NFTs, Cyberpunk, and the Real-Life Metaverse Cantina
Co-authored by Marguerite deCourcelle, CEO of Blockade Games
and Francesca Bassa, Co-Founder & Experiential Designer at Lucid Dreaming
Large scale communication networks.
Growing computer systems, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.
A ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information.
Invasive modification of the human body.
A technological revolution contrasted with crippling inequality
How does one survive in an unequal society?
Can we fight back?
Perhaps the most interesting question is the most surprising.
Does this describe our current world, or is this collection of statements simply part of a story?
Maybe it’s both.
Games as Portals
At Blockade Games, our mission is to create immersive, multiplayer experiences that give players agency to fight for what they believe in.
Drawing on cyberpunk themes, art, and storylines–we provide a portal into the world of Web3 and a mechanism for players to acquire their first cryptocurrencies through gamification.
Neon District, our flagship game, is a cyberpunk role-playing adventure where players collect in-game NFTs to enrich the gaming journey. We want everybody from blockchain pros to mainstream gamers to enjoy a shared experience. Games don’t end inside the vacuum they were created, and great experiences transcend mediums.
The Metaverse Cantina
Most multi-player games have a gathering place. A location where players congregate, good banter is exchanged, the fashionable are admired, stories are shared, ranks are noted, missions are given, and bounties are paid. This proverbial watering hole is where all the storylines coalesce, and becomes a genesis for later action.
This belief and framework inspired the recent collaboration between Superchief Gallery, OpenSea, and Blockade Games to create a real-life gathering space to bridge the gap between digital art, virtual games, NFTs, blockchain, and physical spaces.
Cyberpunk Vol. 1 showcased the world’s first curated gathering of Cyberpunk NFT sponsored by OpenSea and Blockade Games, and curated by Random Ghost.
In true metaverse fashion, the show lived both online (via an auction hosted on Open Sea), as well as in-person launch events held simultaneously in NYC and LA at the Superchief NFT Galleries.
Superchief, the world’s first NFT gallery, and Random Ghost, whose digital collections are considered the longest-running major cyberpunk inspiration resource, set on a mission to elevate cyberpunk artists in a group showcase. The IRL show experience featured neon-lined walls, digital displays, dystopian vibes and moody electronic music to transport the attending audience into a cyberpunk metaverse– with a well placed wink and nod to our own world.
This “metaverse cantina” is the first of many installments that build the mechanism for game experiences to carry over into virtual art, that then carry over to a physical reality–where art is then viewed, engaged, played with, purchased–and sent back to the digital realm.
Blockade Games sponsored the event as part of our commitment to cultivating the Cyberpunk genre throughout the metaverse, as well as to explore how physical space can provide deeper social involvement with NFTs and gamification. This fusion of spaces and assets, both physical and virtual, has endless possibilities.
Art as Agency
Our main focus is not to convert gallery foot traffic into gamers, but to convert game assets into fine art, turning art enthusiasts into appreciators of fine art game assets–elevating game artists into new worlds that give them real agency.
The metaverse is a fusion of the spaces and assets we occupy under our individual identities. NFTs have the ability to be transported out of digital applications and have representation in the physical world.
We believe games don’t end inside the vacuum they were created, but great experiences transcend mediums. that real life, and the art that creates it, is a game in and of itself.
And it seems, others agree.
“We believe we can use technology to lean into the ‘reality’ of augmented reality — encouraging everyone, ourselves included, to stand up, walk outside, and connect with people and the world around us. This is what we humans are born to do, the result of two million years of human evolution, and as a result those are the things that make us the happiest. Technology should be used to make these core human experiences better — not to replace them.”
John Hanke, Founder & CEO, Niantic The Metaverse is a Dystopian Nightmare. Let’s Build a Better Reality)
Cyberpunk Vol. 1: Talent Spotlight
Cyberpunk Vol. 1 featured a slew of artists, ranging from freelancers to game developers, all with a unique vision on translating cyberpunk into thematic assets that bleed between the digital and physical worlds.
For many, this was their genesis piece. Here are a few highlights:
Ben Mauro shocked the world last year, netting millions in his first major drop. Speaking to Decrypt, he highlighted the game-changing potential NFTs have for digital artists. “I feel like I’ve been waiting for this my entire career, and finally technology and art came together in a beautiful way that allows every artist to do this for the first time. It’s incredible.” In addition to a prolific resume, Mauro continues to create innovative stories through Huxley, a comic book series built by NFTs.
Other artist highlights from Cyberpunk Vol. 1 include Anthony Eftekhari, Art Director at AAA Games Studio Blizzard Entertainment, who has worked on titles such as Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Overwatch. His work has been published in many 3D magazines and won the Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, an awards event that honors the best games in the video game industry.
Benjamin Bardou, another featured artist, is creating Megalopolis where he is building a continuous and ever-growing world based on a dystopian future Paris.
Mehdi Hadi and his short film, NOMANKIND, available in its entirety in Cyberpunk Vol. 1 was selected for seven film festivals, winning awards at LACA Los Angeles, and New York Movie Awards Best Indie Short Film