The Curiosity Shop was a game I made with Mark Heggen for last year’s Come Out And Play.
Building on a fascination with the idea of competitive shopping, The Curiosity Shop was a store which only accepted curiosity tokens. We gave you five when you joined the game, and you won the game by buying one of the store’s mystery prize items. Problem was, the prize items all cost 100 tokens or more. How to get more? The answer came through buying missions, secrets and gambles – for just a token or two the store would start to give up its secrets, clueing you in to how paper clips, William Blake and promises could help you build your fortune.
It was a game we had fun designing – a next-to-zero budget meant lots of eBay and flea-market ingenuity, along with a ton of tendon-shredding hand-making – but we totally underestimated its appeal. What we thought would be a gentle interlude for a few dozen players turned into a furiously engaged bidding war. Of everything I’ve ever made, Curiosity Shop is probably the thing that’s generated the most play from the least game.