r/Place NFT, The Internet draws us all together, for better or worse. The World Wide WebTM has its advantages and disadvantages, whether it’s for generating beautiful, crowd-sourced art, fighting Wall Street corruption, reconnecting with old family and friends, or cyber-bullying me about my video gaming opinions.
What is the holy spirit of the Internet’s yin and yang deed, you may wonder? Reddit. On April 1, we saw the long-awaited return of r/Place, a subreddit that epitomized the best and worst of the Internet. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, maybe even seen some of it, and wondered what the hell was going on. Don’t worry, your resident Nerd-in-Chief at Esquire has you covered. Here’s a primer on r/Place.
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What is r/Place nft?
r/Place is a Reddit social experiment that began in 2017. Josh Wardle (creator of Wordle, have you heard of it?) described r/Place as “a screenshot of the Internet at this instant in time.” Five years later, on April 1, 2022, the subreddit made a triumphant and enormous return. r/Place provides a large, open canvas on which everyone and everyone can place a single coloured pixel. Because each pixel has its own timer, no one or group can spam its shapes indefinitely, forcing either user coordination (if you want beauty) or outright disorder (if you want mayhem). r/Place weaves creativity, collaboration, and pure chance into an awe-inspiring tapestry that the designer in me finds genuinely beautiful.
|Created by||Josh Wardle|
|Registration||Reddit account required|
|Users||2017: Over 1 million
2022: Over 6 million
|Launched||Original launch: April 1, 2017
Rebooted: April 1, 2022 .
Who are the Main Players in r/Place nft?
It’s a combination of Reddit users and members of various online groups, with streamers providing significant engagement and mobilization. Many streamers have enlisted the help of their viewers to claim a piece of the canvas. As one could expect, this resulted in some stressful real estate fights, but also some very surprising and gorgeous synchronized pieces.
What are the Biggest Stories of this Great Canvas?
I’d like to focus on a few top-tier streamers who all approached r/Place nft in very different ways. PaymoneyWubby is a Just Chatting streamer and aspiring Fortnite “pro,” Ludwig Ahgren is famous for being Esquire’s 2021 Streamer of the Year (we hear it’s the second-most-coveted award in the streamer community), and XQC is a Canadian streamer, former Overwatch Pro, and menace to the r/Place community.
These three artists, like van Gogh and Picasso, take very distinct approaches to their work. Wubby, the techie, will go first. Wubby gathered his troops, while Twitch tech darling TT developed an in-browser addon. The extension changed a section of the pixel graph into a paint-by-numbers system. It showed everyone where the incorrect colours were and what colours needed to be replaced. However, only in the specified quadrant. This strategy resulted in not only a sharp emote from Wubby’s community, but also a collaboration with streamers Will Neff and Mizkif to build a beautiful memorial to Reckful, a Twitch streamer who died in 2020. It’s a true masterpiece—and a wonderful example of community and technology working together.
Meanwhile, Ludwig collaborated with his neighbourhood to create some amazing works. However, their art is more like a visual representation of the scene in Whiplash where J.K Simmons loses it. It’s insane. But what they’ve created is stunning. And then there’s XQC. The beast. He brought devastation. XQC used his vast audience to launch coordinated attacks of black holes devouring art. Since then, the artwork has been recreated. Most people are stronger as a result of it. XQC is a New York back alley artist who considers arson to be his sculpture. But it sure made things interesting.
These are by no means the only persons participating. There have been conflicts between communities, governments, and streamers, with both humorous and terrifying displays of force. One thing is certain: This was some of the most enjoyable times I’ve ever had on the Internet in years.
Miscellaneous Items of Interest
Dick Meteor: A penis that blasted into the center of the photo before exploding in a biologically precise way to kill everything in its path. This isn’t the first time something has gone wrong. It won’t be the final dick. But it was the most lethal dick.
BGL (Big Green Line): I had no idea where this was coming from or where it was heading. But there was a frightening, laser-like green line that just kept growing.
Act of French Aggression: France neatly put its flag on top of the image before grabbing a large chunk of territory in the lower left corner. Anyone who attempted to destroy either territory was continuously attacked by the French.
XQC ButtGate: In addition to his usual wicked deeds, XQC had a change of heart and began creating a butt, which was promptly censored by r/Place admins. (Previously, their power was exclusively used to monitor hate speech and other similarly awful pictures.) Butt, rest in peace.
The White Void
On Monday evening, r/Place came to a random, stunning end. The community was suddenly left with only one color option: White. The r/Place community proceeded to erase all of the work they did over the weekend. It was surprisingly sweet and reflective, wonderfully concluding a phenomenal experiment. Like many of r/Place’s admirers, I hope it becomes a yearly thing, opposed to something we only see every half decade. r/Place brought new collaborations between streamers, broke language barriers, gave way to more than a few incredible stories, and created some damn fine art while doing it. I can’t wait to see what could possibly rival the Dick Meteor next year.