Posted on Jun 07, 2023Read on

Wild Awake is a game, pt. 1

In the heyday of the bull market, every group of people working on something together became a DAO. Everything was ‘emergent strategy’, but now - in the midst of the bear market - it’s more fashionable to question whether a DAO can even function without centralized decision making. Why did we all think that DAOs could allow people to work on things in a fully emergent way? Was it just the positive wave of the bull market? There’s an argument that a lot of it was to do with what can be called ‘gamification.’

In the true sense of the word, it means that elements from the gaming world are brought into play outside of that ecosystem. This can be seen in a lot of PFP projects, which were all about bounties, treasures, rewards, and more. There’s a danger here, however, which is that everything revolves around the the score and reward system. And if we look at games, we see that some of the most popular games have a very different approach: focused more on investigation, creation, collaboration, and development (of a character, world, or system). So how do you take ‘open-world’ gameplay outside of the gaming world and into, for example, the music ecosystem?

DALL·E 2's interpretation of 'emergent strategy' in a pencil and watercolor style

How do we play a game together when we don’t know the rules of the game yet?

Recently, the latest Legend of Zelda game came out, called Tears of the Kingdom. Similar to its predecessor, it’s an open-world game. The whole gameplay encourages exploration and experimentation. It works, because players operate within the confines of the game. It’s open, but there’s rules.

What we’re doing with Wild Awake is to see what it means to create an open-world game inside the ecosystem of Web3 music. We started with an idea, found a home for it, and started gathering the first players - the artists. We helped them to learn the base rules to even be able to play the game and told them to start exploring.

And that’s the interesting part: in order to play a game where you don’t know the rules yet, the first thing to do is to set some rules that everyone involved will play by. With Wild Awake, we kept that simple. Five artists, five tracks, 12 editions of each track and then go. That’s the confines - for now - where the experiment takes place.

Delight and surprise

Those rules don’t make for an exciting game, though. Along the way, players need to find delight and feel surprise. How we try to build that into Wild Awake is first through human connection. We have the musicians releasing music during Wild Awake, and connected them with collectors and other supporters of the experiment. Together we all figure out what we can do to add value to an artist’s journey as they work within the confines that we set.

Before C O N T X T released the first drop during Wild Awake, the game was mostly how to create a community feeling. There’s a Telegram chat which mostly focused around sharing music and learning about the blockchain, crypto wallets, gas fees, etc. Doing this together, meant that it’s not always clear where information will come from. It sounds small, but those little moments of connection were what drove delight in the group.

Now, in the middle of Wild Awake, we see the first two artists create their own human connections with their collectors. Will this fit within the structure of the Wild Awake game? Or, will those become different games, focused around C O N T X T or simmerdown? Going back to the open-world gameplay that we model Wild Awake on, both options would work as players create their own paths. Wild Awake allows people to explore and it’s in that exploration that the moments of delight and surprise are found.


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