With my recent street cred soaring after two interviews with people in the industry, I decided to cold call Richard Garriott to discuss his ticket for another chance to become a space tourist, I mean astronaut, another MMO. I had to listen for half an hour about his trip in to space, and it did not get interesting until he brought up his contraband story. Garriott told me how strict the Russians were at space camp (“not like NASA, where Tang flows like wine”), and that he had to smuggle aboard one of his favorite books, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, in a most uncomfortable crevasse. However, once in space what could they do? Kick him out? So, one day while he was using the vacu-pooper and reading the book, he saw an old piece of the space station float by out of the spaceship’s window. This space junk, he said was his revelation to a critical, unoccupied niche in MMO gaming.
I was thoroughly confused by this point as Garriott threw around astronaut lingo like I was one of his comrades, and I asked him how Neuromancer tied in because I was at least semi-familiar with the book. He cited two of the plot-rearing heroes in the book Aerol and Maelcum. They lived in peace away from the “system” down below while enjoying their space-rastafarian lifestyle. He said he was taking much of his basis from EVE’s drug trade gameplay, but instead of a covert-ops-keep-hidden-from-security gameplay, it would be more like sharing the new stuff in your hippy commune. Garriott booted up the current build. He said all he had created so far was his avatar (“Da Genahrall”) and the inside of his “tug” (I think he meant spaceship). Garriott was then silent over the phone for about ten minutes, which was fine because my two year old had just startled in the Witch in Left 4 Dead and we had to deal with that.
Finally breaking the silence, I asked Garriott about further gameplay (namely, if there would be any), and he said that with the first round of capital infusions he was working on creating an AI that could create “righteous dubs” and inedible-art bento boxes. When that money was gone, he would send some of the bento boxes to the investors in order to gain another capital infusion. Garriott said the MMO would eventually focus on living in space as a free spirit, scavenging through space debris, playing a complex game of red paper clip, and spending hours floating around listening to “da ‘Mute.” (I asked him multiple times to repeat this, and I swear this is what he said.) Eventually, with the successful MMO he would once again buy himself in to space, and leave the new MMO far behind. The pizza guy finally came, and I quickly wished him well while hanging up the phone. Time to put another notch on my belt.
dealin’ wi’ th’ darkness, mon