One of the oldest NFT gaming platforms around, PlayMining currently offers six individual games to DeFi gaming enthusiasts. Originally launched by Digital Entertainment Asset Pte. Ltd. in 2018, creators and users made over $7.5 million in 2020–21. That’s impressive, no doubt, especially considering it was the very beginning of the Web3 gaming revolution.
Reminiscent of 80s-style arcade games, slot machines, and anime all rolled into one, the six games in PlayMining (actually five, but we’ll get to that) are not free to play. Well they are, but only for initial onboarding levels. Card battles, racing, cooking, ancient real estate, and a beautiful if odd mixture of agriculture and a coin pusher, PlayMining unquestionably occupies a popular place in the history of the metaverse.
What Is PlayMining?
PlayMining itself is not a game. It’s a platform for games, specifically NFT games. These games are:
- Cookin’ Burger;
- Fujiwara Kamui Verse;
- Lucky Farmer;
- Menya Dragon Ramen;
- and Graffiti Racer.
Think of it as a virtual arcade. You enter the arcade, but in this one you have to sign in, then you play a little bit of this game, and a little bit of that game. But every time you change games, you have to sign in again. Some of the games consist of basic, menial tasks, and others require more strategy, and dexterity.
Getting Started in PlayMining, and Gameplay
Essentially, you need an account in PlayMining, so that you can make an account for each individual game. This part is fairly simple, but it’s repetitive, and slightly time-consuming. You might even call it “mindless bureaucracy”. If you close the tab, or are gone too long, you can’t just log in again. You need to enter your email a second, or rather third time, and open a couple more tabs to continue doing what you were already doing. You’ll also need to connect your wallet obviously, so you can buy DEAPCoin, or DEP—the game platform’s token. Easier said than done. To deposit or make a withdrawal (using your wallet of course), the PlayMiner rank of Connoisseur is needed to do this, and yet there is no explanation of what, how, or where this can be done.
After logging in to PlayMining using my email account, I decided to check out JobTribes. As already mentioned, I had to create a new account for this specific game, again using my email address. I went back to my email account, clicked on the verification URL, and a new tab opened to load JobTribes. But it’s under maintenance. I’ll try again later.
Cookin’ Burger is second on our list of PlayMining games. I went back to the PlayMining landing page, clicked on the relevant button, entered my email address once more, entered my email account, clicked on the email, clicked on the link, and opened another tab to begin playing.
The tutorial is simple and easy for the actual gameplay in Cookin’ Burger, but there was little to no explanation for how to deal with NFT ownership, tokens, and so on. In fact, when I clicked on the prompt for connecting my wallet, I was taken to yet another random tab, which possessed absolutely no information for how to connect my wallet, or where.
But the game itself is every teenager’s worst nightmare of a summer job, because you’re (wait for it!) cookin’ burger(s). I must admit to playing this with a bit of pleasurable malice, these repetitive tasks of the most mundane types. Why? Because I never actually had to “flip” burgers as a teenager. Maybe I would be more traumatized playing a similar game called “Scannin’ Item”, because in high school I worked as a grocery store cashier. But all my friends were cookin’ burger, as many teens still do today, so I found this game very satisfying.
You start grilling a patty, meanwhile you fill drinks, then before the patty is burned, you assemble the burger with toppings and hand it to the customer who ordered it. At the same time, someone else will order that drink, so it’s best to have it ready, because these customers are true Karens of the worst kind: they do NOT like to wait. If they wait too long, they’ll simply walk away. After you have completed an order, don’t forget to take the money they leave so you can free up a slot for the next customer. This process gets faster and faster, and you can make more and more money. But to cash out, you need that wallet connected…
Fujiwara Kamui Verse
Fujiwara Kamui Verse is a land-based NFT game. The story is that ancient gods and people live together on a continent similar to Pangaea called Antiqua. The continent is so far divided into roughly 10,000 NFT land plots that players can own. If you own land, you can also sell it, and make decisions with the gods about how your society will develop.
You can check out part of the background story in this Medium piece in the form of an entertaining graphic novel. Apart from the story, Fujiwara Kamui Verse is similar in nature to Alien Worlds in terms of gameplay, but one difference is that you can partially navigate this world in the form of an avatar. The problem, however, is that Fujiwara Kamui Verse is also very similar in nature to JobTribes above, in that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to actually get into the game. This is a major, recurring theme in PlayMining. This problem even existed after entering my email address, checking email, clicking on the link…
Lucky Farmer is a coin-pusher game where you take the role of a farmer who tries to get lucky and win seeds. This review could also win the “strangest sentence ever in a review” award for that last sentence. These seeds are planted on an in-game farm, and over time they grow, and you reap the benefits of what you sow. How do you get seeds? You win them!
A coin pusher, if you don’t know, is a popular slot-machine-style casino game where there is a table, or bridge, with coins on it. You push a coin into the slot at the right time, aim it, and it drops at the top of the table. If you’re lucky, the barrier that slowly and repetitively keeps extending back and forth will push this coin against other coins to fall off the end of the table, and hopefully into a bucket where you can collect your winnings.
With Lucky Farmer, your winnings are greatly increased compared to the real-world version. Coins are cheap, and you can inject them into the game at such a high frequency that you can literally have piles of coins on the table. There are also boosters like a wider bucket, and a fence on the side of the bridge, that can further greatly increase your winnings. Not only coins are on this bridge, but other boosters, seeds, and special coins that are exponentially more valuable.
Gameplay in Lucky Farmer is truly hypnotic. You just won’t get bored with it, at least not for the first hour. The slot-machine aspect of it is easy to dismiss. It’s a nice bonus, but it’s continuously happening, and after a while I started to ignore it. Of course I won on my first try, but that was likely to entice my desire to play on.
When you begin, you’re given a healthy supply of coins to start with. These can be played for DEP, the in-game token, which corresponds of course to real-world money. However, to actually collect any DEP that you’ve won, you need to connect your wallet. Like the other PlayMining games thus far, I was never able to actually figure out where or how to connect my wallet, so unfortunately, my experience playing Lucky Farmer came to an abrupt end. This might be a good thing, if you look at the exorbitant prices for basic playable NFTs in the image below.
Logging into Lucky Farmer was the same as with the other PlayMining games. I now have over ten tabs open for one gaming platform.
Menya Dragon Ramen
Menya Dragon Ramen is another cooking game. To get the ingredients to make ramen, you have to battle monsters. Essentially, you run a shop simulation that makes ramen won from conquered enemies. I’ve never had so many problems making ramen before, so I was looking forward to the challenge. But to start the game, you have to load it several times. Each time a new menu item appears, the game reloads, or at least that part of the game loads. This game, however, does have the most beautiful graphics of any game in PlayMining.
The problem here is that again, after opening multiple tabs to log in, I still couldn’t actually get into the game on my laptop. I decided to try on my phone, and success! While I was unable to actually connect my wallet again (every time I tried in any of these PlayMining games, I was always taken to that same empty URL that just shows updates and new releases), I was able to play the game. However, the graphics are so intensive and small that it’s simply impossible to play on a phone screen.
Fifteen tabs later, two devices, and five out of six games successfully started (JobTribes is under maintenance again, after three days of trying), Graffiti Racer is…sort of fun! It’s an NFT coloring book, which I found rather novel, combined with a simple racing game reminiscent of the very first version of Excitebike. Once you get to the racing part, all you do is hit the spacebar to activate boosts, and use the vertical arrow keys to dodge obstacles on the race track.
The in-game tutorial gives you perhaps a too-detailed list of instructions, as all I wanted to do was start playing, but I was constantly forced to learn new “stuff”. It’s all simple, but it sort of reminded me of playing a PlayStation 4 game in that to even begin, you have to weather an extensive litany of menu choices. But, the instructions are easy, and in a friendly voice. Eventually you’re instructed to select a character (an NFT), and follow simple number-based coloring instructions. Then you can race!
In each race, some of the other characters inexplicably activated some boost that caused them to roar past me. This was a bit frustrating, to be honest, as I wasn’t playing Lucky Farmer anymore, but a game that should have reflected my skill with pressing arrow keys. Regardless, each completed race offered me points that I could use to upgrade my character. Upgrades like speed, stamina, and handling.
Some aspects of this game I didn’t quite understand: sheets, and films. Sheets are where these upgrades I just mentioned are located. These also expand to include “attributes” and “rarity”. You’re given a few free sheets at the start so you can develop a whole fleet of characters to race in Graffiti Racer, and you can buy more later as well.
Films, however, were more baffling. I was told at one point that my film would soon be peeled off from my character, with no explanation of what this could mean. Perhaps it’s an artistic expression that I’m just not familiar with? Or it’s a mistranslation from Japanese?
Eventually I was able to recolor my character, this time according to my own choices. This is when my unique NFT was available, which, after connecting my wallet, I would be able to sell if I chose to. But, like other PlayMining games, I was unsuccessful, and I reached a point in the game where free play was no longer available until a wallet was connected. I must mention however that unlike the other games on this platform, there was at one point a button offering to “connect wallet”. I clicked on it, had to enter my email address, and…the email never arrived. Multiple attempts.
By the way, Job Tribes is currently under maintenance.
I was able to play only three of the six games in PlayMining. This is either due to my own ignorance, or the developer making some huge mistakes in the basic design of the platform and individual games. Regardless of the reason, 50% success is hardly a success. That said, the three games I did play are indeed fun, if not simple. The developer can make good games, there’s no question about that.
But the design of the platform and games is also uncomfortably organized in terms of how many times I had to sign in. This was actually ridiculous! I should be able to sign in with a wallet like with the vast majority of Web3 games right at the start. Not create an account for each individual game, including multiple tabs being opened. Not to mention the complete failure to connect my wallet.
PlayMining is a popular game, which means that a lot of people do not have the problems I had with it. Perhaps it is a result of my browser, or even operating system? I doubt it. I think the developer simply needs to revamp the game, and I have an idea how they could do it. It’s a role-playing game—an RPG.
It’s called PlayDesigning. The developer takes on the role of a gamer trying to make the transition from Web2 to Web3 gaming. This gamer has no knowledge of programming, or the complexities of blockchain and NFT technology. They just want to play fun, no-nonsense games.