Glitch: free-to-play, whimsical, delightful MMO from Flickr co-founder

Glitch, the whimsical free-to-play MMO game from Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, is now open to the public. Glitch's developer team includes Katamari Damacy creator creator Keita Takahashi, and is as filled with delicious awesomeness as you could possibly hope for. They're overwhelmed with signups, so it might be a few hours before you're confirmed, but they're taking new players and putting them in a queue.

Glitch is a web-based massively-multiplayer game which takes place inside the minds of eleven peculiarly imaginative Giants. You choose how to grow and shape the world: building and developing, learning new skills, collaborating or competing with everyone else in one enormous, ever-changing, persistent world.

What's different?

For starters, it's all one big world. Which means everyone is playing the same game and anyone's actions have the ability to affect every other player in the game. It also involves very little war, moats, spaceships, wizards, mafiosos, or people with implausibly large muscles. Also: we have egg plants. Egg plants make it very different.

What does it look like?

We comb the internet every single day looking for fresh and original visual styles. The look varies as you travel around the world, from psychedelia to surrealism, Japanese cutesie to hypersaturated pixel art, classic cartoon to contemporary mixed media. We love awesome illustration and animation and part of our mission is to find the best of the best and bring it to a wider audience.

(via Waxy)

(Disclosure: my wife is an uncompensated advisor to the company that makes Glitch)


  1. This is already a win in my book, the signup page has this…

    “Skip Facebook and enter your email address directly.”

  2. Finally! There used to be a game called Game Neverending (GNE) which was awesome, but the makers had to close it down because one little side project of them became, well, Flickr.

    I’m glad they’re back.

    1. This is sort of an unofficial sequel to GNE, with the community-making aspects of the original intact, but with more extensive art and storyline and also a bonus – endless grinding!

  3. I’ve been playing the alpha and beta for a year now, and it’s lovely fun. And there’s a storyline, we just haven’t seen enough of it yet to know what’s going on. Grinding is one thing, but there’s a quest hidden in there, too.

  4. As a late stage add to the beta, I was:
    -Excited by the video
    -Enchanted by the fluidity & fun
    -Underwhelmed by the simplicity of the game
    -Impressed by the bells & whistles that reinforced the grinding
    -Annoyed by the grinding
    -Very put off by how commerce driven the whole thing is
    -Ultimately turned off by how little story (or non-grinding of any kind) I found in the first 10 or so levels.  I know there’s some amazing things that are rumored to happen further along, but I didn’t enjoy the leveling enough to get there.  There’s a lot of room for free roaming & exploration, but I got bored with quests that all amounted to “find or buy x, y, & z, then combine to make q, & eat/sell/plant to earn p”

    I admire the creativity, the community orientation, & the programming.  & I wish them well, especially as the influx of newcomers crashes up against the already weakening community norms of the betas & alphas.  I might go back for a looksee at some point, but not anytime soon.

  5. It’s not really free, is it?  Is it actually one of those (many) games that’s free to start but then reveals itself to require some sort of coin or gem or commodity that you can earn super slowly for free if you’re not interested in getting past the 3rd level or else be forced to pay for them?  Or is it actually free?  Please tell me it’s actually free…

    1. The creators have made a very explicit commitment to keeping the game itself & the game play experience free.
      It’ll cost you time, but no $
      There’s an in-game economy, so you can buy & sell the things you find, build, earn, within the game, but only with in-game currency, which you can only earn by playing the game.
      You can spend real world $ on your outfits, but there’s no in-game advantage to that except whatever marginal effects may occur through players treating you differently.
      You can also spend real world $ to get transportation tokens, which are really useful for moving around the very big world, but not very hard to create in-world, either.
      More details about what $ will buy you are here:

  6. “Free-to-play” means “free to wander around in, but if you wan tho do anything interesting you have to purchase (with real money) the equipment that your character needs to make any progress”, right?

  7. Wow-jeez-uh… I have to say, this looks / sounds *a lot* like the free java-based game “The End”- but not as good? Seems like a derivative, dumbed-down and more limited creative vision of -that- game. Especially given the concept of the monsters. Sorry, that’s just my immediate impression, based solely on the promo vid. I haven’t played it yet- but I was really impressed with The End, which struck me as a pretty original and worthwhile concept when I ran across it.

  8. It looks particularly silly.

    And also looks -remarkably- like a multiplayer version of poptropica (a game popular among 2nd graders)… Are they shooting for young users here?

    1. @boingboing-dbd0ab90a3c6f62ac55be5fbd5faa489:disqus , funny you should ask, there’s a massive, troll-infested thread in the forums right now on that very subject. The gamemakers themselves have said that despite its cutesy look it’s not meant for kids, and if you play you’ll find a lot of sexual innuendo. There are substances that produce drug-like effects, too. So it’s not GTA, but it’s not entirely innocent either. But I imagine that if you let a young kid play, all of the adult stuff would fly over their heads- the biggest risk would be that they would pick up certain turns of phrase and use them literally, not understanding their NSFW meaning.

       , you chose to start with cooking skills, didn’t you? I hated that path, too. I’m into mining now. But I have the advantage of knowing where to find the more interesting stuff, so I can’t speak about first-time experience…when we started, the world was very small, only a few streets, and we had to participate in common quests in order to unlock new areas. There will be more of that happening, if I understand it right, but probably not so soon after launch. Groddle Forest, Meadow and Heights are pretty similar and get boring quickly, but when you start reaching further areas there’s new stuff and new rules that apply. 

      But then, I’ve been playing for so long, my experience is bound to be drastically different from yours. I can echo  some of the underwhelment (Is that a word? I was sure it was but I can’t google out a confirmation) with the simplicity- did I just accept it, or did it turn out not to be as big a flaw as I thought? I can’t tell at this point.

      As to whether it’s free, it’s actually free. Buying teleport tokens is a very useful luxury but not necessary to play the game.

      1. I focused on harvesting skills, plant & animal, & then on teleportation & energy skills, but realized as I started to research the ladders, leveling pathways, & tasks, that they all felt very similar.  Different icons, different names, but all boiling down to click-combine-consume/sell mechanics.  & for that, it was totally charming & very engaging, but when I stepped back & thought about it, not that rewarding.

        I think the community projects (unlocking, street building, & the mysterious adversarial forces) had promise, but I didn’t feel motivated to invest the time & energy to find them or stick around for them.  I applaud those who do!  It’s certainly way higher quality than most of Zynga’s output!

        1. The community projects are actually not active right now, I just found this out- they said the world is big enough and that they’ll start those up again in a couple of weeks. What level did you get to? The storyline exploring is available from level 12…best place to start that is at the Jethimadh Tower, that’s the first part of the mystery.

          I think we’re discovering now, after launch, that despite the quests that learning skills gives, the early levels do feel a bit empty, especially since the world is so huge you may spend hours in it without encountering any of the special events that draw you into the story. That’s not so good. Maybe they’ll change it. 

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