Today we will look at one of the earliest Defi NFT games in existence — these pixelated and cute Aavegotchi are ghosts inspired by the ever-famous Tamagotchi devices originating from Japan which went into the hype in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
These devices used to be very exciting in their launch and are still nostalgic pieces for many today.
While not precisely intended to be a play-to-earn game, more to spread awareness in Defi with a gamified design, Aavegotchi has appealed from DeFi to collectibles and some gaming aspects. With a recent announcement of the game developing its metaverse known as Gotchiverse, the Aavegotchi is still alive and kicking. We are going to have an introduction to the game!
What is covered in this article:
Aavegotchi is a blockchain NFT game developed by Pixelcraft studios and the recipient of the Aave Ecosystem Grant. It is inspired by Tamagotchi and features similar gameplay but in an on-chain manner.
In its lore, Aavegotchis are pixelated ghosts living onchain and are backed by the ERC-721 standard. Their value is determined by a combination of its intrinsic value, i.e., the staked collateral associated with it, and its rarity level, which is calculated via multiple factors, such as the rarity of traits, equipped wearables, and your interaction with it.
Because every Aavegotchi is essentially an NFT backed by staked collateral or interest-bearing tokens, it is a unique combination of Defi and NFTs. It is one of the earlier Defi NFT games to have debuted.
The game is playable on browsers and hence all platforms in general.
Aavegotchi, similar to its inspiration from Tamagotchi, is a game you would need to interact with daily for the best gameplay experience. This is also why Aavegotchis ended up being deployed on Polygon considering gas fees and costs.
Aavegotchi is interesting because the NFTs are dynamic and their underlying metadata can change based on the interaction with their owner. This is the primary value accrual into the NFTs. Every Aavegotchi has its intrinsic value known as Spirit Force which is depicted by the staked collateral associated with the NFTs.
In addition, the game comes with a trait system that defines the rarity. Aavegotchis have six traits:
AGG = Aggressiveness
NRG = Energy
SPK = Spookiness
BRN = Brain Size
EYS = Eye Shape
EYC = Eye Color
Depending on the distribution of the traits, an Aavegotchi can be classified into a rarity system ranging from standard, uncommon, and rare to mythical.
Owners can also purchase wearables, other in-game items that you can further equip on the Aavegotchi to augment its appearance and make it even more valuable.
What’s interesting here is that the game is designed such that the starting traits of the Aavegotchi, i.e., its personality, differs across the bell curve, so when you look for wearables to upgrade your pet’s rarity, you need to get the ones that boost the traits that match the correct direction of the curve.
Outfit your Aavegotchi to augment its appearance and stats. Note how the wearables would augment the trait values, and players would want to match these for their Aavegotchis’ starting personality to maximize its rarity.
If you recall from the Tamagotchi days, your digital pet needs to be petted now and then. The game has a similar kinship mechanic where you need to interact with your Aavegotchi every 12 hours (i.e., twice a day) to earn the maximum reward in this aspect.
Aavegotchi has devised this mechanism known as Rarity Farming to incentivize players who are engaged with the game. In short, the idea is for players to raise the rarest Aavegotchis, and they will be rewarded with GHST tokens and more!
The game docs have summarized a three-pointer on what rarity farm is essentially about, i.e.
We are carefully selecting an Aavegotchi with rare traits during the summoning process.
Equipping wearables to modify the traits of your Aavegotchi
Engaging in mini-games
As simple as it sounds, the game's dynamics are constantly changing due to the addition of in-game assets and other actions from other players, so there is not an absolute min-max to the rarity farming game, and it can be very engaging.
In short, just like any video game, there is a specific meta as to what might be rare in a given period. If your Aavegotchi is currently equipped to be rare and everyone flocks to the same meta, it will eventually become standard. This ever-shifting mechanic incentivizes the top players to be on the constant chase of their pets’ rarity to farm the best rewards.
Other means to engage with the game include community-developed minigames that integrate with the Aavegotchi universe. Many of these resemble classic old-school console games back in the day and bring nostalgia and fun times.
For beginners, the game Wiki has summarized an excellent 7-step guide on what to do with the game - just quoting here for those who might be overwhelmed with the information thus far.
STEP 3: Get some wearables for your Gotchi from the Baazaar
STEP 4: Pet your Gotchi every 12 hours to increase their kinship
STEP 5: Participate in Rarity Farming
STEP 6: Play some Mini-Games
STEP 7: Wait for the Gotchiverse to roll out!
As of January 2022, the Gotchiverse has seen some announcements around its chapter 2, i.e., its metaverse game. This expands the gameplay potential of Aavegotchi to new heights, but as a starter, we want to focus on the basics and will cover ground on what’s to come in a later episode.
A few senior members run the Aavegotchi team. Code Dan is the Chief Summoner, i.e., the CEO and co-founder. According to the Avegotchi Wiki, Dan is a full stack developer and the creator of Yield Heron, an app for users to redirect their AAVE yields towards any address. He’s also had extensive experience working with NFT platforms.
The team also houses heavyweight advisors such as Stani, the founder and CEO of Aave, and Les. He has extensive entrepreneurship experience across multiple sectors, including music, entertainment, and blockchain technology.
As one of the earliest Defi NFT games out in the market, Aavegotchi has heavy support from its parent protocol AAVE (also a recipient of the AAVE Ecosystem Grant) and Polygon as its home chain for interacting with the game and its assets. To add a bit of context, the Aave Ecosystem Grant is an initiative from the Aave official team to encourage and support new projects in the space to contribute to the ecosystem's growth. Aavegotchi being a recipient, shows so much for its efforts to boost and publicize the Aave ecosystem.
Despite being a pixelated game and its longevity in the market, it has no shortage of recent partnerships with investors and guilds. In November 2021, CGU partnered up with Aavegotchi with an investment in excess of $500,000 into all aspects of the ecosystem, including parcels, wearables, and Aavegotchis.
Metaguild, one of the oldest and most active guilds in the Aavegotchi space, has announced a partnership with Aavegotchi the same time involving some XL land parcels, which has become a venue for an exclusive experience in the upcoming Gotchiverse expansion.
The native token of Aavegotchi is GHST (Ghost with the vowel taken out).
GHST is the base token for the Aavegotchi ecosystem to purchase and trade its various in-game assets. This includes Aavegotchis, Portals, wearables, consumables, collectibles, and other goods. The token also serves as the governance token in the AavegotchiDAO, which decides the roadmap and development of the ecosystem.
The current total supply of GHST is variable as the token can be minted by the bonding curve using DAI.
GHST had a token distribution event across late 2020 in 3 phases as follows:
Private Round — 5,000,000 GHST tokens will be distributed at a price of 0.05 DAI / GHST. Open to participants with KYC validation with a minimum of 20K DAI to be redeemed for GHST tokens. The total vesting period is 365 days, with an initial release of tickets on the 180th day after the close of the pre-sale round, followed by a release over the subsequent 185 days after that.
Pre-Sale Round 500,000 GHST tokens will be distributed at a price of 0.1 DAI / GHST. Open to participants with KYC validation with no minimum contribution. The vesting period is the same as the Private Round. Funds will be used as liquidity in the Token Bonding Curve reserve.
Token Bonding Curve (TBC) — Open to participants with KYC validation with no minimum contribution. No maximum supply of GHST is distributed via the bonding curve. No lockup or vesting period.
With GHST being a variable supply, the project has taken several steps to keep the ecosystem sustainable. In its current iteration, the revenue sharing distribution is in 4 components as follows:
EARN IT represents the rewards of engaging in the Aavegotchi game. We discussed rarity farming previously — as it is completed in each season, prizes in GHST will be distributed to players under different criteria such as top rarity, kinship scores, and XP.
DAO IT represents revenue going back to the DAO Treasury to sustain ecosystem efforts and grow the community to expand the project. This is currently at 15%
BURN IT is the burn mechanic of the GHST token. 5% of all portal and item sales are burned to counterbalance the downward pressure on the token price as more tokens get minted via the token bonding curve mechanic. This is the deflationary measure built into tokenomics.
BUIDL IT is the revenue share going into the development team. These incentives are in GHST to align the dev's work for the project's long-term success.
Note that the revenue sharing schedule could be subject to change; we are currently in V2. The game docs have detailed the changes from its previous iteration, and you can also check out here for the rationale for changes from V1 to V2.
Since this is an onchain game, you will need a Metamask wallet to play.
The game is on Polygon chain, so you must have some MATIC for gas. For purchasing in-game assets, you will need GHST tokens, and you can either get this from various CEXes or swap assets for the token on Quickswap on Polygon.
Once done, you can navigate to https://aavegotchi.com/ and connect your wallet.
From there, press “Play Now,” and you can navigate to the main screen where you can interact with your Aavegotchi, game assets, and the in-game marketplace and start exploring.