The big reveal of PAX Aus 16 saw attendees chasing treasure chests on people’s heads and rolling blow-up dice throughout the weekend. Buy Somewhere is the ambitious new location-based game by local game designer and founder Nick Griffiths, and his team.
I was lucky enough to be able to interview Nick on Saturday morning before their world-first reveal, which we’ll be bringing you on the show over the next two weeks, and what was clear is that at the core of this game, more than the data-rich system that has been in development for the past 3 years, is passion.
“We’ve been in development for a long time. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished. To us, games that have been released thus-far in this space didn’t fully realise the potential uses of location data. Today we’ve lifted the veil on what our vision of this has transformed into.”
So what is Buy Somewhere? Shrouded in mystery, it wasn’t till 4:30 pm on Saturday in the Gamespot Theatre that we got the world-first reveal of in game content as well as the launch of the live action trailer. Check it out!
More than it’s Monopoly stylin’, more than an augmented Google Maps (we’re looking at you Pokémon GO), Buy Somewhere is the ground up, ground breaking geo-location game that lets you buy your dream house, your favourite cafe and even steal the house of those who have wronged you.
And the best part, it’s free to play! At least it will be, when the game goes live in 2017. That’s why the guys from Buy Somewhere also used this weekend to announce a limited closed beta, which players can sign up for on the Buy Somewhere website.
Set in a 3-dimensional generated map, these are no generic properties representing house numbers. Comprised of 60 different property types, the real gem of this game is the gilded landmarks which give true representation of the iconic locations that we locals might sometimes take for granted.
Guided by the friendly Mr. Somewhere, once you own a property you can manage it remotely, earning rent and trading deeds in order to grow your real estate empire. But beware, other would-be property tycoons will be waiting in the side streets to steal your property, requiring vigilance as you defend against not only rival tycoons but the nefarious Mr. Nowhere.
Nick and the team are quick to defend the initial similarities to other popular geo-location titles, and are hoping that players will begin to use the game for broader location information, thanks to the highly identifiable property types. Nick even shared with the crowd that while filming the live-action trailer, he used the dev build to find the closest bathroom, by way nearby cafés. While Pokemon GO may have beaten them to the punch on release time, the concept has been in the pipeline long before people were churning Pokémon into candy.
“That vision wasn’t viable when it was conceived 5 years ago – to use location data to make a game world that players would find delight in exploring. It was a moving target between the evolution of mobile hardware capability and that concept, but the stars have finally aligned and I’m confident we’ll change the standard for the genre.”
The Buy Somewhere VIP closed beta applications are open now, and once launched your first job is to choose one of these quirky characters to represent you in the world of virtual real estate. I for one am champing at the bit to get in there in the coming months and grab up all the classic Melbourne LGBTI locations. I’m also rather interested to see what property type some of them generate as, thanks to their data tags.
A big congratulations to the team at Buy Somewhere, not just for their first reveal, but for helping make this year’s PAX Aus the most colourful to date!
Where would you purchase, if you could Buy Somewhere? Comment below!