What does it mean to be curious?
Curiosity is defined by dictionary.com as “the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.” Children commonly express their curiosity through questions, which they ask a ton of.
Curiosity has taken on an entirely new face in the 21st century. While the word still means the same, the concept has gone from a desire to learn to a desire to find.
Peter Molyneux, an English video game designer and programmer, worked together with his new game studio, 22Cans, to release a game called “Curiosity- What’s inside the cube?” on November 6, 2012. The game features a giant cube floating in a nondescript room that players can move around and zoom in on.
Once zoomed in, players can tap the small “cubelets” that make up the massive faces. When players tap the cubelets, they are destroyed, awarding the player with coins and making the cube smaller.
The cube originally contained 326 layers, but an update by 22Cans brought the cube down to the final fifty layers. The game is meant to be a social experiment, as the entire world can tap away at the many layers, but only the person who destroys the last cube on the last layer will earn the reward, which is supposedly “life-changing.”
Therefore, as the layers tick down, curiosity will drive the world toward the reward, even though the chance that any one person will win the prize is miniscule at best. While the reward might be all that drives people forward, the small chance of actually winning seems to contradict that.
In order to speed up the process of reaching the center, players can spend their hard-earned coins on new chisels and firecrackers, tools that allow faster destruction, or can spend real money to add or subtract cubelets directly to or from the cube.
The game, therefore, doesn’t exactly cater to the desire to learn, but the desire to find. The secret is hidden deep within the cube, and everyone around the world is simply trying to find out exactly what it is.
With knowledge so easily accessible in this day and age, people no longer have to turn to other resources for information and can find out just about anything online in a matter of minutes. Accessibility is what caused the transition from a desire to learn to a desire to find.
Like a pirate seeking lost treasure, the entire world is focused solely on the outcome of the venture, and not on the journey to said outcome. And also like a pirate, people will not stop until they reach the center and the secret is released to the world.
However, unlike said pirate, 22Cans has made a solitary condition for the reward– it cannot be used for financial gain, but can be shared with others.
So, what is it that really drives people forward? The chance at a life-altering reward? Or the human desire to find?