Curiosity: Molyneux’s great cube caper begins

Tuesday, 6th November 2012 09:17 GMT By Dave Cook

Curiosity: What’s Inside The Cube has launched. VG247′s Dave Cook begins his cube tapping journey, and ponders if Peter Molyneux’s project is actually a work of genius.

I pause for a second to give my screen-tapping finger a rest. I’ve been chipping away at Molyneux’s box of mystery now for about half an hour, and my VG247 shift starts in ten minutes. Shit. Where did the time go?

People often find it easy to debunk Peter Molyneux’s harebrained pitches as dreamy-eyed fantasies that’ll never come to pass. In the olden days he’d likely be branded as some kind of male witch: today, he’s a free-thinker with independence, a new studio and a bloody big cube.

He’s looking on, like some mad baron, staring at his bank of monitors while we toil away at his cube like subservient ants. He’s the scientist: we’re the rats.

When I interviewed Molyneux in September, he told me that from the day Curiosity launches on iOS – it released this morning – he would be watching, in real-time, as hundreds and thousands of participants tap at their screens to chisel away the squares that makes up the cube.

It really is this simple. When you first download and start the app, you are greeted with a message that tells you how many players have registered – I’m the 1,680th – but then it reminds you that only one person will win the ‘life-changing’ prize in the middle.

Whoever taps the final square at the middle of the cube will “win,” and that’s the rub: no one knows what’s in there.

That’s the power of Curiosity. You’ll begin to chip away at the cube’s first layer – of which there are many – and if you get a good flow going you get a rhythm bonus that awards you with more coins. Once you clear a screen you get a bonus for your trouble. The uncovered green colour makes you feel almost accomplished. Doesn’t it?

The time passes away unnoticed, and you start to get into a hypnotic flow. Before you know it you’ve chipped away a decent-sized patch of square, and gained a hefty bank of coins with which to buy bombs and other square-busting power-ups.

“Not bad,” you think as you admire your handiwork. Maybe you’ll be the one after all. Then you zoom out to see how you’re doing compared to those penis-drawers and idiots on the other side of the cube:






Yes, it really is that big, and that tiny patch of squares took me about ten minutes to chisel away. You start to feel deflated until you spin the cube around at a fully zoomed-out glance and you see what other people are up to. Some are drawing cocks, others writing messages, and some are making neat designs.

It’s a social experiment, not just some naff cube. Molyneux’s watching you right now. Watching us finding this:

What is it? Molyneux has revealed that images are hidden under each layer of the cube, including the Facebook images of the cube’s biggest destroyers. He also said that clues of 22 Can’s first full game are hidden in there too, making this one of the maddest and potentially brilliant marketing campaigns for a game ever.

Note I said “potentially,” as people could get bored and the ploy could end up being a flop, but somehow I’m not sure. Over 2,000 people have registered now. The scientist built it. They will come.

What’s in the cube? Who knows? But the journey towards finding out could be as equally as interesting.

UPDATE: It’s been a few hours since I wrote this piece. Here’s a clearer look at what that mysterious image now looks like:



  1. foofly

    Any news on the Android version.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Deacon

    I’m the most compulsive person I know, but I’m still not sold.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. viralshag

    Well I know I won’t be the one person to get the prize, simply because I don’t have the dedication or interest to do so.

    So I’m not even going to bother with this at all. I see this as being something people will do for 10-20 minutes and be like “wow! where did the time go?” and then never pick it up again.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    I may seriously buy an iThing to play this. It’s not really about winning, right?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. freedoms_stain

    @4, draw a giant cock for us.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @3 it’s more than that. Molyneux will be adding things – like game-changers – whenever he feels like it, just to see how we all react. So instantly, he could make it that tapping adds square instead of taking them away, or that games of minesweeper or other interactive things might appear on the surface. I think it’ll be an interesting experiment to be a part of :)

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Patrick Garratt

    I pretty much do want to draw a massive cock on a square.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @8 it looks like the image on the first layer is a photo of a green apple. People are now chiselling away around it to see what it is. See, this is why the game is interesting, people working together to uncover its secrets :D

    #8 2 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @ Dave, maybe I just lack the overall curiosity needed to be interested in this.

    I can’t help but feel like this will end in disappointment.

    Edit: Hold up, this isn’t on Android?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. _LarZen_

    It’s really buggy…crashing all the time on 3rd gen iPad.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Dave Cook

    @9 Not yet, it will be :)

    #11 2 years ago
  12. mistermogul

    This is strangely satisfying though you are all mistaken if you think you are winning – I am!

    BTW – I am player 9453…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Patrick Garratt

    I’ll be interested to know how long it actually takes. Molyneux tweeted earlier that a third of the first layer’s gone already.

    #13 2 years ago

    Surely this is Molyneux’s way of saying, ‘Let’s see how much money we can squeeze out of these idiots!’.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. mistermogul

    @13 – Yeah it’s looking quite green now, don’t think it’ll be long before the first layer has gone though it’s gonna take quite a while as I reckon there are thousands of layers!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. mistermogul

    @14 – Not sure how he’s doing that as it’s a free app…

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Patrick Garratt

    I kind of wish there was a permanent livestream of it. Just so I could check in and see how it’s going.

    #17 2 years ago


    Out of the current top 10 from the Top Grossing chart on iOS, 8 are “free” apps.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. mistermogul

    @18 – I see but those apps must have in app purchases for revenue – don’t think this does…

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Puggy

    Well, should someone finish, tell me how the ending was. Seems like I lake the patience of doing it…. Guess I am getting old. and there I was thinking this would make me more patient.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Dave Cook

    @19 it does, but more fool the people who pay for it. Vote, wallet and all that ;)

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    There’s no paid features in this at all, far as I can tell. If they plan to include paid options, they’re not in the app yet.

    It’s oddly addictive, I’ll give it that. I’ll be checking in on this regularly, just out… well… curiosity.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Deacon

    This isn’t a million miles apart from revealing ‘something AMAZING’ when a website gets to 10,000 ‘likes’.

    Except you get to repeatedly tap / draw cocks / smiley faces / etc.

    I’d just like someone to convince me of the point of it all! – ie, what Molyneux supposes to learn from it.

    I like games, not tapping apps.

    Does it have sweet music? If so I take it all back.

    #23 2 years ago

    In app purchases of up to £50,000, actually…

    #24 2 years ago
  25. viralshag

    I’m with Deacon on this. If I had my iPad on me, I might try it out but I only have my Android and it’s not on that yet. As I have Halo4 in my bag I think I will have better things to do tonight.

    #25 2 years ago

    Watch out for the stealth edits…

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Ireland Michael

    @24, 26 I have the app running on my iPad. I don’t care what that article said – there are currently no IAPs in the app. I expressely said that could change in the future, but the option isn’t there right now.

    Get off your shiny pony. Christ.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Noodlemanny

    I was just the 17,935th person to “embark on this unique experiment exploring the power of curiosity”.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Ireland Michael


    You can collect coins to buy the power ups by breaking the little cubes, but none of the menus have any option to buy coins. That could change in the future, but I never said otherwise.

    @23 It’s an intriguing little concept purely for the interest of knowing whats inside in, but it’s definitely not a game.

    #29 2 years ago

    Alright, alright, you never said that…

    Molyneux has talked extensively about this being an experiment, so maybe part of it is not bringing the purchases into the game until later on.

    This is the typical mobile game F2P model, though. Make the gameplay interesting, but tedious, then allow people to buy coins/credits to speed things up.

    I hate this sort of stuff, tbh. I see it as playing with people’s minds to make them think that throwing money away, when there’s absolutely no need to, is a good thing.

    But then I suppose Molyneux would claim that it’s all part of the experiment.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Deacon

    I’ve figured out what’s gonna be at the centre!!!!


    I would give so much fucking kudos to Molyneux if this was the case ;)

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Ireland Michael

    I better stealth edit my post before I get caught out! Oh wait…

    God, some people just can’t get over themselves.

    If you installed the app yourself you’d have seen that was the case yourself. But no, you just had to try and grab whatever opportunity you could to be a confrontational asshole, didn’t you?

    #32 2 years ago

    Hey, don’t get happy, Mr ‘editing 2 year old comments’ O’Connor!

    I have no intention of being part of an experiment to manipulate people. If that’s your sort of thing, fill your boots.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Dave Cook

    @30 I can confirm that the purchases haven’t begun yet. You can spend coins earned via tapping instead. It’s optional of course.

    #34 2 years ago

    Yeah, I’m still not getting involved, though…

    At the moment, one of my most played games is Jetpack Joyride, which works on a similar system. You collect coins to spend on upgrades, but you can just buy a bunch of coins to speed things up. So I don’t have any problem with the optional part.

    The difference is that with JJ, I’m just going for a long distance high score that I can achieve (based on skill) with no upgrades, and compete against other people. The system in this ‘game’ is based on cooperation, so there is more pressure to spend that money, or be left feeling useless.

    It’s very manipulative. Bordering on gambling psychology, IYAM. That’s why I’m not interested.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Ireland Michael

    @35 Most of us are just sitting and enjoying the view.

    Nor are we “gambling” anything.

    This isn’t a game, frankly. Labeling it as such is ridiculous. Even Molyneux himself has said its not a “real” game.

    #36 2 years ago

    Oh wow! What a view. Looks like a badly modelled Borg ship on a SNES.


    #37 2 years ago
  38. Ireland Michael

    @37 The top layer is black. The layers underneath will have different images, and I’m personally curious to see what those layers are.

    You seem to be taking an obviously casual, completely optional experience far too seriously.

    People need to stop labeling this something it isn’t.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. soqquatto

    I think the only sane reaction to this is downloading it, trying it around for a few minutes (after all, Curiosity), realise there’s no payoff to the grind and delete it.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. mojo

    it would be so epic if the last block reveals just a big trollface

    #40 2 years ago
  41. Ireland Michael

    A genuine question… what if whatever is in the centre does actually turn out to be something genuinely life changing for the person who gets it?

    What then?

    #41 2 years ago
  42. Patrick Garratt

    I’m 29,396. It’s out on Android now.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. Dave Cook

    @41 Molyneux has said that the developer won’t reveal what’s inside, ever. That’s up to the winner to decide.


    #43 2 years ago
  44. Ireland Michael

    @43 Of course, but I’m still curious what it is, and just how big it will be? What if it does end up being something genuinely huge?

    #44 2 years ago
  45. Deacon

    Fable 3 Unfulfilled Wishes Edition.

    Or maybe a house in Nebraska.

    Sure, I’m curious too. But not enough to risk getting RSI in my main tapping finger.

    Yes Molyneux, we know that people like working together. We know that people like being creative. Minecraft was huge.

    What was the point again?

    dammit, my shit jokes always seem to kill the comments ; (

    #45 2 years ago
  46. vormison

    Pretty interesting little experiment.

    It says that the “winner” will receive a link to a video which they can watch and keep for themselves or share to any online community, individual, etc. Hmmmm…

    #46 2 years ago
  47. viralshag

    The Android version doesn’t seem to work very well… or at least on my phone anyway.

    Do I have to sign into FB for it to track how many coins I get? Because I got a couple hundred, then tried to sign into FB and it crashed, once I finally got back in (because I can never seem to connect to the server) I had zero coins again?

    #47 2 years ago

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