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Does Molyneux’s Curiosity remind anyone else of Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker? I haven’t played either, mind you. I just can’t get past thinking Molyneux is somewhere laughing his head off at everyone playing his new “game” (which, as I understand it, consists of tapping on a single, shared giant cube to erode it away until someone, somewhere, reveals the “secret” inside, which I predict is going to be “Remember to drink your Ovaltine”).

If you’re not familiar with Cow Clicker, it’s kind of a parody of Facebook games. You have a cow and you can click on it once every 6 hours to earn clicks. You can read more about it at Bogost’s post but essentially he is (I think, don’t mean to put words in his mouth) illuminating how little game there is (or was, times are a’changing) in Facebook games.

Molyneux’s title is getting press everywhere because he’s Molyneux I guess. And because he talks a good game (pun most definitely intended). So we get quotes like:

“The concept is, ‘Is the power of Curiosity enough to drive the world?,’” Molyneux explained, describing Curiosity’s conceptual origins. “Because now, mobile connects people together in a way we’ve never been able to before to solve a mystery and the mystery is what is hidden inside this big, black cube. Initially it’s black, but as it gets chipped away, there are going to be many images that are going to be coming across the cube, but what you do essentially is just chip away. Is just the power of mystery enough to drive people to find out what’s in the center?”

(From With Curiosity, Peter Molyneux Explores Whether A Cube Can Capture The World’s Attention over at TechCrunch.)

What really fascinates me is that you can spend real money on tools that help you erode the cube faster. I’d love to know how many people are spending money on this stuff. There’s a Diamond Chisel that apparently sells for the equivalent of $80,000 and I’m sure it’s in there as a lark. An Iron Chisel costs the equivalent of $8 and lets you destroy nine chunks at a time for 5 minutes. Pricey stuff. (Data lifted from The hidden truth of enigmatic experimental game Curiosity at VentureBeat.)

You can get Curiosity on Android and iOS, I’m told. Consider it an opinionated decision that I’m not going to bother to provide links to it. I kind of hate that this game exists, for reasons that I haven’t quite figured out yet.



Comment:
1
  • The execution is kind of comical, and I can certainly see how looking at it might raise concerns, but I think that unlike “Cow Clicker”, which was specifically a parody, this is…more psychological? It’s working because it’s blatantly using and admitting that its goal is to get you to click. WHY it wants you to click is the psychology part, and when you step back, it’s not any different from the current “achievement” culture that the game industry is riding.

    People like to get stuff by doing stuff. The more simple the action they have to take, the more open they are to doing it for a reward, and they can even overlook the fact that the prize is a mystery. If they had to jump through all kinds of hoops, the “risk vs reward” certainly wouldn’t be there, but the barrier is low, and the payoff could be anything as far as they know.