8th: The Honesty Game – Part One – the game

This week I am off, so I decide to probably post 2 ideas, which actually source from the same origin. This is the part one and part two is coming shortly.

In 2012 after I left Price Industries, I spent roughly a year on thinking about my life. I built a website, went back to school and participated some researches again, and talked to a few investors about my bullshit ideas. One of them is this idea called: The Honesty Game.

The Game

I did’t really have a story outlined clearly. But this game is like Diablo or Warcraft. It’s typical that a player can choose strength-based, agility-based, or intelligence-based character, kill monsters and collect treasure. Of course there will be a story line why doing so, I haven’t figured that out yet. However, what makes the game special is how the character grows.

Small portion of growth is through the game playing, like gaining experience by finishing a task (inside the game). But large portion of the growth can be dictated from outside of the game.

This game allows the players connect their additional social accounts with the game. Those accounts will aggregate all data in real life to improve their game characters. For example, if a fitness account shows the player has done a run in real life, the game character will gain some strength; an aerobic exercise may gain some agility; sleeping well will gain some stamina; finishing a book, or even checking in at a bookstore may gain some intelligence.

There are so many things we can link from real life to the game, like where does the player go to (check in), what does the player buy, what does the player post in social network, even if this player has been paying his/her debit, all can not only impact the growth of the game character, but also impact the story line.


I don’t think I was the only person who came out with such an idea in 2012; I like to think there were many people way ahead of my crazy nonsense.

The whole idea is a little like Black Mirron – Nosedive, aired in 2016. But with more!

That’s why the game is called: The Honesty Game.

Everything you do in real life, needs to be honest, and will change how you proceed inside the game.

But of course, people will ask, where is the privacy?

I will always think this way:

  1. Do we really have privacy nowadays, or do we just have an illusion of having privacy?
  2. Are people willing to sacrifice their privacy, in exchange of benefits or convenience?

I give away my personal information (to a certain degree) when shopping on Amazon; so is using any other website, in exchange of the service I am receiving.

History tells us, shutting down the border of a country with other countries would not help growth (yes, I may be hinting something). I was referring to the Qing dynasty in Chinese history. They were so ignorant at the time and eventually got invaded by Western Countries hard.

Maybe today, people will still try to fight to protect privacy, actually they just try to fight to have the illusion longer. Eventually, maybe no one will care any more. Or maybe, one day, the controversial Social Credit System will be implemented. Even many Internet discussion are still laughing at it, it may not be a very bad idea after all. I will elaborate another idea related to it in Part Two.

But here is the thing:

Privacy or not?

We should always be allowed to have a choice.

People can choose to live off the grid, in a cave, social-account-less, or not to have any service, such as playing The Honesty Game.

Or they can choose to be enrolled.


I actually went back to China and presented The Honesty Game to a few people. They all liked it. Interestingly, they did not consider privacy as an issue. It’s China after all. Most companies are collecting people’s data already, and China is now almost a cashless country, which means many people rely on their smart device in daily life already.

The biggest issue, however, is having strong connection with the big player in the market, such as Tencent, Alibaba, etc.. Those companies control most people’s data, and then it’s the Internet censorship in China. We discussed how government will have to allow the game to be connected with all other data providers, and what type of challenges we may encounter. Not very straightforward unless we have big players involved.

The second issue was: I was not a game developer. I don’t really have any prototype or design to show. I only have a pile of BS.

Anyway, I still like this idea. I read a story a few days ago, and came to realize that this idea could actually be used in a different way. Check the Part Two.

BTW, if you are looking for a laughter. I just rewatched IT Crowd and found this episode about “Friendface” very hilarious. Kind of related to this topic.