Glitch (video game)

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Glitch
Glitch Logo.png
Developer(s) Tiny Speck
Designer(s) Stewart Butterfield
Engine Flash-based
Platform(s) PC (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
Release date(s) September 27, 2011
Genre(s) MMO
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Glitch was a browser-based massively multiplayer online game. It was created by Tiny Speck, a company founded by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield.[1] Stewart Butterfield's in-game name was "stoot barfield". The game was officially launched on September 27, 2011,[2] but reverted to beta status on November 30, 2011, citing accessibility and depth issues.[3] Glitch was permanently shut down on December 9, 2012.[4]

In 2013, one year after the MMO was shut down, all the game's artwork and some of the source code was released under the public domain-like Creative Commons license CC0.[5][6]

Gameplay[edit]

Glitch was a casual, 2D browser-based game featuring a strong multiplayer component. It deliberately steered away from combat mechanics, instead focusing on collaborative crafting and gathering activities. Players were prompted to complete quests and perform various activities that would change the persistent world. Players were invited to expand upon the world, shaping its growth through various activities such as growing plants and trees and cooking food items. The game was free to play, but players could spend money to acquire a number of things such as customization options for their avatar.[7]

Upon logging in for the first time, a user was brought to a one-time street (area), in which a staff member, or specially appointed user (called a "greeter"), would briefly explain the game and show them some features, the greeting street could never be re-entered. After the "unlaunch" they had a new, more complex and full introduction, in which it was done by NPCs, rather than players.

The game also had "groups". Groups were tabs in-game (along with individual user IM tabs) that functioned quite like modern chat rooms. The players could create their own groups, join another person's group, or go on either one of the two default groups, one of which was "Live Help", in which users could help one another with general gameplay, the chiefer authority (excluding staff members) here was a "Helper," separate from a staff member, as helpers were mature and professional players appointed by staff members, where as staff members had contracts and worked for Tiny Speck, the other default chat was "Global Chat," this was for general discussion of any appropriate/popular topic.

Eventually, Tiny Speck introduced "Guides," which were players specially appointed by the staff to help others learn the game in a special, introductory area.

If a player was being disruptful, disrespectful, rude, flooding, or cursing constantly, the player character could be taken to a black room with a single, low light lamp. The user would be accompanied by one or many staff members trying to calm them down and if that did not work, the avatar could be locked down to a chair and the player booted off for an amount of time, called a Time-Out.

History[edit]

Glitch's lead designer and Tiny Speck co-founder Stewart Butterfield began conceiving the game that would later become Glitch as early as 2002. But because of difficult financial circumstances at the time, he and his colleagues at Ludicorp instead focused on a side-project which later became Flickr. In 2009, Butterfield founded Tiny Speck with the aim of creating a social game.[7]

Glitch has been confirmed to be created on February 21, 2009 (first day of official gameplay).[citation needed] However, the earliest date on the Glitch calendar is either April 1, 2009 or May 22, 2009, which therefore presumes that the game was created before the calendar was implemented. And the game was also played on the company's website (tinyspeck.com) before being transferred to glitch.com. Glitch was announced in July 2009. All traces of gameplay history have gone as far back as July 2, 2009. In February 2011, the game went from closed alpha to beta.[1]

Glitch was officially launched on September 27, 2011.[8] But two months later, on November 30, 2011, Glitch "unlaunched", reverting to beta status.[9] The developers cited issues of accessibility for new players, and depth of gameplay for experienced players.[3]

Glitch had test-sessions that were usually about a week to a month, in which incorrect data like bugs were recorded, and then for a week or 2, revisions were made improving the game, based on player bug reports, staff found bugs/errors, and/or source code updates. At the end of each one, Glitch would throw a massive party, called an End of the World Party, a.k.a. EOTW, EOW, in which a large majority of the players would gather in a suggested area and party, several items were dropped and people even decorated with the items. At the last 60 seconds, the staff members, on an account called "GOD", would speak so everyone in the whole world (also known as "Ur"), even those not at the party, would see him speak, his text would also be shown in the game windows itself, and a song would play called Good Night Groddle, made by Lelu, and improved by Daniel Simmons, Glitch's musical editor,[10] replacing trumpets that sounded the original ending. The last message of the game was GOD saying "*poof*".

On November 14, 2012, Tiny Speck announced they would shut down Glitch permanently. The developers cited limited audience appeal as the main reason for the closure, and offered refunds to players who had made in-game purchases.[11] The game closed down on December 9, 2012. With its focus on caring for laid-off staffers and giving players access to both in-game and real-life mementos, the game's closure was cited as a positive model for how to end an MMO.[12]

In 2013, one year after the MMO was shut down, all the game's artwork and some of the source code was released under the public domain-like Creative Commons license CC0.[5][6]

As of the beginning of 2014 there are at least two projects trying to revive the game, Eleven Giants[13] and Children of Ur.[14]

Reception[edit]

Glitch was well received by the A.V. Club, who gave the game a B+ and commended its open-ended approach and variety of tasks.[15] Ars Technica found the game fun, filled with funny little touches.[7]

Joystiq's Beau Hindman named Glitch "Most Charming" in his 2011 Frindie Awards (selected from free-to-play, indie, browser-based games).[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Terdiman, Daniel. "Watching the birth of Flickr co-founder's gaming start-up". CNET. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Terdiman, Daniel. "Glitch launches; CNET offers an instant-entry pass". CNET. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The Big Unlaunching". Tiny Speck. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "A sad announcement from Tiny Speck". Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b tinyspeck (2013-11-18). "Glitch is Dead, Long Live Glitch! - Art & Code from the Game Released into Public Domain". glitchthegame.com. Retrieved 2013-12-11. "The entire library of art assets from the game, has been made freely available, dedicated to the public domain. Code from the game client is included to help developers work with the assets. All of it can be downloaded and used by anyone, for any purpose." 
  6. ^ a b Blackwell, Laura (2013-11-18). "Afterlife of an MMO: Glitch's offbeat art enters public domain". pcworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  7. ^ a b c Reimer, Jeremy (2011-11-08). "Butterfly milking and pig nibbling: building the strange world of Glitch". Ars Technica. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Tiny Speck's Glitch Goes Live For Everyone At 10AM PST Today – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  9. ^ "Glitch 'unlaunches' to add new features – Massively". Joystiq. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  10. ^ "Lelu creates EOTW song, edited by Daniel Simmons". 
  11. ^ "Glitch closing down, cites limited audience – Massively". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  12. ^ Blackwell, Laura. "This is how you shut down your MMO's servers for good: Glitch's graceful exit". PCWorld. Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  13. ^ "Eleven Giants". Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  14. ^ "Children of Ur". Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  15. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd. "Glitch Game Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  16. ^ Hindman, Beau (December 28, 2011). "Free for All: The first annual Frindie Awards". Joystiq. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]