Standing On The Minds Of Giants: Glitch

By Jim Rossignol on February 10th, 2010 at 11:31 am.


This piece over on CNET, which looks at Tiny Speck‘s social puzzle MMO, Glitch. I love the idea:

“The whole world was spun out of the imagination of 11 great giants,” said Stewart Butterfield, the president of Glitch developer Tiny Speck, and better known as the co-founder of Flickr. “So you have to go back into the past, into the world of the giants’ imaginations and grow…the number of things in the world, grow it in terms of physical dimensions, to make sure the future actually happens. So all the game play takes place in the past inside the world of the giants’ imagination.”

The developers are hoping that the 2D MMO – which is based on developing in-game resources and co-operatively solving puzzles – will appeal to the older gamer of more sophisticated tastes. “There’s not a better way to say [who we're targeting] than people with above average intelligence and sophisticated tastes, in their 20s or early 30s…The intersection of NPR listeners and game players,” says Butterfield. You can sign up for “private alpha test” on the site.

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32 Comments »

  1. WindupHarlequin says:

    [...]for example, an eggplant in the game makes plain eggs. But those can be used in recipes that involve eggs, Butterfield explained. “If you season them properly and take them to a chicken,” he said, “they incubate and then they’ll hatch for whatever animal you seasoned them for.”

    If they can ensure that this level of wonderful absurdity is all-pervading and cohesive, then this could be a truly pleasurable and inspiring game to play. Usually when mechanics like these are announced, the reality transpires to be that the example given in interviews is one of the handful that are sporadically introduced to the player, falling foul of the developer’s reliance on more generic gameplay tropes to provide the stock of the game experience. Hopefully having a game specifically designed to the bourgeois intellectual elite of gamers (on a related note, might I be the first to complain on the developer’s comment about the target age-range – stop this silly ageism, teenagers can like clever games too) will mean that there are some genuinely interesting design choices.

  2. Hank Teh Tank says:

    Sounds intresting…signed in.

  3. Alexander Norris says:

    I have absolutely no idea whether or not this will actually be fun (mind you, I hate puzzle games), but I have to give them kudos for trying something different. I hope this manages to succeed.

  4. JoeDuck says:

    Two comments, one on the form and one on the content…
    About the form, I found it quite annoying that the developers found it necessary to pander their target audience by calling them “above average intelligence and sophisticated tastes”. To me, this sounds like a veiled stimulation of above average egos. Manipulative and not even too difficult to discern.
    About the content, cooperative puzzle solving with time related mechanics in an original setting not necessarily violence related…
    I’m sorry to contradict the spokesperson, but this game is going to have at least yours truly unsophisticated and not above average gamer signing up.

  5. Ingix says:

    What I don’t understand is what the puzzle aspect of the game is supposed to be.

  6. Berzee says:

    The all important question then — caen I peekay!?

  7. The Sombrero Kid says:

    colour me intrigued anyone who doesn’t consider themselves above average intelligence has self esteem issues (Therefore will just buy because someone told them to) and that’s why it’s a brilliant piece of marketing, I’m going to use it all the time.

  8. KillahMate says:

    Yeah, that elitism is going to come back to bite them in the ass. But still, the game itself looks like something with a great deal of potential.

  9. tekDragon says:

    LOL yeah good luck keeping out the < 20 idiot demographic.

    • tekDragon says:

      Right… so now you’ll have rich <20 idiots… sounds like a winner.

    • Dave says:

      “Uncrippled?” You should have played GS3 back in the day, when there was a hard 20 item inventory limit (including the contents of containers) and there were NO typeahead lines for anyone and we played at 9600 baud max and paid GEnie $3/hr at minimum.

      Looking at premium vs. standard, it really is pretty much all perks. “Crippled” would be, say, a DDO free-to-play character with two missing races and two missing classes and so on.

      (Former DR GM and old GS player here. Neither anymore, but it still irks me when people think that asking for money in exchange for services is evil or something.)

  10. the wiseass says:

    Quirky art style, but I’m not impressed with what I’ve seen, yet.

  11. NeutronSoup says:

    Sounds like a refinement of their ideas in The Game Neverending, a game that was in beta before Flickr took off. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Neverending

    It was a very interesting idea, quite unlike anything else around at the time. Might still be.

  12. Louis F. says:

    Yeah, I can’t help but wish he had found a better way to say what he meant about “sophistication” (unless he really meant it…). People should be able to judge by themselves if a game is fit for them, and to hold such assumptions about what defines “discerning” taste seems wrong.

  13. Louis F. says:

    That said, I am interested.

  14. Premium User Badge

    john_silence says:

    Beign 28 butt totolly stoupid I am not intrsted in this here gaime

  15. Barry Shitpeas says:

    So… how’s the PVP on this one, eh?

  16. kromagg says:

    I think they’re doing a terrible job of marketing this, from their site:
    “This is not something you’ve seen before.
    Glitch is a neverending feast of imagination, a celebration of creativity, a labor of love, and a monument to play.”

    Does it cure aids and bring world peace too?

  17. Louis F. says:

    Wow… a monument? Even Molyneux would keep that to himself.

  18. WilPal says:

    The art style in that picture had me interested, then i went onto the site and looked at the teaser video.

    This game is ugly as hell.

  19. Wulf says:

    Is… is this… is this an MMO version of Switch?! Please, someone tell me this is an MMO version of Switch!

    • DavidK says:

      Fuckin ay! Then again, I think a Switch MMO would probably be illegal in most countries.

    • Wulf says:

      Probably! An MMO version of Switch would be a particularly seminal thing though, lots of people wandering around and trying to figure out things by pressing buttons, and every time something incorrect is pressed the surrounding reality would be flooded with insanity. Just walking through such a thing would probably be akin to a particularly bad trip.

      Ahh… the possibilities.

  20. diddly says:

    that screenshot made it look a lot more tempting than the shit-in-my-eyes video.

  21. Redd says:

    I’ve only seen it twice and I’m already sick of it. I fully expect the game to be as content packed as their press releases are meaningful. Something about being instantly assaulted with a facebook login and the words private alpha followed by an email field make me think this is gonna be a steaming cup of joe public flavoured piss, jazzed up with a dash of hyperbole to get everyone slurping it down and professing it to be fantastic.

  22. Drakkheim says:

    Wow, RPS seems to have attracted a good following of virulent foulmouthed insta-negative angry internet men lately. I wonder if there’s a lotion or something for that.

    As for glitch, well the varied world styles is a bit of a risk but there were a couple gems in there, and the logo is pretty intriguing. But seeing as there’s no real details of gameplay other than, ‘mostly non-violent’ It could be something more along the lines of a browser based A tale in the desert.

    Tie that into facebook or an existing social framework so you can flaunt your achievements to your real friends and that could become interesting and addictive.

    • Wulf says:

      Agreed! It could also become a PC variant of LittleBigPlanet (a game I love). I couldn’t help but notice the similarity to sackboy that the avatars had, too. So I definitely think there’s some inspiration there.

      I think it’s more arty, fascinating, and Switch-like than anything else, as well.

    • kr8 says:

      Wow, RPS seems to have attracted a good following of virulent foulmouthed insta-negative angry internet men lately.

      Don’t forget name-callers.

  23. Wulf says:

    Also, I’d like to add: Don’t go dismissing this out of hand because it has a clash of seemingly random elements, as that doesn’t necessarily imply a bad game, it can actually lead to a unique and eminently fun experience. One of the best entries of TigSource’s Videogame Name Generator Compo comes to mind – ROM CHECK FAIL, which was muchly lauded for being both utterly insane and quite, quite enjoyable.

  24. Sergio says:

    @windup: This game’s grandpapa and spiritual prototype was called GameNeverEnding(GNE). I had a blast playing it while it was online. If you google around, you’ll find some former player community archive sites. If you read those for long enough, you’ll see that absurdity and surreal humor were central to the design and flavor of that game world, and permeated every facet of play. Of course, the common tropes of stats, inventory, crafting, and xp (or karma) were present as well, but served merely as a framework from which the game’s culture (which was very often as user-driven and create) emerged. I expect that Glitch will carry on the tradition.