Outside the giant Yodobashi-Akiba department store in the Akihabara district, hundreds of gamers gather each day, crowdsourcing the hunt for rare creatures and virtual treasure.
They stand, packed together in a cordoned-off area reserved for them, as store employees attempt to keep the sidewalk clear, ushering the players behind safety barriers. Everyone is holding a Nintendo DS and playing this year’s hottest new game: Dragon Quest IX.
It’s a cartoony, easy-to-master role-playing game about grand adventures, but these players aren’t off slaying dragons. They’re swapping character data to meet other avatars and quite possibly collect valuable treasures.
Call it a massively multiplayer offline game.
Another brilliant article from WIRED, which is incisive, informative and compelling. I love the term ‘crowdsourcing’ — which is decidedly old hat in the social media sphere — as the notions of harnessing the power of the collective presents the limitless potential in any endeavour, whether it’s finding a solution or creative brainstorming, with Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency being one such example.