Welcome back to Ur, Glitchen! Or should we say Oddlings?
October 25, 2022 12:55 PM   Subscribe

When the MMO Glitch died in 2012, it released its code and its many assets into the public domain, and since then, several groups have tried to resurrect this charming game. Children of Ur and Eleven ended up combining forces and then stalled out; the last announcement from either of them was in 2019. Odd Giants, however, is up and running today for you to play for free in alpha.

Glitch: A Game of Giant Imagination was an MMO from 2009-2012, one that counted many MeFites among its chicken-squeezers and pig-nibblers and bubble-harvesters. It was developed by Stewart Butterfield, the cofounder of Flickr, who went on to make Slack.

(Very previously.)
posted by fiercecupcake (18 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
It was developed by Stewart Butterfield, the cofounder of Flickr, who went on to make Slack.

As the last link mentions, Glitch is the reason that Slack includes the mysterious :dusty_stick: slackmoji.
posted by zamboni at 12:58 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Ahhhhh insert happy screening here.
posted by Braeburn at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2022

I have been playing Odd Giants for a couple of weeks now and I'm happy to report the spirit of Glitch lives on. There are only a handful of people playing at any given moment, but I have received so much help (and tools, and resources, and Zilloween candy) as a new player, and people have been unerringly friendly. I'm looking forward to getting more established in the game so I can pay it forward one day! I would love to see Ur populated by MeFites again, I have so many good memories of silly fun we would have.

The alpha feels pretty beta to me, I have yet to have it crash or become unplayable, and all the main street locations seem to be there. The subway isn't working and I don't think the locked-door areas work yet, but all the skills and tools and little silly bits work. I've been naming butterflies and squeezing chickens and just enjoying myself exploring the world.

I'm Laurelly, if you see me, say hi!
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:42 PM on October 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Every single time I sit down to play ACNH, I have a moment where I want it to be Glitch. Every. Single. Time.

This has absolutely made my day.
posted by okayokayigive at 1:44 PM on October 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

What stunning, stunning timing.

I was going through these two AskMes today and was getting the vibe of, "Yeah.... I'm ready to have a game like that again." Not quite through the second link and got to a rec for Night in the Woods, right when I was thinking about making ask for "These two posts have some great looking games. Now do Linux."

And then I saw Night in the Woods had a Linux option. And, I started scrolling through the screenshots... So much (in that game and some of the other recs) reminded me of Glitch and how it was the ideal game for anti-fps and anti-Farmville me, and how I wish it would be back.

AND HERE IT IS! On the day I was looking for something coming even close to a replacement for me...

I knew of the Open Source efforts to bring it back (played around with at least one of them) and optimistic this one might last.

I'm so ecstatic, one last thing and I'll walk away for a while. This is the only game I would ever grind at. I think maybe just for coins? Like you could max out the amount of coins you could get and had to wait another 4 or 6 hours to get more? My job at the time had it optimized I could do that for each 6 hour period. (Almost confident it was 6 hours.)

But... it didn't feel like grinding? Like just getting to the areas heavy with coins was fun. And, of course, all of the music was awesome. And talking animals, and. and.. and!

I'm almost positive this is the last photo I got in game with my partner. One of our date nights was playing as long as we could until they finally shut the servers down. Everyone just giving away all their stuff was so sweet and so bittersweet.

Did they just make a "dust in the room" DLC? It's getting dusty in here, is all I'm saying.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 3:49 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Wow, this looks great and seems pretty solid too, definitely more beta than alpha so far. Top work by the team behind this, whoever they are.

Glitch was lovely and unique. This was me. I still have a framed picture of the happy music crab on my wall. Has it really been ten years? Bloody hell...
posted by tomsk at 4:54 PM on October 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ooooooh, thank you for sharing! ^_^

I used to play Glitch back in the day, and I was so sad when Glitch folded!
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 5:29 PM on October 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh my what a flashback, here's my profile with a buttload of my Mefi chum's avatars. It's like finding a forgotten group snapshot of friends in an old book. I do miss this world, there's never been anything remotely close to it in gaming (for me anyway).

A few years ago, I was hosting a panel at a conference and one of the presenters, Daniel Burka, who has had some high profile jobs at Digg, Google and other companies, offhandedly mentioned he was the design director for Glitch for a year.

I found him later in a group and started asking him all these geeky Glitch related questions, and noone there had any idea what we were talking about. Someone asked me to describe briefly what it was. I replied something like "Farmville on acid".

Daniel nodded his head and said "Stewart would have liked that description" (As in Stewart Butterfield, see above).

Somewhere in my hard drive archives I have a hi-res screen recording of the moment when they pulled the plug on the game. A huge crowd standing on the limbs of a tree I think? Jumping around, gnashing teeth and rending garments as the countdown to the end of the world reached zero: it was truly epic.
posted by jeremias at 7:03 PM on October 25, 2022 [4 favorites]

Me, glinda-the-good.

I miss this game so much. I'm looking up Odd Giants now!
posted by bendy at 9:13 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

This is me in Glitch form, which you can still get to from my MeFi profile, heh. Thanks for the heads up, I've just spent the entire evening running around Groddle Forest! Mr. Kouti came into the living room *singing along* to the music because apparently I played it enough back in the day that he can still hum most of the theme music nearly a decade after the Giants went back to sleep.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 9:48 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

GLITCH!!!! I can’t try it right now, but I am beyond excited to know that it’s there for me to play with when I get a chance. This game meant so much to me. It’s the only game I’ve considered getting a tattoo from, and I had the Rube’s song as my phone ring for probably 5 years after the game ended. I still have so many pictures saved of my little muppet self and my silly adventures.
posted by duien at 11:28 PM on October 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Vaguely related: NYer article about world's most ancient megalithic site, adjacent to the real Ur: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/12/19/the-sanctuary
posted by newdaddy at 4:28 AM on October 26, 2022

I remember when Glitch got un-launched, because there wasn't really enough to do in it. It seems like kind of a hard row to hoe - putting in a bunch of progression mechanics would be decidedly un-Glitch, you want people to just kind of mess around because it's fun, but also I'm not sure the interaction model is capable of just being fun for its own sake. In the intervening years, we've seen MMOs large and small push away from the highly progression-focused model of World of Warcraft and tried to recapture just making these places a fun place to just be in. I wonder if the volunteer teams managed to capture some of that.
posted by Merus at 4:39 AM on October 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

You kind of have to make your own goals and find progressing up the skill ladder to be intrinsically rewarding. I remember someone (might've been a MeFite) hosted a whole game show in their house for awhile, that was fun! Glitch (and now Odd Giants) is definitely the sort of game where you have to imagine your own fun, but I find that refreshing. The quests are good as sort of signposts, but you're right that there aren't overarching storylines to drive play. I have other games for that.

What it's still missing is lots of players, and I hope that by the time they decide to put it in beta, Odd Giants will publicize it more and new players will find the world of Ur. But in the meantime I'm still having lots of fun just wandering, finding keys, and trying to make new recipes and curry favor with Giants.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:50 AM on October 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

I found the Ancestral Lands last night! Overwhelming nostalgia. I never would have found them without help from fellow players, who were also busy making blenders for a new Glitchen.

Today I joined the Patreon. Anything I can do to get the game going and bring us closer to the Glitch old days.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:20 PM on October 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

@duien I also had the Rube ringtone until probably a few years ago. And not a single person who ever heard it recognized it. I'm not sure what I would have done if they did.
posted by cacophony at 7:31 PM on October 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

I got started in Glitch from the MeFi thread announcing its closing. I remember being dismissive at first, but then noticed it was really rather cool, and was then upset that I had found it so late. I hear that there's still many features of the original game not implemented. (I tried buying tickets to special locations but they never appeared in my inventory.) I wandered around a bit today, and while I wouldn't call it paced, there were a number of players in the global chat.

Usually these revival servers become ultra-niche things for players who remember the game when it was supported, but I think Odd Giants has a chance to reach players who never got to try Glitch. I posted about it on our gaming blog today. Its shutting down was such a tremendous shame because the game was in active development nearly to the very end, with wonderfully bizarre locations opening up like Shim Shiri, a kind of hub that connected far-flung locations by traveling through huge creatures' digestive tracts. They all led to Shim Shiri, where the players emerged out from the creatures' butts, and then could jump up the butt of another creature to go somewhere else!
posted by JHarris at 3:27 AM on October 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've been playing a fair bit of Odd Giants. I found my way into the undersea regions, which are entirely empty of interesting stuff, just endless terrain to roam around. Eventually I found the Vortex of Random, which I couldn't proceed from. Fortunately someone in chat told me typing /gfj in chat will let you teleport back to the main areas. Whew!
posted by JHarris at 3:29 AM on November 3, 2022

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