Current Chain

Current and historical Chain World play order:

1. Jason Rohrer

2. Jia Ji = currently in possession of the chain in Pahoa, Hawaii.

3. Positional Super Ko = determined by winning associated charity auction on March 18, 2011.

4. Jane McGonigal willing to play

5. Open Slot = determined by winning associated charity auction.

6. Will Wright willing to play

7. Open Slot = determined by winning associated charity auction.

8+ To Be Determined

33 Responses to Current Chain

  1. Excuse me, but this is a load of bull. I presume that game designers are able to figure out the consequences of rule systems they design. Yet I wonder whether you realize what system you are setting up by grafting these rules onto Jason’s game/religion thing? You are doing two things:

    1. Selling the right to play the game to the highest bidder
    2. Somehow reserving the right for famous people to play the game

    This is insane. You’re basically saying that the way to participate Jason’s project is to have expendable cash, or be famous. There is absolutely nothing reverent about that. It is completely counter to the tone of the talk that Jason gave at GDC.

    The fact that the money goes to charity is irrelevant: if you are trying to say that you want the game to go to the person who does the most ‘good’ by donating money, that is such a myopic view of goodness that it makes me quake with anger. Have you considered that there are people who should play this game who maybe don’t have a bucket of expendable cash they are sitting on?

    I understand that when you get something powerful in your hands, your next thought is “how can I put this toward some form of social good?” But you are subverting the intent of the original project, and doing it in a way that makes it an exclusionary thing, rather than a thing of beauty and grace that travels from hand to hand, building a rich lore that goes along with it.

    Instead, you would like someone to say, “I won it in an auction so I could meet Will Wright.” This is maybe the worst thing that could’ve happened to Chain World.

    • Ryan Seney says:

      Donating money to charity for the privilege to “play” doesn’t seem like a terrible idea to me and seems fairly analogous to the operations of some religions in the past or present. If the intent is to pass the torch to someone outside the established circle of Jason, Jia, Will and Jane, how else should Jia make the choice? (And if the intent isn’t to get it outside the circle early, then why not just go Jason -> Jia -> Will -> Jane -> Auction?)

      Jason’s rules are highly ambiguous as to how the current owner of the stick determines who is “expressing interest”. If Jia wants to run an auction to determine the next recipient that’s totally his perogative. It’s probably unfair that some of the slots are pre-determined… but I feel that ultimately the plan is to eventually get this project outside of an inner circle of game developers and into the wider world once slot 8 is reached.

      Regardless, I think there’s very little preventing anyone else from starting their own “religion”, especially if someone wanted to create a copy of the launcher and pass along their own USB stick. When you get down to it, this is ultimately Boatmurdered mashed with “Where’s George?”.

      • Sam says:

        The point of Chain World is that it’s not something meant for the rich. It’s and experience. Nobody knows who has it or what they’ll do. Now it’s an expensive USB drive on eBay with a Minecraft save on it. This isn’t what is was meant to be. You can compare it to the corruption of the Christian Church and The Reformation. People were selling indulgences, a paper that would supposedly clear you of past sin, which was wrong. Salvation, like Chain World, was supposed to be a special thing, not something that could only be bought by the rich. Chain World is something were, you see someone play or mention Minecraft and you slip them the USB drive and whisper, “Chain World” and their face lights up. I appreciate that Jia Ji is helping charities get money, that’s great, but it sort of ruins it for the rest of us if any schmuck can just buy it so long as they have the money.

        • Herman says:

          Oh please don’t go and compare it with anything like that, it will only make you enemies.

          Besides that, I have to agree with you. But still, as long as it’s for charity I’m not complaining. No-one will stop you from doing a chain world with your friends or another community! Use Reddit ;)

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  3. Jia Ji says:

    I’m currently in post-tsunami rural Hawaii, with intermittent internet access, so I’ll try to keep this short. I appreciate the points Darius brought up, but there seems to be a few mis-communication/interpretations, which is why I just spoke with Darius directly on the phone to clear them up. Here’s a few to immediately clarify:
    1. The first question asked during the Q&A following Jason presenting was somebody asking about auctioning off Chain World for personal benefit. I thought I’d just try to set a precedent for charitable auctions if people’s first thought is to auction it off anyway.
    2. The auction system doesn’t run indefinitely. It’s just for the first few playthroughs and I thought people would appreciate the fact that Will Wright and other creative designers interacted with the cooperative world we’re building.
    3. After talking with Darius, there’s a increasing likelihood of us creating a religious schism by forking Chain World into at least two sects. An orthodox sect similar to Darius’s set of beliefs and a “charitable works” sect similar to my set of beliefs. We’re trying to keep the holy war at a low boil :)
    4. Speaking of which, I enjoy vigorous debate, but let’s try to keep things civil. Personal attacks, especially those directed to Jane, Jason, Will, etc are way out of line because I asked them to do me a favor, so any ill-will against this idea should be directed at me solely. However, I also don’t appreciate the hatemail (I don’t think anyone does) for trying to raise funds for children’s hospitals and other charities. So let’s try to keep the discourse civil, realize it’s just a game, and not have another dickwolves scenario. It’d also be nice to centralize all the discussion in one place, like the first post at where we ask for comments/suggestions.


    • Darius K. says:

      I didn’t exactly agree that it’s okay for you to make a ccopy of the game and fork it. I think it’s wrong. But I also can’t stop you in any practical way from doing so.

      • Jia Ji says:

        I could also do what your friend Jonathon Myers wants and destroy the original. But first I’d make several identical copies of Chain World on identical flash drives and send them all out at once. Then who would be the one true religion? :)

  4. Patrick says:

    I take an amoral stance on the whole thing but I just wanted to point out how your acquiring the USB was such a fickle circumstance, such an unlikely incidence.

  5. Christian McCrea says:

    It would be best if you return the USB drive to Jason, donate 500 US to the charity, and ask Jane and Will to do the same.

    This is likely to turn into a PR nightmare very quickly.

  6. NordicNinja says:

    Hoo, boy.

    First of all, I want to say that I think both of these ideas are great. That is, one ‘orthodox’ way of being a meditation on religion and the other being a charity generator fueled on celebrity.

    Individually taken and with an objective mind, I’d love to get my hands on either version. However, I cannot help feeling kind of uncomfortable with all of this. There’s a very barbed thought in my mind about converting something of that nature into something like this. Very vague, and probably not very helpful. I’ve been trying to find a suitable analogy – and all I could really come up with is a city’s guided tour of Banksy works. Maybe that little larvae will mature soon and be worth something of note but I at least wanted to get it out there.

  7. Jia Ji says:

    @Patrick, isn’t most of life just fickle circumstances?

    @Christian It’s against Jason’s own rules to return the game back to him. We’ll probably all donate at least $500 to charity regardless, I hope you do the same. And aren’t most religions PR nightmares?

    @NordicNinja After working in the nonprofit sector for a bit, I’ve realized a good amount of charity is celebrity fueled and there’s nothing wrong with that. It brings more attention to a cause (cue tsunami relief specials) and arguably the most popular gamer charity Child’s Play is due to the fame of Gabe and Tycho. On a less related side note, after watching “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, I think Banksy would love the idea of people giving guided tours of his works. He’s like a modern-day Warhol and I believe his construction of Mr. Brainwash is a commentary about the inherent absurdity of commercializing art.

    Finally, I’ve temporary removed the moderation queue since comments are moving too fast for me to moderate, but can people please try to centralize the discussion at Thanks.

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  10. Sam Beller says:

    I would also point out that this violates the laws of the game. I have seen nowhere that Jane Mcgonigal or Will Wright have expressed an interest in playing, nor have they expressed an interest to the as yet unknown third player. Jia Ji is simply attempting to take on the role of God and control access to a world the conception of which had nothing to do with him. Were this not the case, he would simply have sent the drive to the first apparently genuine person to show an interest.

    +1 for megalomania.

  11. Sam Beller says:


    So Jason Rohrer, the erstwhile God of Chain World seems to have some feelings on this

  12. Publicity Ho says:

    Jia Ji = horrible publicity ho.

  13. Fadobo says:

    I think it’s a matter of time, until somebody recreates the script and releases it into the wild with hundreds of Chainworlds popping up everywhere. This is where it get’s interesting for me. I’m looking forward to always carrying a Chainworld in my Pocket on gaming conventions etc. to excchange it with another one’s world (or even better: put it online).

    Right now, it’s just a fun little thing for rich people, that will break the moment it get’s to the first saboteur (which is pretty soon. You know that if you play online games). Making it “exclusive” makes it totally worthless in my opinion…

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  16. DrJones says:

    I have to go with Darius. This is just utter bull crap.

    I mean. You took someone else’s game, thought of a concept where you could fit in your pseudo-philosophy, and sell it to the highest bidder.

    No, sorry, but I won’t be part of this. I have nothing against anyone (as a matter of fact, I don’t know any of you guys), but this seems like the wrongest thing to do.

    First, Notch clearly stated in his tweets that he don’t wants his game to have any link with any or all religions curently in practice. So you using his game in that state of mind is real bad hypocrisy.

    Add to that that you intend to sell for quite a high price (not everyone has 500$+ to spend on such a trivial matter) a game that you can buy for almost nothing. I’m not sure I’d like to pay 500$ to play minecraft with only one life when I can get it for lest than 20$. The more I say it, the more I realise it sounds like a good, old fashionned rip-off.

    Lastly, I haven’t checked or searched for it, but I’m pretty sure someone probably already came up with the same concept of “play a world, die, pass it on” but on a free basis and who doesn’t include all the religious (may I say propaganda?) stuff in it.

    So yeah, good luck with that.

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  18. Al says:

    Who knew a cripple could be such a bitch! Your just jealous because your life sucks and you were not smart enough to come up with this awesome game design/idea, so you are now trying to take credit. The point was to pass it on, not hold it hostage for donations. I think the whole idea of this game would have been better off if the tsunamii had just killed Jia Ji and washed the flash drive to someone who would follow the rules.

  19. Bambi says:

    You people are being completely ridiculous and absolutely childish about this whole thing. Shame on you.

  20. Matthew Nasi says:

    The winner of the auction decides who gets it next. The “Current Chain” is therefore pointless and irrelevant, much like China’s attempt to create their own version of Dalai Lama.

  21. ... says:

    I can’t believe it! You RUINED Chain World! I’m going to lob childish insults at you now! You’re stupid and so are your friends! HAH! THAT SHOWED YOU!!!!!1!!11!1!1!1!1ELEVENTY!1!1!

    NOW MAKE IT FREE OR ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!1!!111

  22. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Jason himself said in the Q/A section that there were no rules concerning passing on chain-world for a profit, and in this case it’s all for charity, so for those of you complaining, go back and watch the presentation, and for those of you throwing around death threats and insults, grow up.

  23. Niche93 says:

    So… Who has the world right now? It would be nice with an update or something.

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  25. Bronze says:

    So is chain world dead as fast as it came to life? Did Jia kill an amazing idea?

    • Jia Ji says:

      The reports of our death are greatly exaggerated, but I did recently sustain a chest contusion injury and the Chain World flash drive is preparing for a treacherous voyage overseas back to the mainland. Please stay tuned for updates here plus some reports in the mainstream press later this summer.

  26. Christopher Weeks says:

    So, what’s up with it?

    Googling around for the current status isn’t turning any useful information up. It became clear when this first started that I hadn’t a hope of participating, but I’m genuinely interested in following Chain World. But is there anything to follow?

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