Out and About

New Social Game TheBlu Debuts with a Splash, But Will It Make an Impact?

The view from the party.

Whoever planned the launch party for TheBlu,  a new social-game-cum-consciousness-raising-art-experiment, did not skimp on showmanship. On the second floor of the NASDAQ MarketSite, flat-screen televisions offered glimpses of the undersea habitats awaiting those who download the game (currently available only on Mac and PC). Down below, a t-shirt-clad squad of pamphleteers fanned across Times Square, while fish swam lazily across the screens looming above them.

Boot up TheBlu, and you’ll find yourself hovering under the sea, just above a coral reef. The game focuses on exploration, rather than accomplishing predetermined tasks. You purchase your own fish and release them into the open ocean; other users fish float through your patch of reef. Click a fish that swims by, and a little pop-up menu will provide more information about the species, as well as the user that owns that individual fish. And that, in a nutshell, is the entire experience.

As one might expect from such a description, while heavily sprinkled with ultra-professional workwear and even one rather spectacular sequined minidress, the small-but-boisterous gathering was dominated by ocean lovers. But these weren’t mere beach enthusiasts. Moving among the crowd were Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove, and Andy Jones, who took home one of Avatar‘s visual effects Oscars. At one point, Betabeat turned around to find Neil Young mere inches away. Read More