If many games are about the 'fantasy of labor' to use @metasynthie's term, it feels like many of these crypto games are about the 'fantasy of investment'.
You can be an investor, the only way to get ahead: put money in, click some game-like buttons, and amazing returns come out
And in the zeitgeist of the Fall of the American Empire, it is the last standing American dream: Put money in the market and, through the magic of unrestrained capitalism, gain wealth, power, and respect. Maybe enough to retire. With healthcare. In New Zealand.
Aspects of the fantasy
- There will be an amazing return on investment.
- Other (stupid) people don't get it. Which leaves more for you.
- Unrestrained capitalism is good for the world ( (In the P2E space, 'charity to the poors' is repeated with great fervor)
It is clearly a powerful player fantasy that we see repeated in other contexts
- This is the same promise made to day traders.
- And to various systems sold to angel investors
- Common advice to start investing at age 20 so you can live on a golf course at age 65
The audience for this fantasy includes
- The rich: Lots of money they can play with
- The desperate: Little money but deep fantasy buy-in
- The managers: A managerial class who imagines if they had control over the purse, they coulda woulda been awesome. (see Axie 'managers')
As a fantasy, it tries to remove a lot of the pain that comes from the real act of investment.
- Minimal loss. The market goes up (and you are smart enough to get out before it goes down)
- No complex strategies. Simple performative actions that anyone can do.
- Labor is happy
Anyway, it is clear that this is a real fantasy for maybe 250k - 1M people with stupid deep pockets.

The tech of crypto? That's theming and messaging. Focus on satisfying the player fantasy.

After all, that's what games do. With cartoon models of a real yet unreachable thing

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More from @danctheduck

5 Sep
History is littered with the twitching corpses of cash-rich outsiders who looked at games and said, "All we have to do to win is the EASY PART: Make a game."
"I invested billions in this cool hardware! Now let's do the EASY PART."
"I have this great movie IP! Now let's do the EASY PART."
Read 7 tweets
15 Aug
I am wary of narrative BS driving tech trends.

Storytelling only needs to *feel* like it makes sense. But it never needs to produce solutions that function in the real world.

For those interested in the metaverse, VR, AR, etc, it is worth looking back at 'virtual worlds'
Virtual worlds had a clear narrative example that almost everyone referenced, the Holodeck.

There were over 50 episodes that described in lush detail the types of experiences you could have in a virtual space.

People watched them. And imagined 'what if this was real?'
The result was a flurry of investment in virtual spaces. 3D avatars, 3D chat rooms, 3D malls, 3D platforms. Remember VRML?

They were building what they'd seen.
Read 9 tweets
14 Feb
Every once in a while I return to an older essay to see if I still agree with Past Me. This is one on reaching broader audiences, multiplayer and how games achieve cultural significance.

In the ensuing years, the market shifted rather decisively towards many of these trends.
- Multiplayer is now a dominant driver of revenue.
- Streamers market the emotion of gameplay
- Mobile and casual markets exploded with some games reaching hundreds of millions.
But as is the lesson with most technological shifts, it is a matter 'And', not 'Or'. We still have single players games. We still have traditional male markets. We still have niches who feels ignored by the broader culture.
Read 4 tweets
13 Feb
A great blindness of technologies is how easily they are coopted by systems of values.
The Internet, for example, is this wonderful bundle of connectivity technologies and standards.
But despite early marketing, there is nothing inherently about it that makes it Open. Or Free. Or Good.
These were true. Until they weren't. You can censor the internet. You can use it for evil. You can twist it to the needs of a specific regime.
Read 11 tweets
9 Feb
Scaling human systems beyond the natural constraints of how humans scale is almost always unethical.
Some natural human constraints that I've looked into seem to be:
- Number and strength of human relationships (Dunbar)
- Rate at which relationships and trust develops
You can't just 'friend' someone and make friends. That may work for a database. It does not work for human biology.
Read 9 tweets
30 Dec 20
The joke goes: An expert game designer is 20x more effective than a newbie. They are correct 20% of the time instead of 1%.

Why are game designers wrong 80% of the time? 🧵
Sometimes they are wrong by a little. Sometimes by a lot. Is it poor planning? Are they morons? An expert painter does not produce a completely broken picture 80% of the time. Why is this so hard?
I lay a lot of blame on the much larger gap between authoring a thing, experiencing the thing and revising.
- Many types of media (like drawing or painting) allow for real-time 'self-playtesting' with the author as the playtester.
- Game design does not.
Read 20 tweets

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