Have you heard of Glitch? It’s an MMO, or a “social game,” just not like the ones you might traditionally think of. I’ve seen it described as not World of Warcraft and not Farmville, and it maybe falls somewhere in between, with a big dose of whimsy that you don’t see in either.
Having been open in bursts of hours or days at a time since early this year, the game already boasted 27,000 alpha/beta testers – all of which have now been busted back down to level 1, though I haven’t seen much complaint about that, since we did see it coming all along. I’ve been doing some exploring myself for the past few months, and I can recommend Glitch on three major points: (1) It’s different; (2) It’s gorgeous; and (3) It’s adorable.
In an early interview, the president of game developer Tiny Speck described the target demographic of Glitch as those in their twenties and early thirties with intelligent tastes… the intersection of game players and NPR listeners. It’s not just a cute version of WoW; there’s no combat at all. And nor is it a ramped-up version of Farmville with endless grinding in a fixed space. Glitch is about exploring and building a world, and now that it’s open to the public, the world is still in its infancy.
The game mechanics are simple, and it’s only flash, playing easily in a browser. It’s the kind of game that you can pop into for fifteen minutes at a time, or that you can play while doing other things. There isn’t a set path that you take inside the game. You can walk around and look at the world around you. You can pet pigs and squeeze chickens. You can level up skills so that you can interact more with the world, and complete quests that get increasingly complicated. You can interact with the other players, and collaborate to create things and accomplish goals. The world is weird. It’s surreal. And it’s the sort of gameplay that you can really only understand by jumping in and experiencing it. I can tell you that it definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There’s something about it that you kind of just have to “get”, like The Sims, which is rather impossible to explain to someone why it’s fun.
But now that Glitch is officially open for business, you can just try it out for yourself! It’s free to play, with a typical subscription/credits model for additional features (which as far as I can tell mostly relate to avatar customization). I’d like to see this game succeed if only to show that an independent game developer can get away with something different and artistic, and the world will embrace it.