“What’s inside the cube?”
Peter Molyneux’s new game (maybe “experience” is a better fit?) is all about human curiosity. Can the entire world work together, each doing their part of a repetitive, mundane task with the promise of a grand reward for just one player at the end? Curiosity debuted on the App Store just two days ago, and things are already off to a good start.
So there’s this cube. Everyone in the world chips away at the same giant cube by tapping away one block at a time. The first layer – which, after a mere day and a half, is already nearly destroyed as of this writing – had a billion cubelets. Billion with a B. And it’s almost gone.
You earn coins by breaking cubes. These coins can be used to purchase items that let you break cubes faster. There’s also a sort of combo mechanic where I think(?) you just tap as fast as you can to get coin multipliers. And there are a few “coming soon” items and, presumably, paid DLC. Coins or items, we’re not really sure what kind of DLC Molyneux and company will go for. There’s one item in the game – the Diamond Chisel – that is apparently so powerful that the description won’t even describe exactly what it does. But it does cost 3,000,000,000 coins.
Molyneux has previously said that he will sell the Diamond Chisel for £50,000 as a one-off DLC, and then the buyer has the choice whether or not to use social media to tell everyone else exactly how great it is. Not to rip off gamers, he says, but basically to see if anyone is actually curious enough to pay that much for something that we don’t even know what it does.
And here’s the crux: social media sharing. When the last cubelet is broken, one person will get a video link telling him or her what is in the center. According to developers 22Cans, what that one person will see in the center is “life-changingly amazing.” The video link can be shared, or it can be kept for themselves. They can do anything they want with it except sell it.
Also, this is the first of 22 social experiments 22Cans will be releasing over the coming weeks/months/years. With Molyneux on board, who knows what kind of strange places these experiments will visit.
My take: Peter Molyneux is a guy with some huge ideas that are best when focused to a single element. No matter how many Fable games he made, he was never quite able to achieve what he promised or hoped for with any of them. Smartphone apps are the perfect creative canvas for some things that have never been tried before – that couldn’t have been tried before. Social media and a persistent online worldwide world didn’t exist 10 years ago. Online gaming in a handheld didn’t exist 10 years ago.
The biggest boon to Molyneux on our phones is that he doesn’t even to worry about making “games” in the traditional sense anymore. He can make experiences, and social experiments, and just play with the ways people interact with one another as this master puppeteer pulling our strings from behind his magical idea curtain. Sure, he’s kind of a weirdo. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about getting back into that cube clicking wonder world right now. We’re almost to the second layer! I can write stuff on the wall again for everyone to see!
I am way too excited about this. But we all are. There haven’t been a lot of truly new gaming experiences in a long time. Molyneux’s dream of having 100 million people playing his game at one time doesn’t seem so inconceivable after all. That is, if the servers would quit crashing for a while; I’ve lost a lot of coins because there are already just too many people playing this thing. You can’t blame us, though – there hasn’t been a game like this since Noby Noby Boy.
Let’s all tap away and find out what’s inside, shall we?
[Update: In the time it took me to write this post, we made it to the second layer. It’s blood red. And the experiement is just beginning…]
— Iain Wilson (@wilbossman) November 7, 2012