The highs and lows of the experiment's first week.
The much-publicized first release from Peter Molyneux's new studios 22Cans, Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube has had its technical ups and downs, ignited plenty of debate about whether this is a game or just a tremendous waste of time, and will no doubt result in more than a few touchscreen repairs for Apple HQ.
You can't say it hasn't been an interesting experience though, and we wanted to end the first week with a light-hearted look back at what's happened so far.
Things got off to a surprising start for Molyneux himself when he discovered on Tuesday morning that the game had been released to the App Store by Apple two days earlier than expected. Being a couple of thousand miles away at an Israeli technology conference, he nevertheless managed to share a few tantalizing stats before racing back home to a team of no-doubt anxious developers.
Once the tapping had begun in earnest, it didn't take too long for a surprising number of player archetypes to rear their heads. Whether you're the kind of person who likes to ruin other people's carefully cleared out cubelets, or just create profanity for the world to admire, it's safe to say that this incredibly simple game still managed to out a fair few personality types.
And then it happened. Or, rather, it became apparent that the first 100 million taps were about to reveal what looked suspiciously like a lava lamp. At the time of writing, tens of millions of additional taps have now revealed what appears to be the world's largest patch of red. There's still time for some distinctive artwork to appear though, so don't stop tapping.
It's certainly been a peculiar and intriguing first few days of the experiment, but we can't help feeling it's going to take a little more than jpegs to keep the motivation going, assuming this experiment is to reach its ultimate, supposedly life-changing, conclusion. If there really are 64 billion cubelets to be chipped away in total, at the current rate of destruction we'll discover what lies at the center of the cube at some point in June 2016.
Don't forget though that at his keynote address at this year's Eurogamer Expo in London, Molyneux himself revealed that the rules may be tweaked over time. Perhaps we'll find ourselves making greater destructive progress with a single tap than we have in these very early days.
If gamers have been left with mixed feelings over this game-that-may-not-be-a-game, just as interesting are the musings from the industry. Earlier this week we polled some of the finest minds in mobile gaming for their thoughts on the app, and their predictions for what might lie at the center of the cube. While most acknowledged that Curiosity's genuinely curious appeal was beyond debate and a mark of success, others were a little more forthright.
"What's the proposition here exactly, to see how much bullshit can be generated without having to write a good game?" pondered Paul Johnson of Rubicon Development. Not a fan.
Finally, here are a few more mind-boggling stats, correct at the time of publishing, to highlight the amount of free time currently weighing down the shoulders of humanity:
- There are 9,807,253 cubelets to be chipped away before the next layer is removed.
- A total of 562,640 people have made at least one tap on the surface of the cube.
- An eye-watering 191,322,795 taps have been made in total.
- On average, each player makes 85 taps each day.