The line between computer games and real life continues to blur, or, in the case of South Korea, crystallize in a terrifying way that leaves you nostalgic for blurriness. Moving the West further down the digitized path, EightBit.me, just launched.
Out of the American city both most and least attached to reality (San Francisco), 8-Bit harnesses the combined powers of foursquare and Twitter to create a system where engaging in real activities rewards not you (with mayor status, etc.), but your online avatar, who, merely by cruising around town popping into places, will craft a more compelling plot than James Cameron. The first step's to build a blocky, NES-type alter-you via a surprisingly fast 10-step process (hair, clothes, skin colour, etc.), who'll inhabit a virtual world populated by similarly pixelated representations of foursquare-repped local spots you know and love, as well as others' avatars, which you can see upon checking into the same establishments, creating a hilarious scene where a bunch of people stare at each other and avoid each others' gazes at the same time. Check-ins and subsequent "Shouts" (tweetable micro-messages) earn you Mario-esque gold coins spendable on playing TBC mini-games against others, or on enhancing your avatar with awesome clothing, etc.; specialized prizes are accrued though multiple visitations -- hit the same bar often for a pair of beer goggles, or the same tea-house for a "Madhatter Hat", something the real you would only wear after a very long time at that bar.
The team plans to continually update with mini-games, as well as add new fun such as betting virtual currency on local sports fixtures -- though with the added excitement of fake-money on the line, that Starcraft match between the Terrans and the Zerg will become even more of a blur.