Zeitheist, which demoed last night at NYGaming at AOL Ventures, is a new web-based Twitter meta-game. The idea of a Twitter-based game may be new, but Zeitheist is a pretty addictive thirty-second challenge, asking players how well they know what’s popular on Twitter right this second.
You’re given a random number of instances, and your goal is to pick 5 words that will appear on Twitter that number of times in the next 30 seconds. Your goal is to get as close to the randomly generated number as possible, so you can’t just toss lol or the into zeitheist for the obvious zillion hits.
Quick notes on the Zeitheist system: Feel free to use words, hashtags and Twitter usernames, or a combination. Don’t bother with full names, just drop Britney or Gaga into the magic box.
There’s a bit of guesswork and free-association in picking word choices, which adds another distinctly social element if you’re with others, enabling a face-to-face meta-conversation about a mini meta-game based on the distant mini-conversations of Twitter. This is the quick, lite connection and superfast gameplay I’ve envisioned in social games, but I’m usually thwarted by pop-ups asking me to spend my MagicBucks on “optional” upgrades or to ask all my friends to water my petunias. (The word association is all well and good until you’re at the game demo looking at simpsonsparadox missed the goal by 28 using the terms:gaga, tornado, mmo, screamland, birther on the main Zeitheist site. Hmm.)
Currently, you begin by playing against your own score, trying to improve your trending accuracy, but once you’ve played enough rounds to become ranked, Zeitheist will call you out against similarly ranked players, and show your scores off on the leaderboards. Future development will offer a player-vs-player challenge, with the ability to call out potential rivals via Twitter.
Rounds are quick, thirty seconds by definition, which is the short playtime-reward of a good workday slacking social game. I can’t help but wonder, though, if growing users for this addictive quick game will cause enough API calls to slow down or even fail whale Twitter. Dev Alex Rossi promises that Zeitheist is working with Twitter to save us from fail, and players are currently limited to ten plays an hour.
What do you think? Let me know how good you are at predicting popular!
Meg Stivison blogs on videogames and life at Simpsonsparadox.com
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