DS Game Sniffs Out Treasure Via Wi-Fi Hotspots

DS Game Sniffs Out Treasure Via Wi-Fi Hotspots


Treasure World, a new DS game for kids developed by Aspyr Media, uses the handheld's Wi-Fi connection to create virtual treasures based on actual Wi-Fi hotspots.

The way it works is Treasure World will use the DS' built-in Wi-Fi to sniff out local Wi-Fi hot spots and whenever it finds one it'll generate a unique in-game treasure. Kids can then use their unique collection of goodies to customize their game world or characters, trade with players and show off how cool they are in-game. According to Aspyr, Treasure World will sport thousands of different unlockables.

"With Treasure World we are creating a new way for you to interact not only with the world around you, but with friends and family and even other players around the globe," Ted Staloch, vice president of Aspyr Media, said. "We believe that Nintendo DS owners, particularly our core demographic of young gamers, will really latch on to the thrill of discovering hidden treasures wherever they go, playing with their own unique in-game world and sharing the experience with those close to them or through our robust online community."

It's an interesting idea for sure, but there are a couple of problems here. I'm aware that this is a kid's game and none of this should really matter, but bear with me. First, what if you live in the Ozarks or something and you have barely any Wi-Fi around you? You'll be on the game's online social network and you'll see other kids with their huge collections of Wi-Fi treasures to trade and you don't have jack squat. This is the kind of thing that destroys childhoods here. And, conversely, what's to stop people who live in cities to say, drive downtown to the business district where every block has about 100 wi-fi networks active at any given time and just scoop up every single sweet item they unlock? Something like that could destroy the Treasure World in-game economy in an instant. Seriously.

[Via What They Play]


Driving through downtown with a game like this was the first thing that came to mind before you even mentioned it in your article. Definitely a unbalanced game depending on your location.

Wardriving: The Game....

Should we really be encouraging kids to wander around looking for wireless networks?

Reminds me of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. The way to get new soldiers that were actually any good was to find wi-fi spots and play a tiny little pseudo-minigame (mash the x button till a bar passed a line) and you got a new soldier, but it only worked once per hotspot.

Hey kids looks like theres treasure in the middle of the motorway.

So...thar be booty at the Mc Donalds...arr...that be the only booty in my land locked town..arr, I should sound more like a bandit than a pirate...wait, gimmie a minute...crap.

Anyway, I agree with the others, this doesn't seem really balanced, or a safe game.

bad rider:
Hey kids looks like theres treasure in the middle of the motorway.

Oh, so there's a Frogger mini-game with it too?

I like the idea of finding game items in the real world but there are some obvious issues with the game that have been mentioned. I suppose if you had to complete a minigame every time you found a hotspot then that would sort out the problem of having loads of hotspots in one place but it still sucks for people living in the middle of nowhere. And obviously we don't really want kids wondering around with their face glued to the DS screen, I can see there could be a few casualties there. With the right implementation though, I think this could be a really good idea and I applaud the invention of such an idea.

I had a similar idea for an Iphone game, wherein the game would use the GPS software to generate a treasure map that you had to follow to get a reward. Or to track down a criminal, or something.

Wow, that sounds like a really good idea. I hope that they can intergrate something similar into a iphone or itouch app, much like Indego_Dingo's idea.

Care to take bets on:

a) How long it takes before a kid goes missing and comes back weeks later after visiting all the hotspots in his country.
b) How long it takes for paedophiles to use the wi-fi hotspots as easy targets.

Good idea but wrong market in my opinion.

As far as the "in-game economy" balance for areas with high vs. low hotspots, I liked the mini-game idea so that one couldn't just drive around a couple of cities and grab hundreds+ items. But at the same time, as for the safety issue, maybe make it that going through the hotspot unlocks the minigame, so the player doesn't have to wander around aimlessly, searching for the spots, just check up occasionally to see what new mini-games they've unlocked, or something to that effect. And more directly dealing with the high vs. low hotspot areas, my idea is for the game to keep a running tally of the frequency of hitting new hotspots, and correspond that with the rarity of the items generated. So if one player finds dozens of spots a week/month, they get a higher chance of getting a very common item. Conversely, if there is a larger period of time between hotspots, the chance of getting a rarer item goes up, so that those who don't travel much, or don't have many spots in their area, can get a couple of rare items, and trade for whole sets of the more common items found by the players who frequent many hotspots.

Certainly this system would still be exploitable, but it would require a lot more work.


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