Snoop Dogg, Deadmau5 and NFTs — The Sandbox Alpha Game Review
I came to the Sandbox Alpha for the musical experiences of Snoop Dogg and Deadmau5. It was awesome dancing with my voxelated avatar: green hair, pink sports bra, denim shorts, yellow stockings, and red shoes. All with the insane creatures around me dancing, and the feeling of indulging in a real concert with flashing lights and pounding beats. I thought I might just stay at the show for the rest of the Alpha, until I saw the reveal schedule countdown and realized I had to get out of there and complete the quests. I needed to be able to claim assets by the end of the Alpha. The prize NTFs were calling me.
Introduction: The Sandbox is a decentralized, community-driven gaming ecosystem where designers and artists can create, share, and monetize NFTs and gaming experiences on the blockchain, and is partnered with many industry giants. Its popular virtual real estate, known as LANDs, are taking over the NFT world.
The Sandbox Alpha, Show House for Metaverse Creators
What is the Sandbox Alpha? What would I experience there?
The Sandbox is a popular metaverse game with the GameFi mechanism of asset ownership. GameFi stands for “financialization of video games”. To put it simply, it’s how gamers can make real financial gains or losses within the realm of a game itself.
In a regular, non-metaverse video game, you pay for the game (one-time purchase, monthly/yearly subscription, or the “freemium” model of a lot of further in-game purchases) and become a customer. Whereas in a metaverse game, the players can actually become game asset owners by either creating assets and later putting them on sale or by buying and acquiring ready-made assets to own.
In the Sandbox Alpha, when I walk around the various quests, I see land, and I see NFTs hanging in almost every corner with direct links to OpenSea for purchase, and lots of other customized equipment and accessories that players can purchase with real cryptocurrency. The sale and ownership of land in Sandbox is the most essential ownership in the game.
That’s why when exploring the various quests and walking around the extremely diverse landscapes of the game, it feels like going to a metaverse real estate company to see their show houses. It helps me to understand how the land can be developed, decorated, and made attractive. My mind raced with brilliant visions of what else might be done on those empty plots of land in order to make them unique and appealing.
I truly enjoyed the gaming experience. Since the main purpose of the Sandbox Alpha is to let the Alpha Pass holders, landowners, and creators understand the great potential of this metaverse, all the Alpha quests are designed in a way to be explorative, adventurous, and easy to complete. It’s basically a lot of walking, hiking, climbing, and jumping for my chic avatar in various landscapes. The quest is mainly about moving all around the landscape to reach certain points (sign posts), get familiar with the environment, and appreciate the design details in the process.
When I entered an area, there were two NFT characters that I could talk to in order to receive my mission. The Metaverse Guide with a blue exclamation mark above his wise head and two blue crystal balls in each of his hands was the right NFT to give me the Alpha quest.
The quest usually consists of four or five iconic places that I need to reach. The other NFT character is a random character in the story, like a scientist or a warrior, with a yellow exclamation mark on his head. His quest will likely send you to collect some rare resources and get into some sword fights. But again, in this metaverse game, there is no real death for your character. If a wolf bites you to death or you fall into the greenish acid pond, you’ll lose your life bar and respawn at the starting point to start all over again. Never give up!
What’s even more awesome is that falling from high places will not get you killed. That’s why I selected a lot of scenic and high-rise sites to do a “leap of faith”. The only downside is that later I needed to find a way to climb back up and complete the rest of my quests. My character can also stay underwater for two hours without breathing. I let her stand on the flowing lava of volcanic stones as well.
Six hours into the game, I went to the Snoop Dogg concert in the basement of the NFT institute. I took selfies at the Deadmau5 concert at the AlphaHub, I danced at Club XYZ, I climbed up and fell down endlessly at the post-apocalyptic Edge of the Abyss, I slaughtered wolves in the Dungeon of Dum-Yz, I explored the medieval castle in the Fortress of Bloodsouls, and I found peace in the sunset at Rusty Cliff.
I have to admit that before I played Sandbox, I was used to high-resolution games with realistic visual effects like the Final Fantasy series from Square Enix. I never thought I would get used to the voxelated characters — basically a pile of moving boxes. But I did, and I loved it.
The more I immersed myself in the metaverse environment — the graphics, the characters, all the objects, the architecture, the sound effects of howling wind and chirping birds, the background soundtrack that soothes or frightens you — it all came together and greatly enhanced my playing experience. I no longer stared at my voxelated body with a critical eye. Everything blends in naturally and it was just exceptional.
If this is the show house the official Sandbox team is presenting to us, I have a lot of hope for future releases and just can’t wait to see the other brilliant ideas from creators worldwide.
The “Easter Egg”
After completing all the 16 Alpha quests released before December 17, I moved on to the additional experience named “Christmas Eve Miracle.” I didn’t have super high expectations for this experience and I assumed that it would be just another Christmas jingle-bell cliché, but it turned out to be what surprised and amazed me the most, in the end.
The experience started on a narrow path surrounded by tall pine trees. I walked down the path and suddenly, at the end of the turn, a cheerful and bustling town unfurled in front of me, full of Christmas decorations. Fireworks, technicolor lights, Christmas markets, street performances, cozy cafes, and souvenir shops all filled the panorama. Christmas trees and gift boxes, people full of joy, snowflakes falling elegantly from the night sky, and the beautiful, soul-touching piano music with a grain of melancholy in it. Check it out here.