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ARTICLE

The many “firsts” in crypto gaming

Seems like every other crypto game is “the first” at something. We revisit a few of those who (ab)used this buzzword.

“First” was king among buzzwords in crypto game marketing in 2018. Runners up were “revolutionary,” “ownership” and “pre-sale”. But “first” is a classic. A gem of the English language that was not popularized by crypto games nor exclusive to the industry either. And since “firsts” are exciting and give readers instant fomo, this industry – who’s all about attracting users’ investments as quick as possible – predictably beat the word “first” to death.

It used to mean something – now it’s just a cheap cliche invoked by anyone to make their product sound edgy and innovative. Did we say anyone? We meant everyone. Today Gameunculus thought he would poke a little fun at all the games that advertised as “firsts,” and become the first to make a list of all the firsts. Now, plenty of them out there really were the first of their kind – we are by no means saying they lied. But boy did some teams stretch the normal definition of the word!

Without further ado, we present: a collection of firsts.

Self-proclaimed firsts

CryptoKitties

“CryptoKitties is one of the world’s first games to be built on blockchain technology” – Kitties landing page

There really is no other place to start. CryptoKitties was, legitimately, one of the world’s first blockchain games, as they put it. But its claim to fame derives more from the fact that they were the first massively popular crypto game. They sparked the trend. They made it mainstream. They broke Ethereum. This earned them a kind of faux reputation as “the first ever” blockchain game in the collective crypto consciousness; even though CryptoPunks predates it by 5 months, (June of 2017), and HunterCoin, arguably the first cryptogame ever, predates it by nearly 4 years.

“CryptoKitties! CryptoKitties, it’s Marvin. Your cousin, Marvin Kitties. You know that new gaming concept you’re looking for? Well, listen to THIS!”

CryptoWars

“CryptoWars is the first strategy game to fully run on smart contracts” – CryptoWars’ landing page.

This game has just launched in alpha less than two weeks ago, and their Medium announcement rephrases the claim as “the first fully decentralized strategy game”. Gameunculus honestly wasn’t so sure about this one – is it possible they may have been the first to start development? Sure. Seems they started coding a year ago at least. But they’re not the first strategy game to go live... the definition of a first is kinda bent here. For example CryptoCities is also a strategy game, and it dates from at least February 2018, and arrived at Dappradar in March, while CryptoWars was first listed in June…

Well, worst case scenario they can still call themselves the first game on Experimental. Kudos for that.

Imperial Throne

“Imperial Throne is the world’s first strategic war game running entirely on Ethereum.” – Imperial Throne’s Medium

Also known as Iron Throne, Incredible Throne, Immunochemical Throne and iThrone, this game makes quite a specific claim. First strategic war game, you guys. Ok… I mean, is Crypto Wars not a war game? Jeez.

Iron Throne recently kicked off their pre-sale, indicating that they sold their ten Legendary-Heimdall cards only 6 minutes in, which is not bad at all. The numbers are looking good with Imperial Throne, but Gameunculus advises you to always be wary, because anything can happen!

Lordmancer II

“The first mobile MMO RPG where players can trade with crypto” – Lordmancer’s landing page

Ah, the mighty Lordmancer II! This is a game that set an even more specific goal for itself: first crypto mobile MMORPG. And yes, that’s definitely something that you would wanna hype, because MMORPGs are an immensely popular game genre. That being said… it can’t be the selling point itself, you have to back it up with something! If you go to their webpage, those words will hit you like the THX sound effect in a movie theater: WE’RE THE FIRST ONES TO DO THIS, YOU GUYS!

How did it go for them? Well, you be the judge: they’re shutting down soon. Were they really the first mobile crypto MMORPG? Hey, maybe. But Gameunculus thinks you can’t rely entirely on just being the first if you’re not developing a strong product. That’s douchy. Now they’re just Lordmancer II, the first crypto-mobile-MMORPG-that-ceased-to-exist. They get some points for that, I guess?

Magic Academy

“The world’s first idle blockchain game based on TRON network” – TRON’s Medium and Justin Sun’s Twitter account

Justin Sun, TRON’s CEO, took to Twitter to announced Magic Academy’s release and seized the opportunity to called it the first idle game on TRON. Magic Academy is in fact the first game to come out on TRON, so technically he’s right – but does it mean he has to post it everywhere?

Token Tycoon

“World’s first blockchain tycoon simulation game” – Token Tycoon’s landing page

Token Tycoon’s title sounds rather vague and ad-hoc, but we won’t challenge it cause EVERYBODY was going along with it. News sources, portals, posts, everybody. But in our humble opinion the game should be famous not for that. Token Tycoon is a legal successor of Ether Online, which had a sold-out during the pre-sale… and nothing happened, cause the game crashed very soon. Players were disappointed and asked for reimbursements, and the devs promised to compensate every penny in their second game. At the time of writing Token Tycoon is dying slowly; the devs have given no comments for weeks, and the prize pool is close to zero. Players share their unsuccessful stories on Discord; they can’t withdraw their money and most of them think it was their worst investment ever. Seems like it’s the first game to scam people twice!

EOS Knights:

“First mobile game that runs on an EOS blockchain” — EOS Knights’ landing page

This EOS borne mobile RPG game — sorry, the first EOS borne mobile game — doesn’t hesitate to call themselves revolutionary. On the EOS Apps site reads the following: “...EOS Knights is set to be one of the earliest live implementations of the EOS blockchain in a game and certainly one of the first iOS games that interacts with a blockchain…” They refer to the game as “one of the firsts”, because it’s just ambiguous enough to not be liable for taking undeserved credit. Good one, EOS, good one.

Reality Clash:

"The world’s first AR mobile combat game” – Reality Clash landing page.

Front and centered, wide and clear. That what reads on RC’s main page. It also says they’re looking for Beta testers, and you could be the lucky chosen one!

Look all Gameunculus could say for this one was… I’ll believe it when I can play it.

Humble Firsts

Here’s some honorable mentions. A list of games who didn’t grossly promote themselves as “firsts”, but could’ve totally gone for it! Because they were firsts!

Huntercoin:

First game based on blockchain technology. It was released in February 2014. Remember that? Yeah, me neither.

Blockchain Cuties:

So humble that they don’t even mention they are currently running on 3 different blockchains: Ethereum, EOS, and since recently, TRON. They’re happy about their success, don’t get them wrong, but other than “news” there’s nothing regarding the subject on their site. Why wouldn’t they want to advertise that they’re on 3 different blockchains?

Cryptomonsters:

“This is a new type of game based on the Litecoin blockchain technology” – CryptoMonsters’ landing page

Ok yeah, this one has a quote. It’s not exactly a self-proclaimed first, but, “a new type of game”? If my dictionary’s correct, that’s the same thing in different words. Does anyone even own LTC? They didn’t advertise anything about being the first anything on their website, so we’ve included them in the humble firsts list, but the fact is that CryptoMonsters was the first game on Litecoin. Other sites do credit it as ‘the first’ Litecoin game. Maybe the CryptoMonsters team knows what’s going on and decided to advertise the game as a “new type of game” instead of as a “first” just to avoid sounding cliche and to escape Gameunculus’s lists. And yet here we are.

Gameunculus’s conclusions

It’s very hard to tell who deserves their “first” and who’s just milking it with overly specific and ad-hoc categories. In any case, how should we measure it? By who starts developing earliest, who makes it to beta first, who launches first or who becomes successful? Can a game that flopped before leaving pre-sale stage, or a game who scammed its players, really be considered a first in their genre?

We honestly can’t wait for you guys to tell us what we got wrong. Who’s missing from the list? Who did we make fun of that totally didn’t deserve it? And who did we not bash enough? Any idea which buzzwords will be used and abused in 2019?

Answer and berate us on Gameunculus’s Twitter and join his Telegram to let us know your thoughts!

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