Peter Molyneux has a reputation within the games industry for undertaking unwisely grand projects and ultimately being foiled by his own overreaching ambition. In that spirit, he’s stepped away from making bizarre god games or a sub-par series of action RPGs in favour of his newest social experiment in the guise of a game – Curiosity, the world’s greatest bubble wrap simulator.
I am of course being facetious, but not terribly so. Curiosity, if you haven’t heard of it, centres around a huge cube hooked up to servers, which block by tiny block can be chiselled away at by all the connected participants.
The point of said chiselling is to reveal what is at the centre of the block, which remains, for now, a secret only to be revealed to the person that chisels the final block. This being Mr. Molyneux, there’s no doubt he’ll have squandered the opportunity for this “life-changing secret” to be something truly amazing in favour of a small picture of a wooden duck or something equally as banal. Still, it’s an interesting idea and certainly seems to have people interested with as many as 5,000 people connected at once.
There are a few problems with connectivity, but that’s hardly the developer’s fault – server load is an unfortunate reality in today’s increasingly online connected games market, and if that means the occasional timeout well so be it. It’s still an excellent concept and I’m very happy with the idea of bring players together through communal projects.
Of course, it isn’t the first time constructive tasks have been undertaken by a game’s players – players succeeded in securing the early release of Portal 2 in 2011 by buying a bundle of indie games in great enough quantities. They also collaborate on smaller levels through creative titles like Minecraft and Terraria, working together to construct grand projects and explore a procedurally generated world. All these games are great fun and make me wonder just why we don’t see more community-driven experiments with the medium.
The interactivity of gaming makes for a way of uniting people towards a common goal. Curiosity is good, but it could just be the tip of the iceberg; imagine using community collaboration to come up with new inventions, create virtual systems of government or solve the great mysteries of the universe? Well, perhaps that’s a little far off. Perhaps the key to it lies within Molyneux’s Cube.