Crypto gaming is hot. Just ask Forbes:

Today crypto games are generating billions of dollars from transactions involving unique digital goods tokenized as NFTs, a thriving economy that has compelled some players to quit their jobs and make their living exploring metaverses and trading collectibles. As the saying goes, what a time to be alive.”

ICON, too, has a thriving gaming ecosystem, one that’s only getting started. Let’s take a look at some of ICON’s hot games, and maybe even take a peek at some of the fun things to come.

Space operas, psychedelic visions, fast cars and more

ICON has more than its fair share of creative personalities, a fact immediately apparent in its gaming environment. You’ll find games of all kinds, from epics of intergalactic exploration to mind-bending, genre-defying exercises in Victorian-inspired weirdness.

Project Nebula was one of the first games to launch on ICON. Inspired by the likes of the Expanse TV series, the RPG Stars Without Number, the Blade Runner movies and Dune, the sci-fi strategy game with valuable collectables lets playersexplore a vast universe, colonise planets, build up their industry and learn new technologies while advancing their space empires and competing with other players.”

Personally, I really like the world building. And the artwork.

Like many blockchain games, Project Nebula really leverages NFT technology. Players can create new consumables, upgrade spaceships and even create new spaceship NFTs, which are tradable in the NFT Project Nebula Marketplace.

The game has come a long way since it was first released. Earlier this month, the game launched an IRC-31 Multi-Token update that turned all in-game assets from consumables to crafting blueprints into tradable NFTs on ICON blockchain. Crafting — letting players create new NFT assets that have in-game utility using gameplay resources and other NFTs — will be coming soon.

Also coming soon, Wonderland is a collaborative DeFi game launching on the Harmony and ICE blockchains. Inspired by Alice and Wonderland and with a Twitter account with plenty of appropriately surreal imagery, the P2E risk protocol game allows characters in the game to risk and gain Mushroom Tokens — $SHROOM — from each other. The three characters Alice, Queen and Cards will have unique NFTs and abilities to play strategic risk games with their $SHROOM to gain even more.

The game also has strategic partnerships with GangstaBet and ICONOsphere.

In particular, the game leverages ICON’s BTP technology to connect to multiple chains. Indeed, the game will first be released on Harmony, a BTP partner, followed soon after by SNOW and ICE.

Another NFT game coming to the ICE network is SuperNode Racing, a “racing management ecosystem” that issues NFT business licenses to open up gas stations, parts shops and other racing-related businesses.

And of course, you can ??build, own and race your own racing cars that are styled around blockchain tokens like ICX. The game will feature regular street racing, drag racing, time trial ladders, and even team based racing. Judging from some of the early graphics, the game promises to be aesthetically pleasing, at the very least. According to the AMA, there should be a presale in early 2022.

SuperNode’s CPS proposal for continuation is currently being voted upon.

And speaking of CPS proposals, another game proposal currently being voted on is Code Metal: Generation Zero, a “a battle-to-earn, on-chain battle simulator, with a unique collection of algorithmically generated HERO NFT’s built on the ICON blockchain.”

From the proposal:

To play the game, you need to battle against enemies. In Phase One of the game, the game will be PvE, meaning you battle against NPC characters. These NPC characters will have the same type of Combat Stats as HEREOS.  One HERO can target exactly one enemy. On every kill enemies drop rewards, rewards differ based on the strength of the enemy.”

Gaming, Vegas-style

If your idea of gaming involves a wager or two, ICON doesn’t disappoint.

One of the most-talked about betting apps on the ICON network is ZenSports, a remarkably successful example of the online meeting the offline. The peer-to-peer sports betting marketplace lets anyone fund, bet and trade in ICX without a central figure.

You can bet against the house, create your own bets against others, or bet with your friends using traditional fiat or cryptocurrencies, including ZenSports’ own ICON-based token called SPORTS.

ZenSports also operates an offline casino in Nevada, and it even recently launched its own NFT-based metaverse.

Then there is ICONBet. ICONbet is a fully decentralized DAO casino, completely owned and operated by members of the ICONbet DAO. Fairness, transparency, and profit redistribution are the names of the game here, so to speak. All of the smart contract code that facilitates transactions of the casino’s TAP tokens is viewable in the ICON Tracker, and the founding team is building processes to allow for simple integration of games developed by 3rd parties.

There are 11 games currently available, including blackjack, baccarat and dice.

Whole new platforms to come

Perhaps the most exciting thing coming to ICON’s gaming ecosystem is SPERA, a new blockchain-based interchain NFT game platform by ICONLOOP, the ICON Foundation and Korean game services startup 2bytes Corp.

Using ICON’s BTP technology, SPERA will connect NFTs issued on different blockchain networks and platforms, making them interoperable. This opens up a world of possibilities. For example, you might bring an NFT from CryptoPunks into a game, boosting the skills or item acquisition rate of your in-game character. Or you could bring into games NFTs from other networks like Ethereum, Klaytn or Solana.

The folk behind SPERA are really emphasizing the “game” aspect of the platform, promising games that are actually fun. This is important — so far, the big knock on blockchain gaming has been that games often seem focused on making crypto rather than on the gaming experience.

More information about SPERA will come sometime after late March, when a second teaser page is launched.