Thursday, 25 August 2016 11:28

Takara and Spells of Genesis: Mobile Games That Can Pay for Your Next Sesh

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Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in states that deal with marijuana with a measured approach – the state I live in has a tax stamp scheme in place that effectively doubles the sentence attached to drug use. Naturally, many in these locales have looked into private, convenient ways to source quality cannabis products and more exotic fare. The answer for some time now has been the Darknet, and I don’t think I have to explain to you the role of Bitcoin in using those markets. Bitcoin has other uses, though: it has outperformed gold and stocks as a long-term investment, it helps many in impoverished countries acquire, retain, and transact wealth despite hyperinflation and dismal economics in their countries, and, more recently, has been integrated into mobile gaming as a less scummy way of monetizing a casual entertainment experience. This is, of course, of great interest to me, and it should be to any of the more casual Stoned Gamers that enjoy our content. Blockchain mobile gaming is still pretty new, and the games I’ll be showcasing are in very early beta, but given time to develop, you might just be able to pay for your next sesh by playing them.

Spells of Genesis

Android users got the first Bitcoin game out of the gate, and I have to say, as someone who normally eschews mobile games as a matter of principal, this one seems to strike a very good balance between fun, micro-transactions, and progression. The core mechanic is simple: fire balls into a physics-enabled box to defeat your adversaries. The strategy entails using billiards trigonometry and dead reckoning to maximize each shot.

The interesting part of the play cycle, however, is the summoning and deck building mechanic, as this is where Bitcoin comes in. Certain rarer cards are tradeable assets on an open market tied to bitcoin, meaning you can sell off your surplus or game the current demand of the meta to make premium in-game currency. That currency isn’t like other in- game coins, though: it has real-world value, and the price is set by the markets, with a market cap of 7 Million USD at the time of writing. You can sell it for bitcoin easily using sites like Shapeshift or Counterparty. Effectively, cards have value as if they were part of a real- world TCG, and you can trade them and make a profit in Bitcoin on them as such.

None of this would matter, though, if the game were an un-fun grind fest. Luckily, though, the deck building, strategy, and monetary stakes put it a cut above your average Candy Crush-style cash vampire. After a week with it, I hadn’t felt the urge to dip into the coffers or been frustrated with the difficulty curve. They even offer an alternate gameplay mode designed to help you get cards quickly, which in turns help along story progression and smooth over the risk-reward of playing a challenging level.

The game has readily apparent appeal to mobile fiends as well as the more relaxed casual crowd, even those thoroughly disinterested with Bitcoin and the functionality it provides to our community. Once the game polishes up to 1.0 release standards, I think it has a good chance of wide appeal, all the better for funding your next Clandestine Amazon Purchase.
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Takara

iOS users rejoice: You aren’t left out in this new mobile gaming phenomenon. Takara is halfway between Pokemon Go and a geocaching app, instead of Pokemon, though, you go out in search of crypto-currency. The value transfer is more direct, too: you just hit up the spot where the bitcoins are, verify that you aren’t spoofing your GPS signal, and then cash in on going out.

May not seem like there’s much to this one, but the fun isn’t intrinsic to interacting with the app. Imagine getting paid to walk to the store instead of taking the car, or picking up a wad of cash sitting on your favorite hiking trail with none of those terrifying 'is this a street gang’s dead drop' implications. The uses of Takara go beyond exploring and geocaching, too. You can start Cicada 3301 style scavenger hunts with the question functionality, or promote a local business by attracting people with BTC.

I’m sure we’ll see more of these emerge with time, as it offers a superior experience to most mobile offerings out there today. It makes sense that they can afford to be less invasive with their micro-transactions, too: their monetization platform is tied to a currency with real value. If people like the game, and it catches on, that value goes up. They make money directly for the game being good, and making sure their investors, which in this case, are also the players, are happy. The Bit of Bitcoin you get as a side effect might just be a hemp-scented side effect, but it’s one I’m going to enjoy thoroughly.

Twila Froude

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