Friday, September 25, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

This was a busy week. posted a great interview on their GeekDad blog about the board game documentary I'm working on. Through that, I learned of the massive progress made on Under the Boardwalk, a documentary about Monopoly and the Monopoly World Championships. I'd first seen mention of it on IndieGoGo almost a year ago, but they have been rocking and rolling since then, and have a great-looking teaser trailer up! In some circles, Monopoly is the arch-enemy of designer board gaming, but if you ask me, there's room for everyone in this world.

The Wired interview paired with a shout-out on the Double Down Film Show (/highfive to the Down and Dirty DV MAN, Anthony!) got me focused back on my documentary efforts in a big way. I'm nailing down some interviews I've put off for far too long, and getting my Essen plans as solidified as possible....

...while sealing gates by night in Oblivion! Even if they are the WRONG gates. OK, so there was a closer gate to Anvil than the one I sealed. It was still a threat, and those ingrates could repay me by sending a few troops to Bruma. Not until I close the other "gate right outside Anvil?" Very well, but it's not like you'll be needing them for that; I'll close this gate single-handedly, as I always do, like the hero I am. :)

My saddest recent moment was discovering that Bethesda doesn't apparently sell Oblivion shirts and merchandise anymore. Or at least, the store link wasn't working. So sad. I'll have to make my own shirt, I guess. I brake for clouded funnel-caps would be nice.

And speaking of Monopoly, my empire in Monopoly City Streets is going alright. I managed to snag Broad Street, but some knave built a prison on my E. Dunstable Road. The nerve! I retaliated with a sewage treatment plant for their Royal Crest Drive. But as it turned out, I was able to neutralize the rent-sucking powers of the prison by...building a school on the same road. hmmm. There's just something deeply wrong about that, but now I'm collecting rent on E. Dunstable Road again, so I guess all's well that ends well.

And now I'm just getting word that Moscow has opened up on Mafia Wars. Oh great, that's just what I needed...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Monopoly City Streets

One of the coolest new mashups I've seen in a long time is EA's Monopoly City Streets promotion. In order to advertise the launch of the Monopoly City Streets board game, they've turned the world of Google Maps into a giant Monopoly game. Players can buy streets in their own home town, build buildings, and collect rent on them. All for free.

Your own personal Park Place

The allure is in pretending to own areas you're familiar with, and the first launch attempt had 1.7 million players from all over the world swamping the servers. The relaunch seems to be much more stable, and right now I'm impatiently awaiting midnight GMT to see my coffers replenished and make my next move.

I could envision this as the next leap in the MMO genre. Initial problems mostly have to do with people making duplicate accounts and cheating, something that a monthly or even just a purchase fee would reduce. The game would have to get a lot more complex to warrant a subscription fee, but I'll bet they're thinking about how to pull that off right now.

If they charged, say, $10 to create an account, then yes, a lot of that initial 1.7 million people would have stayed away (I wouldn't have; I'd easily pay that). Say just 500,000 of them were up for a $10 entry fee. That's still $5 million dollars. Or maybe they take the Zynga route and make most of the game free, with an option for micro-transactions via virtual currency. Who knows where that would go, but the track record on those models so far is excellent.

Leaderboards lead you to the right location for building that new sewage plant

It's quite possible the game in its current state is too rife with cheating to be fun; I don't know yet, because I've barely just started, but so far it's fun. I think many of the problems a free game suffers from would be reduced with almost any sort of pay model and account validation controls. I'm very interested to see where it all goes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Extract - with Beavis and Butthead

Props to my man Frelorn for discovering a Youtube vid at 0 comments and 15 views! That's like embryonic stage!