WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!

We haven’t really covered Peter Molyneux and 22Cans’ iOS/Android game Curiosity – What’s Inside The Cube? here on OSP, mainly because it’s a “multiplayer” “game”.

“Multiplayer”, because you are technically playing with other people, even if you never directly interact with them, and “game”, because it’s more of a digitally interactive exploration of human psychological than a traditional game.

But still, it’s pretty wildly popular for those out there with smart devices strapped to their flesh-parts, so I am going to delve in and try to predict WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!

First, a little overview.

I have been digiting away at the cube now for an amount of hours that reveals the quality of my social life. The “gameplay” is very simple – tap cubes all the cubes until they disappear. It’s got a rudimentary – if fiddly – chain system for earning coins, which can be used to purchase tools, but it’s so barely interactive that I have a tough time qualifying this as a game. Also, there is some chilled out music. However, the whole thing isn’t an entirely unpleasant experience.

So, it’s a little like a game, then.

To be fair, Molyneux himself prefers to call it an “experiment”.

And I can see why. People are tattling away at this rather monotonous task at an astounding rate. The first six days has brought over three quarters of a million people – so many that the servers couldn’t handle it and promptly carked themselves on day one. Many large, mainstream titles have a tough time breaking the 750,000 mark in the first month, let alone the first week. Yes, it’s a mobile program, and yes, it’s free, but 766,570 players in week one is truly massive in this niche.

Molyneux says that “what is inside the cube is life-changingly amazing by any definition”

So what’s in the cube?

As writing, after 6 days, 2 layers have been removed, with a total of 277,641,096 cubelets destroyed. All because people want to know what’s in the mystery box.

What a waste of time. We could be harnessing our spare time to help create vaccines, or unlock the genetic genesis of our species, but no. Instead we’re wasting our time tapping on some damn regular hexahedron just because we want to solve some mystery.

So, without further ado, and so we can all go back to diagnosing and curing hereditary illness or whatever, I shall reveal my top six estimates for what is inside the cube (six, get it? Because a cube has six sides?).

6. Some pseudo-philosophical quote by someone famous about the nature of humanity and its unquenchable thirst for knowledge

We like reducing inspiration into words said by other people. It’s neat and convenient and doesn’t take as much effort as thinking about words ourselves does. Some 2deep4u statement about how humanity has striven for and achieved the next unknowable goal that is both inspirational and a little nostalgic for mystery, probably about space or science. Maybe by some Renaissance artist or 20th century scientist. Remember Trials HD‘s easter eggs? All those secrets pointing towards some deep truth and then WHAM! Hey guys, it’s really about how people want to answer the unknown. It’ll probably be like that, but with a quote.

5. An elaborate torture chamber

Maybe Molyneux will surprise us all and break free of his family-friendly perception by simulating seven little people trapped inside a Kafkaesque death-machine, controlled by players. One by one the people inside will explore different coloured rooms and die gruesomely to horrible but innovative mathematically based traps, all while discovering significant truths about the workings of the human psyche. After all, Molyneux has stated in Eurogamer that “[t]here is something we haven’t told everybody about when you play the cube. When you play the cube you’re also doing something else. You don’t realise you’re doing it… You’re not just doing things in the cube. You don’t realise it but you’re doing something in something else as well at the same time.” Or maybe I’m just thinking about a different cube.

4. Proof that Molyneux is an alien

Molyneux said that whatever is in the cube would be life-changing. What would be more life-changing than proof of alien civilisations? And why not Molyneux himself? He does seem awfully interested in studying how humans react to experiments. Peter Molyneux may be manipulating the human race into revealing the long-hidden truth of his personal extraterrestrial origins.

3. A dead cat

They say curiosity killed the cat, so what better to put inside the cube than a dead cat? That would make a statement about the performance of a repetitive mundane task for unknown reward and perils of human curiosity. As metaphors go, it’s not the most complex, but it would be traditional. Or maybe Schrödinger was right? I don’t know about you, but I’d also settle for a box full of fluffy kittens. Alive, preferably.

2. A hint about the next Molyneux game

There will almost certainly be more games by 22Cans and Peter Molyneux. He has said as much in the past. What better place to reveal the next title than through the cube? It would be like a global ARG of sorts of the kind much lauded by Valve fans every time something comes along with a three in the title/date/anything remotely to do with three. It would generate untold hype and exposure, if it manages to escape the bugbear of high expectations and ill-will for the sheer arrogance of calling his next game life-changing. Maybe it’s Half-Life 3?

1. A picture of the world outside, and all the things you have missed in it while you were pointlessly expending your remaining minutes tapping a glass screen

Go outside, you pasty creature, and think about all the time you wasted feeling up your latest device when you could have been improving yourself in some meaningful way. Seriously, you could have been reading a book or something, instead of getting pretty-coloured RSI.

Anyway, those are my cynical predictions. I’m going to go back to my own phone now and keep endlessly tap tap tapping, trying to make all the orange blocks go away and decidedly not helping the starving.

On a serious note, I don’t want to come across as disdainful of Curiosity – I feel the exact opposite. I respect its execution and its deft marketing. It’s brave, it’s simple, it’s emotionally engaging, and it deserves attention. Some would say it’s a powerful study of human compulsion and drive. Others would say it’s blatant exploitation and manipulation. If nothing else, Curiosity is certainly a testament to the quest for knowledge. Even I can get behind that idea.

Lachlan Williams
Former Editor in Chief of OnlySP. A guy who writes things about stuff, apparently. Recovering linguist, blue pencil surgeon, and professional bishie sparkler. In between finding the latest news, reviewing PC games, and generally being a grumpy bossyboots, he likes to watch way too much Judge Judy. He perhaps has too much spare time on his hands. Based in Sydney, Australia. Follow him on twitter @lawksland.

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19 Comments

  1. I don&#039t think it would be a hint to the next game as the person that taps the last block gets to choose to disclose the information of what&#039s inside the cube or not. Why would he leave it up to someone who may or may not reveal something like that, when he could tweet a hint about the next game instead?

    1. It would be interesting to see how people would respond to said rumour. Imagine if someone opened the box and it was a reveal for Black & White 3, Fable 4, or even the confirmation of Microsoft&#039s next console? Only one member of the public would know about it, and could attempt to circulate this information to the rest of the world. The question is, how many of us would believe him or her if this was the case? I&#039m curious… aren&#039t you?

  2. I don't think it would be a hint to the next game as the person that taps the last block gets to choose to disclose the information of what's inside the cube or not. Why would he leave it up to someone who may or may not reveal something like that, when he could tweet a hint about the next game instead?

    1. It would be interesting to see how people would respond to said rumour. Imagine if someone opened the box and it was a reveal for Black & White 3, Fable 4, or even the confirmation of Microsoft's next console? Only one member of the public would know about it, and could attempt to circulate this information to the rest of the world. The question is, how many of us would believe him or her if this was the case? I'm curious… aren't you?

  3. Hmm keep reviewing single player games please. Because reading this review was far more useless than participating in the very interesting technological experiment which Curiosity is: trying to keep the state in sync of an object which consists of millions of parts over thousands of clients. They even succeeded in making even more people participate. The idea that this would be sort of a single player thing… just makes me lol. failreview.

    1. Keep in mind that this is not a review, it&#039s an editorial. Not only that, but it&#039s not meant to be taken completely seriously.

      Also, Molyneux is very influential in the world of single-player gaming, so to me this has at least some relevance here. That said, we welcome the feedback! :)

  4. Hmm keep reviewing single player games please. Because reading this review was far more useless than participating in the very interesting technological experiment which Curiosity is: trying to keep the state in sync of an object which consists of millions of parts over thousands of clients. They even succeeded in making even more people participate. The idea that this would be sort of a single player thing… just makes me lol. failreview.

    1. Keep in mind that this is not a review, it's an editorial. Not only that, but it's not meant to be taken completely seriously.

      Also, Molyneux is very influential in the world of single-player gaming, so to me this has at least some relevance here. That said, we welcome the feedback! :)

  5. I&#039m with you on the cat thing Michael. Seems very clever and something I could totally see Molyneux doing. Good thinking.

    1. But… I didn&#039t write this post. 0_0

      1. Oh, CRAP how did I do that lol? Must have been reading one of your posts right before. Sorry Lachan. I don&#039t know you but good job with this post. You get two Milin thumbs up bud.

        1. Ha. Thanks!

  6. I'm with you on the cat thing Michael. Seems very clever and something I could totally see Molyneux doing. Good thinking.

    1. But… I didn't write this post. 0_0

      1. Oh, CRAP how did I do that lol? Must have been reading one of your posts right before. Sorry Lachan. I don't know you but good job with this post. You get two Milin thumbs up bud.

        1. Ha. Thanks!

  7. Peter molyneux should try creating compelling experience like fable 1.Come on guy this not a true form of gaming in my opinion.

  8. Peter molyneux should try creating compelling experience like fable 1.Come on guy this not a true form of gaming in my opinion.

  9. i’d like to think that in the middle of the cube is the room the cube is in… confusin i know but there is no way to understand this consept properly

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