Encounter new music, new friends with ClubBox
In many ways, the social media revolution that has changed the world over the last decade has its beginnings in the illicit music trade that sprang up on Napster beginning in 1999. Call it piracy, call it immoral, but it opened the world to music that many of us had never heard before; music, indeed, that never would have come to our little music shops on the other side of the world. At the time, it seemed revolutionary. Clicking through the random player-made clubs on Basil Box’s new social game ClubBox, I experienced something akin to that sense of discovery for the first time in years, and it’s worth a look for that reason alone. And best of all, it’s legal.
At first, ClubBox is a little overwhelming visually. Gigantic yellow smiley faces pop at you from seemingly every corner, and the garish color palette reminds one of some of the more trippy psychedelic posters from the 1960s. Once you get past that little shock, you’ll see that ClubBox is a fun music club sim at its core. Like so many other social games, you have the option to decorate and expand your club, although ClubBox makes changing the venue’s overall color comparatively easy. You can further personalize your club by giving it a name, setting its location, and associating it with a general style of music.
Hosting events at your club generates money and allows for special free items for the duration (up to 48 hours), including beer pong tables for the “College Party” and gigantic Rubik’s Cubes for ’80s night. In addition, you can choose from a wide set of special lighting effects that be upgraded over time. During these events, you’ll have the opportunity to play several mini drinking games, including a “Drinking Maze” in which you steer a Pac-Mac-like avatar through hordes of happy drinkers while you grab their drinks.
But back to the music. This is the real star of the show here, since ClubBox allows you to customize the music that’s playing in your club when new visitors arrive. It’s a fairly simple process, too: building a playlist merely takes copying and pasting any number of YouTube URLs into a designated space. These should preferably feature music videos since these also show up on a club’s page). As you can imagine, this provides for a particularly unique experience during events if you take the time to tailor your playlist for the evnt, and it also allows you to share your music with every player in the game.
Unlike many other social games that focus solely on your immediate friends, ClubBox provides you with a “Random Club” button that will take you to another player’s club. Their playlist will start playing immediately upon arrival, and occasionally you’ll find yourself entranced by a particularly good piece of music. I was particularly taken with a remix of Trentmoller’s “Moan,” which I found myself downloading on iTunes not long after finishing the host’s minigame and watching the video on his club’s homepage. Within your own club, clicking on a visitor will allow you to click on their avatar and see what’s playing at their club.
Predictably, most of the music offerings you’ll encounter at this stage of the game are the electronica beats popular in Basil Box’s native Europe. Clubbing of this variety rightly or wrongly enjoys much of the same popularity as association football here in the on the other side of the pond, which is to say not much at all. Even so, encountering good music that you normally wouldn’t listen to provides one of the main joys of the game, and we’re looking forward to experiencing more variety in the coming months as the game grows.
If ClubBox currently has a major flaw, it’s the comparatively sluggish response times you’ll sometimes encounter when clicking on menus and similar items. The many lighting effects and crowded dance floors likely account for this—not to mention the YouTube video playing below your club—but thankfully it doesn’t occur as frequently as it could. BasilBox is constantly improving their product with dedication uncommonly seen in a beta these days, and new features are being added all the time. Among those on the horizon are customizable avatars, jobs for your friends (including bouncers!), and the ability to search for clubs by name or genre. In short, ClubBox is more than worth a visit.