Today we released our first Arcade Game — WEN Game! With the launch of WEN Game, we are also introducing Arcade Tokens (please note, Nifty League Arcade Tokens are off-chain and not an ERC-20 token).
In this post, we’ll share the backstory for WEN Game — how Spike came up with the idea, his inspiration, building it, incorporating the community, and more. We’ll also cover Arcade Tokens (how to purchase them, what role they play in our ecosystem, distribution, etc.) and new additions to Leaderboards.
Let’s get into it!
Let us tell you a little story about WEN Game… in the words of our Creative Director and Founder, Spike.
I was sitting at a little restaurant in Plettenberg Bay. It was the restaurant’s last day; it was closing its doors the following day and another restaurant across the street was going to move in due to the block being demolished to make way for fancy apartments. My little holiday town has seen an influx of overseas buyers and locals moving in since lockdown taught a lot of people ‘you can work from anywhere’.
Anyways, I had never been to the restaurant, so I’m pleased I got to it on its final day. I ordered a spicy thing which made me sweat, and was seated in front of a big window through which I could look out intro the street. The only other customer inside was an old man reading a newspaper at the table next to me. I moved my table around so I was facing the window and not him.
None of this has anything to do with WEN game, but also, everything to do with it. It would have been the first time in a while I’d lifted my head from other Nifty League work to focus on thinking about new games. I had a fresh-ish Moleskin wide-format sketchbook in front of me (a gift from my mother some time ago I think), my other sketchbook was full, nearly all of Nifty League’s sketches of the Mint-O-Matic and early level designs were in that tatty notebook. The sketches themselves are scratchy, but sometimes the ideas are ok.
Anyways, I’ve gone back to the original WEN pitch message I posted to the team in Slack to jog my memory, but the context of its inception I remember well. I was thinking about what a simple community-focused game might be, something the team could build that wouldn’t be too taxing while we continue building these other much bigger pieces that take longer. We made promises to the community that we’d have a bunch of mini-games to play, and because there’d been so much going on, we’d seemed to have neglected one of our major reasons for forming in the first place — to make fun games. I wanted us to be able to give people something to play while we continued building in the background, like a little gap-filler or an hors d’oeuvre.
I think previously I had logged into the Nifty League app and forgotten to connect my wallet, and was met with a blank screen that said ‘Wallet not connected’ or ‘No Degens found’. I thought the empty space might be an ideal place for a simple game that demos how cool the Degens look in action.
Google has a neat little Offline TRex Game where the user presses spacebar to make the running dinosaur jump over obstacles, it’s just a 1-button affair. I like the simplicity of it, and anyone can figure out how to play and try get a high score. I also liked an old game Canabalt which was a similar 1-button thing.
So, the small mini-game needed to a) not have new character sprites as those require significant time to design trait variation frames for all 9.9k DEGENs, b) be simple and easy enough to code in a relatively short amount of time, and c) be compelling enough with leaderboards that someone would want to play. Humour often seems to go a long way to fill in for otherwise more complex systems.
Around that time I think we were under quite a lot of pressure from all angles to get something out — it was probably Rentals. So, the Discord was filled with ‘Wen’ questions. On Jeppe’s suggestion I’d made a little gif of his DEGEN hitting a button saying ‘WEN’ and later made a gif of Koa hitting a ‘SOON’ button.
The WEN? SOON meme seems endemic to the crypto space and has become a bit of a running gag, and because the space moves so fast there’s never enough time to do everything all the time to stay ahead.
Somehow it seemed like a good idea to use the nervous WEN energy and transform it into a little game that might offer some much-needed levity for all of us. Not sure where the idea came from (where do ideas come from?) but a simple game of a ball pitching machine with a DEGEN batting the ball back (all character sprites we already had) seemed to make sense, with the cherry on the top being the real-life community WEN questions that might make the DEGEN community crack a smile.
I made 2 sketches in my sketchbook: one of the gameplay and another of the title screen, to try and communicate the idea to the team (there’s a fair amount of internal idea pitching that goes on at Nifty League). It was a half-joke/half-serious idea that I wasn’t sure would go anywhere.
The team found it very funny, lol. My message in Slack started ‘Ok, hear me out.😅. The game is called ‘WEN’… and NiftyJeppe’s response was ‘HAHAHA the first sentence popped up on my feed and I laughed so hard ser. I love it!’ Snarf, Morgan, and Bolo all echoed that they found it funny, and added further ideas for how the game might work.
I did a little mockup gameplay animation demo in Toon Boom to flesh out the idea further and interest still seemed present.
Snarfy got Renoki to code it, I sent the assets and a basic design doc through, and Snarfy added a bunch more gameplay elements for extra depth, but essentially and somewhat surprisingly the core tenet of the game has remained unchanged from inception through to completion.
When it came time to make a list of WEN questions, I wrote down about 10 that I could think of off the top of my head that I’d seen regularly pop up in the Discord from the community — Wen Rentals? Wen Tennis? Wen Gary Vee tweet?
Those few were just scratching the surface, though…
I did a search for WEN in our Discord and there were almost 200 pages of results, lol. I combed through them and added about 4 pages of WEN questions harvested directly from the community. One that’s always stuck with me is ‘WEN no more eating spaghetti?’
I’m not sure why but that really made an impression on me, lolol.
The other one I like is ‘Wen mass exodus from Activision to Nifty League?’ :D lol.
Now we have our first bona fide Nifty League mini-game and along with it we’re stealth-launching our off-chain Arcade Token. It also comes with a leaderboard.
That’s the story of WEN.
Nifty League Arcade Tokens
Please note, Nifty League Arcade Tokens are off-chain and not an ERC-20.
- You do not have to own a DEGEN or have an active DEGEN rental to play WEN Game, all you need is an Arcade Token (1 Arcade Token = 1 play).
- If you do not own a DEGEN you’ll play the game with a dummy DEGEN (tribe assignment is random but all tribes are supported). If you own a DEGEN you’ll be able to play the game with your DEGEN of choice.
- Arcade Tokens are sold in packs of 4. Currently, 1 pack of Arcade Tokens costs 1,000 NFTL. Arcade Tokens can be purchased using NFTL via the Dashboard or directly within the game.
- Purchasing Arcade Tokens in the Dashboard can be done on (1) the Games page by clicking the Buy Arcade Tokens button in the WEN Game card, (2) the Overview page, or by clicking the Buy Tokens button in the Arcade Token Balance box.
- A player must have an Arcade Token balance >0 to enter the WEN Game (after entering the game, additional Arcade Tokens can be purchased directly in-game if desired).
- All NFTL spent toward the purchase of Arcade Tokens will be burned — our ecosystem’s first major NFTL sink 🔥
- Currently, earning Arcade Tokens is based on Nifty Smashers gameplay, on a gamer profile basis: (1) DEGEN Owners earn 4 Arcade Tokens every 24 hours with the completion of at least 1 game of Nifty Smashers, (2) DEGEN Renters earn 1 Arcade Token every 24 hours with the completion of at least 1 game of Nifty Smashers.
- To celebrate the launch of WEN Game, we rewarded all DEGEN Owners with 10 Arcade Tokens, and DEGEN Renters with 3 Arcade Tokens — we can’t wait to see you shoot your shot! ⚾
We’ve also made several additions and improvements to leaderboards in this web release including support for WEN Game (High Score) and easy-to-use filters including a game filter, leaderboard type filter, and time-based filtering.
Thanks to our incredible community for inspiring us to build WEN, and all the members of the team (especially Spike!) behind making our second game launch a reality! Needless to say, this has been a very special WENsday.