Curate of Curiosities

Final Words

When I first played these games, I didn't know a whole lot about the cryptocurrency community. I knew the basics about how Bitcoin worked, but not about the people who trade it. Despite that, the references in both of them tended to be accessible enough that I could understand them without outside context. I even understood why, in the Monkey Island parody, you had to order a hit on the moon to progress, even though it would be years before I encountered the phrase "to the moon" in crypto circles.

But perhaps the games might be too intent on making themselves accessible. Advanced Bitcoin Simulator was short enough that this wasn't much of a problem (even including the part where you play as the neighbor) but the sequel, being a lot longer yet not making its message less heavy-handed, started to lose its effect after a while, though, at least it tries to mask this problem with more gameplay variety, such as the dungeon crawler and the above-mentioned Monkey Island parody.

But that's not the point after all. The question I want to ask here is, how has the crypto community evolved in the years since these games were made?

Both games claimed that cryptocurrency tended to attract those of a more libertarian persuasion. Even now, you can find more liberty-minded sites and content creators, particularly those concerned about online privacy, providing links to deliver payments to their cryptocurrency wallets. They also claimed cryptocurrency was joined at the hip with scams and illegal activity. That hasn't changed either, as shown by, just to name a very recent example, Cryptoland, which offered residence on an island in Fiji that the sellers failed to purchase. All this supported by a technology that appears to have more in common with gambling than legitimate investment.

At least two more problems with crypto have come to light in the years since the games were made. The first is the massive amount of electricity that mining cryptocurrency and processing transactions requires results in more fossil fuels being consumed. Another is the fact that mining rigs (Remember how none of the miners you could purchase in-game were worth the cost?) use GPUs rather that CPUs due to their more efficient processing, resulting in a shortage.

And of course, there's NFTs, which, although not backed by Bitcoin, exhibit many of the problems that the games accuse Bitcoin of having, if not giving rise to even worse problems. At their core, they amount to a link to an entry on the blockchain recording both the digital entity (usually an image generated by an algorithm) that the token supposedly represents, and that the token has been purchased by the owner. The token is supposedly unique and unable to be duplicated, even though the digital entity that it represents can be downloaded at any time by any given user. So why would anyone bother buying it? Well, one reason is to facilitate money laundering by transfering funds between to wallets owned by the same person, similar to how expensive art has been used for that purpose. Another is that the user has given in to hype generated by the sellers artificially and arbitrarily inflating prices in order to turn a profit. If the people behind Beep Boop Bitcoin were aware of this phenomenon or the problems listed above, then they would likely have more than enough material for a third game.

However, I doubt that a third game would truly add anything new. As said before, Bitcoin Mining Profit Calculator: Gaiden mainly felt like treading old ground, and another entry in the series may end up exacerbating the problem. When you consider that that game basically ended with a lecture stating that the player character should have stopped being involved in Bitcoin, a continuation would only end up cheapening its effect.