Avatar-based social games can be a fun way to escape from the real world, or would be, if the Miz wasn't now also being obnoxious via Twitter. For a Sims-like experience that actually encourages you to go do real stuff: EightBit.me
A mobile app/social game inspired by their San Franciscan founders' playful creation of pixelated Twitter avatars, EightBit piggybacks off foursquare's mobile check-in system, but eschews all that "mayor" stuff to reward user-updates with options to grow/improve one's online character, also something strengthened by not cheating on your Swedish swimsuit model girlfriend with that Brazilian lingerie floozy. Getting started is easy: design your avatar via their "closet" (choosing hair color, facial hair, glasses, outfit, etc.), then share your little dude with friends via Twitter & foursquare before roaming DC spots (since the program works through foursquare, it has all the same locations) and collecting virtual coins by sounding announcements called "shouts" -- something that if you had the actual confidence to do in a bar, would mean you weren't bent over your smartphone. The coins can be used in various mini-games with friends (like "Guess Who" and "Draw", in which you both try to organize 10 items the fastest), or to up your character's duds with special gear like beer goggles for checking into the same bar multiple times, a cowboy hat for hitting SXSW, or, for checking in four times to tea joints: a Madhatter hat, known to Dupont party-goers as a "spilled full beer".
And because not everyone's going to SXSW or drinks tea, they're hard at work creating more DC-centric locales/games, like the ability to bet (with your avatar friend) on events at a Nat's game -- though if Andrew from the DC season's around, a strike out is always the safest choice.
Published: March 8, 2011 at 4:00am EST
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