Glitch: Who Plays this Game Anyway?

Yes, yes, there’s new content in Glitch again, and yes, I will get around to reviewing it.  And yes, some of you might have caught that I’m playing Tribes off and on this week and planning to review that as well.  Both will happen, maybe even today — I seem to be ill and can’t sleep however, so it’s also quite possible I’ll sleep through today.

But lately I’ve found myself wondering, who the hell else plays this game?  I don’t mean to suggest the game is empty — even with a beta part deux population that certainly seems a bit less active than the original launch population, the game still isn’t empty, and I still meet new people.  I’d hazard a guess that  the activity numbers look similar to those on a single server of sharded games — or at least, I find myself around other players or stumbling into groups about as often as I have after the launch rush has faded to more stable numbers in games like EQII or CoH.

And I’m not thinking about demographics either — though such would be interesting if it were possible to be thorough.  Someone has created their own demographic survey for the game, but the sample is “players who frequent the forums and notice this post,” and there’s really no way to tell how well that sample reflects the population.

No, I’m wondering what types of gamers find themselves attracted to Glitch.

In my own circle, I’ve encountered a very different type of gamer than I have in other MMOs.  I’ve certainly encountered a fair number of more typical MMO players, the ones that have played other MMOs, the ones that play AAA console or PC releases.  I talked to someone in game that was already playing Tribes when I was suddenly realizing it had released and thinking about downloading it.  I talked to someone else that plays a few games of League of Legends most days that she spends gaming.  There’s a couple of fellow council members (the cofounders of the group I’m part of) that played FFXI extensively, one that played CoH for quite some time, and a few that, like myself, have reached jaded vet status.

But more frequently, and more interestingly, I run into players that I really would not expect to meet in the MMOs I’ve played in the more recent past.  To be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not being an experienced MMO player — it’s just that the last time I met this many people working through their first MMO was way back around the EQII launch.  If there’s anything bad about the number of fresh fish at all, it’s a sense of perspective.  Being critical of Tiny Speck’s communications with the community is rather hard if you played SWG through the New Game “Enhancement” update.  It’s pretty hard to be critical of the unlaunching and the sweeping game changes they decided to make, after offering us all refunds, if you’re a Final Fantasy XIV fan recently forced to start paying a sub for a game that still really isn’t in great shape.  It’s hard to be critical of Tiny Speck’s CEO for making the occasional unfortunate cryptic remark that sets the community off when you read statements from Big Point’s CEO—what’s his face, the guy with the clearly evil goatee—claiming that using cash shops to sell advantages and power in games is good and shouldn’t be criticized.

But I digress.  I don’t just meet people that have never played other MMOs; I meet people that also say they do not play other games.  Today, one of my friends had to admit she did not know what FPS stands for — I can’t remember if she’s one of my friends that does not play other games, but I feel safe assuming so.  Wolfenstein 3d happened a long time ago — FPS isn’t exactly an obscure gaming term.

If I were the audience, rather than the author, of this post, I’m pretty sure I know what I’d be thinking by the time I’d reached this point: casuals.  Casuals play Glitch.  But like my post on the Retro Hardcore Gamer from months back, I don’t think there’s anything casual about the way these folks play Glitch.  Over the initial months of the Unlaunch, many of these people showed a resiliency for repetitive grinding that Eve miners would find impressive.  And there’s nothing casual about Glitch — it takes a heck of a lot of depth to keep me playing the same game for seven consecutive months, an accomplishment no MMO can claim to have reached with me since SWG.

Perhaps there is some link between this idea of the Retro Hardcore Gamer and the Glitch player.  It is a side scroller, and I know that definitely hits the nostalgia button for me.  But even this link doesn’t completely explain who exactly is attracted to the game.  Although I do tend to meet older players more often in Glitch than in any MMO I’ve played except Eve, and I feel like being in my early 30s puts me solidly in the middle rather than solidly in the old men club, I have met a small group of male players right around 18 and a smattering of female players between 14 and 18.  Can I redefine Retro Hardcore to include this younger set, even if they weren’t yet alive when I threw my first fireball at a goomba?  Though I don’t think I stated so explicitly, nostalgia was a big part of the Retro Hardcore definition — is it possible to be nostalgic for an era you weren’t alive for?  Possibly.  James Murphy, lead singer for the now defunct LCD Soundsystem, has a great line about losing his edge to kids “with borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties” — maybe they borrowed their retro hardcore tastes from older siblings or parents.

Or maybe the phrase I made up to describe a group of gamers I keep encountering only seems like it might apply here because it’s a phrase I made up and my ego is rather healthy.  I don’t know — I do still think I’m awesome though.

I feel no closer to understanding who plays glitch now then I did before I started writing these thoughts.  Perhaps, after a review of the latest Glitch content, which I’ve now decided will happen when I wake up (though whether or not I will wake up today or wait until tomorrow is still up for debate), and after a review of Tribes: Ascend, I should sit down and think about why I play Glitch.

If you play, and you’re reading, why the hell do you play?  What characteristic of your personality or tastes attracts you to Glitch?

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7 responses to “Glitch: Who Plays this Game Anyway?

  1. I like the game because:
    -The artwork of the avatars are not too realistic
    -The artwork is cartoony and very well done in general
    -The social features are amazing. When I first started, I made a group that had all my friends in it, and the goal was to have everyone join it, so we could ask a question/request something to/from more than one person at once.

    However, I find myself eventually without a goal. I waited months for the ability to add plots to make a wood tree preserve, but we have an enchanted forest. All I have to do now, I wait for the “reset” to imagination, and then make SDB’s until I’ve stored anything, then goodbye for me. 😀

    I’m sure there will be awesome things added to the game, but it just will take a long, long, time. From a troll perspective, stoot know’s how to play with words, from a logical perspective, things take time. The moment I find a replacement for this game, that has good artwork, is an mmo, has a nice GUI, and great social aspects, then I am gone for sure.

    (I do not have access to any gaming consoles, etc)

  2. Hi Sauce.

    I don’t know if I know you in-game. But I know Rook. A little. I like him, so that’s cool.

    I remember the delight I had when I realized that in order to get my “papers,” I had to, in fact, wait and do nothing for a few seconds in the waiting area. For no reason other than to pay respect to the Great Bureaucracy. I thought, this is a game that gets me. It’s a game that is not unwilling to do something completly silly for no good reason other than because it’s consistent in the game’s universe.

    And I knew I was hooked then.

    Then I stared reading about the Giants and learning the Legendarium behind the Ur cosmos, and the hook was sunk.

    For me, the appeal of Glitch, is all in the open nature of the goals that you set for yourself as a player– and the way the development of the game has skillfully set its eye on developing tools which can be used to support the meta-game that players want to create for themselves.

    It is the first game in 10 years that has captured my imagination to the extent that “Puzzle Pirates” did. This is the first game since then that I have enjoyed to the extent that I am grateful for every opportunity to play it.

    I am a 37-year-old male. I play games a lot. I hate what online gaming has become. (http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/harassment) I see Glitch as the antidote to that.

    –HeyGabe

    • I believe we’ve chatted or I’ve at least seen you around, as your screen name wasn’t new to me when you added me.

      Sorry for any confusion about disappearing comments, I have the blog set so that someone’s first comment has to be approved before becoming visible as an extra spam protection. I can delete the extras if you like.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. The short version is that Glitch is the first game since Yo-ho-ho! Puzzle Pirates that I have played with any kind of regularity. Mostly because of it’s one-player persepective in a group concept. I get what I want out of the game, and it helps a group of other players when I do.

    I think that the playful nature of the game, along with the fact that it’s being developed by people who know how to play with words as well as weapons, makes it something I could see myself coming back to for a long, long time.

    I tend to spend weeks and months away from Glitch at a time. I was a Beta One Tester (near the end) but didn’t come back to the launch much later. I completley missed the unlaunching.

    I am a 37-year old male with a lot of gaming cred, and I hate most of the online-gaming experience has become. (http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/harassment) I think Glitch is the antidote to a lot of that.

  4. Why do I play Glitch? Hmmm…..

    I think I started when I saw a blurb about it on GeekMom. This has been the ONLY online game that I have stayed with for more than a week or two. I like that it seems fundamentally different than other games.

    I’ve never been all that great at FPS games. I get frustrated too easily. Especially in an online setting where high level players have nothing better to do than smoke the newbies for shits and giggles. In Glitch there is no combat (unless you count splanking) and unlike other games, higher level players are more likely to take a noob under their wing than ridicule them.

    Another thing that appealed to me (in the beginning) was that even though it was a social, online game, you didn’t *have* to socialize. Very luckily, and randomly, I fell in with a group of people that are pretty damn cool, and the game became social for me.

    *Yes, Sauce, I just said you were pretty damn cool.*

    Finally, it does what all of my favorite games do. (1) It gives me clearly defined goals. (2) It does not penalize me for not achieving those goals. I view the quests and badges in Glitch much like collecting the canisters in LEGO Star Wars, or capturing all of the Pokemon for your Pokedex. It’s there for me to do (and of course I’m going to do it) but I don’t HAVE to. If I want to flaff off and play charades instead of earning a firefly catching badge, it’s no big deal. Those fireflies will still be there tomorrow.

  5. It’s funny… I don’t consider myself a gamer. I had to think about what FPS stood for, and I had to ask what someone was talking about the first two times they referred to a “NPC.” I tend to watch other people play games and tell them what to do (I’m often right). I don’t play games myself because I often don’t have the skills to do what I want… it’s really hilarious to watch me play some games.

    I fell in love with glitch from pretty much the description of the game when my friend on facebook offered an invite. I ran around and played, IMing with her while I figured my way around cute little Ur, until I eventually found our awesome group, which is probably what keeps me coming back.

    Of course, the changes are pretty exciting, but during this new beta, there wasn’t much that would have kept me, if not for the social bits. I would have retreated to my largely abandoned tumblr account, or some other thing to occupy my internet time. Instead, I run around mining, scooping and harvesting while chatting with some pretty awesome people.

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