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22Cans hopes Curiosity will pique curiosity (pictures)

The debut "experiment" from Peter Molyneux's startup 22Cans may seem crude, but it's got enough to capture hundreds of thousands of people's interest. Here's a look at the game.

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Stephen Shankland

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1 of 15 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Curiosity: First look

The first layer of Curiosity's cube was black; tapping its millions of blocks away revealed the layer beneath.
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2 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

First crack at a Curiosity corner

If you're around at just the right moment, when one layer of cublets is demolished, you can get first crack at the corner of the next layer.
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3 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Curiosity canvas

Artwork such as this heart often doesn't last long as others tap away the cubelets.
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4 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Peter Molyneux explains

Peter Molyneux explains 22Cans' upcoming game, Godus.
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5 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Curiosity edge detection

Some Curiosity layers reveal photos or other imagery beneath. This view shows stripes of shattered cubelets that were demolished to find the boundary between darker and lighter areas -- a kind of painstakingly slow edge detection algorithm. Eventually the edge was revealed to be part of the word "domino."
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6 of 15 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Cubelet clearance

One strategy for rapidly clearing cubelets in Curiosity involves buying an iron chisel for 110,000 gold coins then tapping with multiple fingers in a sweeping pattern down across screen after screen.
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7 of 15 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Curiosity graffiti

Curiosity's cube is a blank slate on which people can offer graffiti, artwork, and opinions for thousands of others to see.
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8 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Curiosity promos Godus

22Cans used the message crawling across the Curiosity cube to promote its Kickstarter-funded Godus game.
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9 of 15 22Cans

22Cans mockup

A mockup of the terrain of 22Cans' Godus game due to arrive in September 2013. It's a god game, and players will be able to flick tornadoes across the landscape with a mouse movement or touch-screen swipe. 22Cans took advantage of the success of Curiosity -- and the fact that it could show text on Curiosity's cube -- to promote Kickstarter funding of Godus.
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10 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Molyneux early days: Populous

Peter Molyneux's first "god game" was Populous, which sold 5 million copies after it debuted in the late 1980s. It let players flatten out land so settlers would expand in a competition with another colony run by another deity.
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11 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Molyneux's Dungeon Keeper

Dungeon Keeper from game designer Peter Molyneux let players protect a dungeon from assaults from heroes, an inversion of the usual protogonist-antagonist order.
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12 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Molyneux's Black and White god game

Black and White, another god game from Peter Molyneux, showed steadily improving graphics. In the game, the player could control a hand of god that could for example break boulders down into rocks that could be used as weapons.
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13 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Text cube

Sometimes 22Cans puts text on Curiosity's cubes.
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14 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Uncovering photos

People like to uncover the interesting parts of photos once they're discovered on the face of the cube.
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15 of 15 screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Messages on tap

Curiosity lets people tap little "cubelets" to make them disappear. Writing messages is one motivation to keep on tapping at the 64 billion cubelets.

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