. When time is up, you can play again or “Return to the site and let them poor lemmings die.” The page is highly entertaining and pulls in the audience.

7. Kualo

Error pages with 404 games love to embrace traditional style games, such as “Pacman” or “Space Invaders.” Kualo has a highly entertaining rendition of “Space Invaders” that goes through a variety of levels. Even when they can’t find what they’re looking for, users will stay engaged for a while. Some people also bookmark this page so that they can come back and play later.

Use the spacebar to shoot at the targets. Then, control the right and left arrow keys to move the blaster where you want it to go. Clear layers of invaders before they reach the bottom and avoid the shots they fire. It’s a pretty simple game but draws in those who love a little nostalgia.

8. Hatched

With so many 404 games on the internet, sometimes you have to get a little creative. Hatched takes a tall building and uses the windows to create an image of the numbers 404. They then tell you to jump off the building and take a chance.

The character lands on his feet, ready to move on to the correct page on the site. It’s a bit disturbing, yet quickly captures the interest of the user. Try it yourself to see if you can stick the landing.

 

Best 404 Games for Your Pages

Which type of 404 games work best for your website depends on your target audience. If most of your customers are Gen-Xers, then a retro game such as “Space Invaders” is a perfect choice. On the other hand, millennials might enjoy something a bit more current or startling. Think about how your audience will react and add your own personal brand of humor. Then, tap into the 404 style that will keep your users engaged.

 

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About the author

Lexie Lu

Hello! My name is Lexie and I have a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. I graduated with a dual major in Creative Writing and Commercial Design, and through those grueling study hours (facilitated by coffee, of course) I always found time to write for myself.

My posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. There’s never a dull moment in the design world!

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