The player is literally dropped into the deep end of Crypto Crisis with zero tutorial on how to play. Funnily enough, this is how most people get into cryptocurrency in the first place, although it might be more due to the early access nature of the game as it stands at the moment.
Crypto Crisis specifically focuses on the mining aspect of this phenomenon, in which people use their computers to “mine” crypto off the blockchain. I’m not going to go into the details here, Google it.
Crypto Crisis puts the player in a bedroom setting with a hundred thousand dollar bitcoin debt due to a fairly aggressive sounding cockney man named Gaz who communicates by phone and gives you seven-years to pay him back.
Crypto Crisis Hands-On
To put this into perspective one bitcoin at the current value is slightly over nine thousand Australian dollars. This means your debt is over nine hundred million dollars. That being said, Crypto Crisis is set from 2009 onwards where BTC was worth less than a dollar.
Doing a quick bit of research, I discovered it peaked at $750 per bitcoin seven years later, coincidentally the time Gaz gives you to pay him back. If you choose to wait to pay him back right on the deadline it’s a cool 75 mil.
How did you owe him so much?! What kind of habits did you have prior to this horrible financial hole? The back story is yours to create. Neat right? Perhaps this game has more depth after all.
Old mate Gaz sounds harder than a brick wall, but he has nothing on navigating the menus and understanding the information presented in front of the player. I got the gist of it after a while and realised this was a resource management game. Not only is the player buying and upgrading mining computers, but the whole thing needs to be powered and cooled as well.
If your room gets too hot, the whole system chugs out and is less efficient at mining. Having done this myself at one stage I can testify that when your computer is chugging away ripping money out of the blockchain it gets damn toasty, great for winter but not for your power bill.
It’s All Mine
Once I settled in and figured out what to do, the game actually had the potential to be fun. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the close monitoring of power used through purchasing generators and air conditioners for my rigs and the nuanced management of building the different kinds of mining rigs to achieve optimal mining efficiency whilst simultaneously saving up for bigger areas to mine in.
You start in a bedroom and work your way up to a warehouse.
Chugging away at Crypto Crisis was a bit of a grind and with virtually nothing in the way of visuals, bar some untextured models of the areas of operation and your rigs it got to be a bit of a bore.
There were some interesting chaos elements in the simulator which I thought was a nice touch. Certain brands of CPUs and graphics cards get discontinued forcing you to consider their efficiency.
Then there are the new parts on the market that will pump your mining operation up, but dump out your power and cooling and what sacrifices you will have to make in your utility management will appeal to a very niche kind of gamer, this game in its current state is definitely not for casuals.
Having read the development proposals for the title, which predominantly includes more visuals, like textures instead of simply grey 3D models I can see where it could go but I still believe this will be a very obscure title seldom used by the community at large.
Interesting but Obscure
It does give a good indication of what blockchain mining is in the real world and could promote a player in further research on cryptocurrency as a whole. This actually happened while writing this article.
I would love to consider this title as the bones to build on something great, an RPG element to this would be excellent or even putting some puzzle elements into it would be welcome. Armoured Beans would do well to grab a writer to put some story into it to give the player a sense of purpose and to actually care about the debt.
The overarching threat of Gaz coming to collect his debt was more of a comedic jaunt into the what-ifs. Making elaborate theories as to why and how and who was kind of fun, I realised quickly I couldn’t quite Elon Musk the fuck out of here and reside in a base on the moon and nuke him from orbit.
I could hire my own small paramilitary group and fortify myself in a desert compound for 75mil and have some change left over, or you know, just get a couple of the lads down the pub by the docks to take care of it and lay low in Argentina for a while.
Crypto Crisis is due out in January 2019.