A world full of treasure

Occasionally, I play a game that makes me see things, even when I’m not playing the game. 

Okay, so maybe that’s the illicit substances talking, but humor me.

For example, after playing Tetris for 2 hours straight, sometimes I’ll start mentally fitting together the groceries in the trunk of my car to clear lines.  And if you’ve ever played Meteos for extended periods of time, you will surely understand that, when I saw a wall of randomly colored bricks, I imagined how glorious it would be to line up those three yellows and launch the whole wall into space.  (If you have not played Meteos, then that probably just confirms the illicit substances thing)

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has experienced this.  (But hey, I was also sure that everybody had dreams of being a piece of broccoli in the American civil war.  Turns out it’s just me.)  Video games have a way of getting stuck in my head like a bad song, but even more so, since I usually don’t play the same bad song over and over until I’ve memorized every note.  (Unless there happens to be a 2 year old who loves Dora the Explorer living in the apartment above you.  Their TV is really loud…)  I do, however, attempt to beat a boss in Castlevania until I’ve memorized his(or her, or its) every move and know, just by muscle memory, exactly how to react to anything he(or her, or it) can throw at me.

However, this is usually something limited to my own perception of the game.  Most games don’t encourage (or even acknowledge) this. 

Then came Treasure World. 

If you don’t know, Treasure World is a game for the Nintendo DS that involves (surprisingly) acquiring immense amounts of treasure by exploring the world.  The thing that separates this game from other games of the same genre (Animal Crossing, MySims, etc.)  is that the world that’s full of treasure is the real world.

You see, Treasure World seeks out wifi points, and when it finds one, it gives you a little piece of treasure in the game.  This could be anything from furniture, to trees, to miniature versions of famous landmarks, to new clothing for your avatar.  Each treasure goes into a category (constellation, cluster, or galaxy) that, when completed, gives you even MORE stuff.  Thus, you are encouraged to explore your world and find new treasures…to get more treasures. 

I’m usually against this sort of non-game content.  My view is that it panders to the hoarder/stuff collector in all of us.  But this one is a bit different in my mind.  It gives you a reason to go outside and have your own adventures, even if it’s just walking down a different street than you usually would.  It also turns mundane, every-day activities into a secret treasure hunt.

The (possibly unintended) side effect of this is that I’ve started viewing the world as a series of potential X’s in the sand.  Apartments have become gold mines, business complexes (compleces?) have taken on an entirely different value, and even walking the dog has the ability to get me more stuff

I’ve also started evaluating my chances of finding invisible loot in a given area, especially since I can only walk so far in a day.  Things like condominiums and town homes take on a whole new meaning (well off people compacted into a small area = treasure treasure TREASURE), and I’ve even started looking for alternate routes to walk home that might contain more wifi friendly residences or businesses, just in case I can scavenge that rare piece of winter coral, or a new bizarre pose for my avatar.

This makes it one of the few games that makes me interpret the world in an entirely different way.  I’d even argue that it’s almost one of a kind in this way. (Boktai makes you go outside to win but it’s more of an on/off thing than a perception of reality.  Booyah Society is more of an achievements system than anything, essentially assigning a points value to real life activities that should have a value of their own[which is an entirely different post {this is called overuse of parenthetical remarks, kids!}])   Assigning value to arbitrary things within a game is normal practice; assigning value to arbitrary things in REALITY, however, is pretty revolutionary.

Or maybe it’s just addictive.  But it sure got me, and I’ve been a lot more willing to walk the dog since I picked this game up.

So now, when you see a sign that says “Free Wifi Access,” think of me.  And maybe give me a GPS location too.  I’m still looking for that fireman hat.

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  1. #1 by ade on August 17, 2009 - 1:46 PM

    SOO great you’re writing (again). The game is pretty awesome too ;)

  2. #2 by Jess on August 18, 2009 - 9:22 PM

    DUDE. You’ve had a blog for like all eternity and I didn’t know about it? LAMESAUCE. Clearly, I don’t stalk you enough. Which is probably good because I think there’s something wrong with stalking your brother.

    Also, way to use jumps and shit like a real blogger. That’s like, professional or something.

  3. #3 by monkeyvault on August 18, 2009 - 9:27 PM

    OH DUDE remember that time I was gonna call you, and that time was known as tonight?

    WELL LOOK AT THIS, I DIDN’T CALL YOU.

    But I’ll call you tomorrow. I’m like. Setting an alarm on my phone right now that says “Call Clint You Dumbass,” and it’s set for like. I don’t know, I haven’t set the time yet. Don’t pressure me.

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