Wandering around Reddit can be almost as hazardous as falling into the time vacuums of Wikipedia and TV Tropes. This I remembered yesterday, when Massively OP reader Rick told us in no uncertain terms that we needed to check out /r/place, this year’s Reddit April Fools’ Day joke that has taken on a life of its own. “Although not described as an MMO, it is basically one,” he said mysteriously, and… he was right.
Here’s how it works: At the top of the sub is a massive pixel canvas. Every five minutes, you can place a colored tile some place on the canvas. Where do you put it? Well that depends. The sub is filled with impromptu factions of players working together, working against each other, or sowing chaos. National factions, collegiate factions, art factions, nihilist factions… it’s got everything.
One downside is that beautiful works of art are hard to keep up; consider this co-operative vision of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which was allegedly destroyed by The Black Void, which itself now has a Reddit to organize its “hits” on other teams’ projects. Give a man a fish and he’ll use it to spell FUCK on your bridge, after all.
In fact, one of the big complaints on the sub right now is that griefers are actively scripting to ruin as much of the game as possible, prompting participants to demand spammer checks. If that doesn’t make it an MMO, I dunno what would.
If it’s all sounding familiar, that’s because Reddit tried a game like this two years ago — you might remember it as The Button, a sub where Redditors were tasked with pressing a button… or not. The gag ended in June of that same year when no one pushed the button, and the hatch blew up. Wait, no, that was the other thing. On Reddit, nothing happened at all. Wonder what’ll happen to placing on the place? My bet is on everyone getting bored at being pointlessly erased and leaving the anarchists to feed on only themselves. But then, we play MMOs, so to us, it’s not so much a cute experiment as a cold reality.