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.