"Earn cash and win prizes just by playing video games!" We've seen that type of empty promise on dozens of fake-out ads all over the internet. But thanks to one creative indie developer, this weekend it will really be possible to do just that.
The game in question is Jason Rohrer's The Castle Doctrine, a multiplayer PC game focused on simulating paranoid home defence. (It's named for the actual legal doctrine that allows people in some states to use deadly force when protecting their own home.)
In The Castle Doctrine, which is currently in alpha and officially releases next week on the 29th, you alternate between setting up traps to defend your own home and heading out to rob the homes of others. In honour of the game's launch, Rohrer is doing something typically Rohrer-ian — he's using a portion of the money he made on the game's alpha to put out a $US3000 bounty to divide between players in exchange for the money they can steal before this coming Monday.
Here's Rohrer, from the Castle Doctrine website:
The contest will run until 5pm US PST on Monday, January 27. At that moment in time, whatever money you have in the game will be converted into real US Dollars and paid to you. Steal more, win more. Have your in-game money stolen from you, and the robber will win more.
I'm taking a fraction of The Castle Doctrine's alpha-period earnings and putting up a game-wide bounty of $US3000 USD. This amount will be divided among all living players at the 5pm deadline based on the fraction of total game money that each player possesses. The exchange rate will fluctuate throughout the contest period, according to how much total money accumulates in the game. The current exchange rate is:
Rohrer says that $US146 in game = $US1 USD, so if your house is worth $US2,000 you'll win $US13 USD.
Scaling up according to the current exchange rate, per Rohrer:
$10000 = $US68 USD
$50000 = $US342 USD
$100000 = $US684 USD
There's more than just the cash prizes too: The top eight players will have their favourite in-game painting transformed into pixel art on canvas and sent to them. The catch, of course, is that in order to have the canvas made for you, you have to have control of the painting in the actual game. If another player breaks in and steals it from you, you can't get a real-life print of it, even if you manage to finish in the top eight.
There are other prizes as well — first place gets Rohrer's own dog club (never used on a dog), which he owned in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a pitbull-infested terrorzone that he's documented on his blog and which was the inspiration for the Castle Doctrine itself. Second through fifth places get a Door Devil door reinforcer. Sixth through eighth places get a $US50 shopping spree at Custom Cartridge Company, a gun shop in New Mexico, which Rohrer is sure to note is not actually enough money to buy a gun.
Provocative prizes for a provocative game, but mostly just a cool way to bridge the game with the real world. Get stealing, and you could walk off with a couple hundred bucks, a sweet painting and some shotgun shells. Not bad.
Of course, to play, you'll have to pre-purchase the game, which will get you access to the alpha. For more information on the ins and outs of the promotion, visit Rohrer's blog, where he's posted a lengthy Q&A on the particulars.