Posted: November 27, 2009

Nanotechnology creatures battling inside your computer

(Nanowerk News) We haven't had a Slow News Friday story in a while, so today, especially with the holiday season upon us, would be a good time to take a look at Nanovor. This is an online video game, launched earlier this year, in the "shoot'em up" category and marketed to 7-12 year olds. But, hey, who doesn't know a nanotechnology researcher who sometimes behaves like a 12-year old...
Nanovor is a collectible battling monster game that features nanoscopic monsters and lots of green goo. Players can collect, evolve, trade and battle monsters, known as Nanovor. Players can battle their friends online and strategically choose each attack. Nanovor can be trained and evolved into more advanced monsters, expanding their power and speed to create more powerful attacks. Players can also trade or buy new Nanovor with special in-game currency called Nanocash.
Here's the storyline: Nanovor is based in a rich fictional world where nanoscopic monsters, known as Nanovor live and battle inside computers. These nanoscopic dust mites ruled our still-molten Earth, long before any other species could survive. As Earth cooled and the atmosphere became oxygen-rich, the silicon-based Nanovor slipped into deep hibernation for billions of years. In 1958, when silicon was embedded within a computer chip and electricity pulsed through it for the very first time, the Nanovor sprung back to life. Fast forward to present day. High school student Lucas Nelson accidentally discovers these tiny monsters living inside his computer. With the help of his science professor, he uncovers the fact that the Nanovor must fight in order to produce the adrenaline necessary to avoid going back into a crystallized state.
Kids can see and play with Nanovor using a free PC app they can download from the Nanovore website or buy a $50 handheld device, called a Nanoscope. The Nanoscope can be synched with the PC. Using real money, players can get in-game currency called Nanocash that allows them to buy booster packs with new nanocreatures and powers. There also is a line of plastic toys that each contain a code that unlocks a digital version of the creature in the game.
The Institute for Childhood Resources even has included Nanovor and their recently released toy, the Nanoscope™, as one of "Dr. Toy's Best Picks Children's Products" for 2009.
The company behind Nanovor, Smith & Tinker, is trying to reinvent play for the connected generation with innovative hybrid games that bridge the gap between classic offline tabletop play and online digital entertainment. Founded in 2007, Smith & Tinker is led by executives from some of the world's top brands including Microsoft, Cranium, Hasbro, Disney and RealNetworks. VC investors seem to like the concept and have infused the start-up with $29 million.