Gaming metaverse project Nifty Island’s beta launches on Jan. 17, and with it comes another opportunity to grind for a token — in this case, $ISLAND, which will power the economy of their open, interoperable gaming metaverse.
What do we know so far? In a Dec. 18 post on X, a joyful little trailer shows avatars from communities like Bored Apes, Forgotten Runes Wizards Cult, A Kid Called Beast, and Cool Cats racing to the peak of a tropical island. They compete — sabotaging each other with banana guns and spiked platforms — but they also find ways to cooperate, guiding each other to portal shortcuts. At the top, they receive a golden Legendary Palm as a prize.
A little more information dropped on Dec. 21. “Play-to-Airdrop is all about rewarding play, creativity, and participation with NFT communities in Nifty Island,” the project’s official account posted on X.
By participating in the open beta — and posting about it on social media — anyone in web3 will have the chance to farm $ISLAND. If you’re a part of a project that is participating as a community — like Forgotten Runes — there will likely be some organized games and challenges geared toward you and your friends.
The biggest prize of all? The Legendary Palms — the premier Nifty Island NFT collection. Holding one will give you an extra boost while farming, a vote in the Nifty Island DAO, and special item drops to use in their gaming metaverse.
Nifty Island has been around—available to select communities in a closed alpha—for nearly two years, and a quick check of their official accounts highlights tab shows the versatility of their platform, as communities from mfers to wassies have cavorted around islands perfectly designed to fit with their aesthetic and ethos.
As buzz builds for the open beta, we sat down with Nifty Island’s cofounder — who likes to be known in the community by his first name, Charl3s — for an exclusive interview to get some insight into what’s to come.
nft now: Is this beta open to everyone, or only to members of particular NFT communities?
Charl3s: So, it’s open to absolutely any NFT community that wants to be a part of it. That being said, there are communities that we’ve taken time with to ensure that they’ve got avatars ready in-game, and that’s involved some close collaboration with these different groups. Anyone who wants to play, and have their avatars in there and bring their community to play can definitely do so.
Many of us have been grinding airdrops all year—usually, it’s about clicking buttons or tweeting and retweeting, and so on. But you’ve got a game for us to play in order to grind! We’re sure there’s a lot you don’t want to reveal, but is there any way you can give us a sense of what the experience is going to be like, for people who want to farm some $ISLAND?
So, really, this is an attempt to marry what was great about when DeFi Summer happened; its ability to generate engagement with new products that require coordination from various parties. That was the power of it, it was this incredible kind of revolution in incentives and how they work on-chain. We’re taking a page from that book and doing it to grow and bootstrap a game world and turn users into stakeholders. In the simplest terms, this will look like—you’ll play the game and broadly share your island and the things you create in the game. Drive engagement and participate, and you’ll be able to earn points towards this eventual token.
Is it going to be really about what we build in this world? Is it going to be about creating our islands? Or is it going to be puzzle solving? Are we going to have to get good at shooting a banana gun?
Good question. So, yeah, you won’t have to be good at that! And there’s time to practice and get that gun—but basically, it’s about building a cool island in a way that you can do concurrently for fun with other players. The gameplay is going to be really easily accessible. It’s not a daunting task—it’s like playing Animal Crossing, or Minecraft. Kind of like some mesh between those, right? It’s sort of a fusion of genres we’re doing, but building an island is easy. And then you can socialize there, and you can play games. We have a set of customizable shooter games—we call it Nifty Arena. You can choose shooter games, slash with a sword, play in teams, death-match, free-for-all, capture the flag—customize that as you want. We also have an Among Us-like game called Spy Huntc where the goal of the game is to blend in with a crowd of NPCs who all look like your avatar, and you need to identify the imposters while throwing them off your trail with interesting abilities. So that’s a fun one—a good way to showcase NFT avatars. Finally, obstacle courses and races. You can build obstacle courses on your island and challenge people to be at the top of the leaderboard. And all this will be prize-driven and fun! You can also just build and hang out if you want.
Is there anything that’s not in your threads, besides the game stuff, that you care to tease?
We’re sitting on a huge back catalog of game-ready NFT assets that are themed around different NFTs and bits of crypto lore. Think of a Shiba Inu avatar, or a tower for your Forgotten Runes, or a treehouse for your Bored Apes. We have this massive back catalog, and our goal is to let players earn these assets for free by playing—to show them that an NFT can be more than a JPEG. They can be game-ready assets you can utilize in our game world and other game worlds. So a big part of the onboarding is going to be people getting to play the game and earn these special NFTs.
If you see the beginning of our trailer, that was sort of the message we were trying to get across: we’re at the beginning of this new medium; we’re not at the end.