Wait...is that...a Glitch?
February 17, 2010 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Some of you may remember the Game Neverending (previously). But have you heard about Glitch?

The Game Neverending came out in 2002 from a small Canadian company called Ludicorp. The game was classed as a 'massively multiplayer online game', but was so much more. It was played in real time, was non violent (unless you count the marshmallow daggers and funk guns), and involved spectacular items, such as a Metafilter, which you could make with combinations of other items (Mefi = Mathowie + Web + Bottle of Porkmuncher Gin).

The folks behind the great Game Neverending eventually moved on to a different venture - creating Flickr, and the work on the game was suspended indefinitely. The small horde of devoted GNE players were told it would never be put back into play.

Now some news has started traveling down the great Internet pipes. The great minds behind the Game Neverending - Stewart Butterfield, Cal Henderson, Eric Costello, Ben Cerveny and more, have come together and quietly created a new company they call Tiny Speck. Out of this new company has come a new game. One they are calling Glitch. From the site - "Why is it called Glitch? because in the far-distant and totally-perfect future, the world starts becoming less and less probable, things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and there occurs what comes to be called the 'glitch' — a grave danger of disemprobablization."

Although the game is still in development, they are taking requests to test the alpha, when it's released. This is similar to what they did with the GNE. If you're curious about what the game will be, a CNET reporter has written up some sneak previews, and posted several images. If you're a tweety type, you can follow the Twitter feed here. Whether this will be the next GNE, an entirely new thing, or a momentary idea followed by the developers getting distracted and creating something even bigger, it's hard to say. Stewart has been interviewed as saying he wants the game to be "as permeable as possible", and they plan on integration with everything from Iphones to Facebook, and even potentially, Xbox 360 and the Wii.
posted by routergirl (26 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
What does "disemprobablization" mean? Does it have something to do with "espers" and "magitek"?
posted by demiurge at 9:46 AM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

What does "disemprobablization" mean?

It means the Heart of Gold was stolen. I suspect Beeblebrox.
posted by DU at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]

Nice, the general concept seems reminiscent of a MOO. I will be interested to see how they balance facilities for user created content with preventing exploits (having users interact with one another's custom content is almost guaranteed to lead to potential exploits).
posted by idiopath at 10:00 AM on February 17, 2010

The video looks like it could be fun, but even more than that, like it could be a big hit commercially. I work at a public library, and I'm amazed by the range of people who play Farmville, Evony, Mafiawars, etc, and even more than that, their devotion to the game. If you added in something with a little more interactivity and the same time-killer mechanics, then I think you could have a huge phenomenon.

I guess it remains to be seen how things pan out.
posted by codacorolla at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2010

I should have also mentioned that Stewart Butterfield is one of "Mefi's Own."
posted by routergirl at 10:08 AM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mobile apps are planned at some point, but Tiny Speck’s vision is not to port the entire game to the iPhone or Android (Android) devices. Rather, mobile apps would feature mini-games. Playing them would amp up your web game avatar’s abilities. Other options for mobile apps could include managing your in-game robot servants and participating in in-game auctions.
This is a good idea. I was impressed with the Dragon Age Journeys flash game that linked with your EA account and allowed you to download free equipment for Dragon Age: Origins if you accomplished your missions.
One example we were given: A game friend might knock on the door of your in-game home. You’d receive a text message letting you know that they’ve arrived. Then you could reply to allow them entry.
I'm not sure this is a good idea. I wouldn't want a game sending text messages to my phone like that.
posted by demiurge at 10:09 AM on February 17, 2010

I still have a copy of the Encyclopedia Instancia and here's the full entry for Metafilter:

Description: metafilter is down / metafilter is important / metafilter is still a great resource on the front page / metafilter is too good at breaking news not to be used for that purpose This is bought somewhere in City of Dreadful Night. MetaFilter is the kind of thing you can read.

Weight: 10000
Base Value: 25000 shekels

A MetaFilter is the kind of thing you can read:
effect on subject: mood +40 "It makes an hour seem like a minute."
effect on subject: karma -50 "You're wasting your life!"

Ingredients required to make a MetaFilter:
(1) bottle of Porkmuncher Gin
(1) Web
(1) Mathowie

And the entry for Mathowie:

Description: mathowie is trusted by 22 members / mathowie is strongly against you / mathowie is considering a metafilter us tour / mathowie is the only one to have posted so far / mathowie is responsible for it / mathowie is offended that boston globe is not referring to his views on recreational drugs This is sold somewhere in Bentown. Mathowie is the kind of thing you can consume.

Weight: 5000
Food Value: 1000
Base Value: 20000 shekels

A Mathowie is the kind of thing you can lick:
effect on subject: mood +1 "That tastes ... weird."

A Mathowie is the kind of thing you can scratch:
effect on subject: mood -1 "Smells like teen spirit."

A Mathowie is an ingredient used in making the following:

posted by vacapinta at 10:13 AM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]

Man, I really had fun with GNE. I'm happy to hear they're at it again.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2010

Very cool...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:37 AM on February 17, 2010

Nice, the general concept seems reminiscent of a MOO

posted by GuyZero at 10:45 AM on February 17, 2010


Don't feed it after midnight.
posted by The Whelk at 11:42 AM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]

I miss GNE. I never did get the blue paper.
posted by ged at 1:01 PM on February 17, 2010

It's like they put together a nerd supergroup.
posted by poppo at 1:46 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Does anyone else remember the glorious day a few years ago when flickr brought back the GNE for 24 hours? I hope glitch is just like that but not cut TRAGICALLY SHORT *sob*.
posted by MadamM at 7:01 PM on February 17, 2010

I find it amusing that something called Game Never Ending only lasted two years.
posted by Bonzai at 7:42 PM on February 17, 2010

That depends on how you look at it. Like NeonEpiphany's prayer wheels, the game is still revolving on server platters. We just don't have access. :)
posted by figment of my conation at 8:13 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I should have also mentioned that Stewart Butterfield is one of "Mefi's Own."

Hey! So is Eric Costello!
posted by ericost at 8:28 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

I remember when it came back online - it was April Fools Day. I remember being so excited I couldn't get to it fast enough, and then immediately thinking, "Oh god, I have to email so many people!" Then there was the battle of, "What can I say so they know I'm not trying to prank them?" A lot of the original GNE players still keep in touch and interact with each other, even after all these years. It's just done differently.

Oh, and Eric...I should have known you'd be on Mefi!
posted by routergirl at 8:51 PM on February 17, 2010

Oh, and Eric...I should have known you'd be on Mefi!

Turns out a lot of us are on Mefi.
posted by crawl at 9:14 PM on February 17, 2010

Turns out a lot of us are on Mefi.

Most of us!
posted by iamcal at 11:42 PM on February 17, 2010

posted by sylloge at 12:13 AM on February 18, 2010

I found GNE too cliquish for my tastes, much like MOOs.
posted by msittig at 12:31 AM on February 18, 2010

Want. I have already (pre-)signed up.
posted by cross_impact at 8:44 AM on February 18, 2010

I'm itching to play (and signed up a few days ago), I have a feeling this could be something special.
posted by garrett at 12:30 PM on February 18, 2010

Well, that was fun. GNErs should be pleasantly surprised.
posted by yeoz at 12:27 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yay, thanks for posting this. I saw the CNet stories the day the Glitch announcement came out, and considered breaking my 7+ year no-FPP streak, but I'm glad I didn't, because I would have sniped this post, which was much more thorough than mine would have been.

I was a huge fan of GNE, and even paid for the beta account that would never be. As cool as it is now to say that yes, I was one of the original "investors" in Flickr, I was always vaguely haunted by the loss of GNE. I'm super-excited to follow the development of Glitch, and hope that my application to be a beta tester somehow emerges from the queue of "tens of thousands"(!) now that invitations are being sent out (hint hint to the devs upthread!).
posted by KatlaDragon at 5:50 AM on February 19, 2010

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