I promised that the next game I blogged about would be one where you kill things. Well, let me introduce you to glitchhiker.

The Glitchhiker game develops more glitches as it loses its lives

Glitchhiker was a game, but you can’t play it any more – because the game died.

Glitchhiker was an experimental game created for the Global Game Jam 2011. The theme was extinction.

The aim of the game is to collect coins and avoid glitches. If you manage to collect 200 coins then the game, Glitchhiker, gains a life. If you collect less that 100 coins then the game loses a life.

I imagine that now you might be thinking “Hang on a second though, the game gains and loses lives?” Yeah, that’s where the extinction part comes in. Each game is connected to a single central server, which monitors the games overall health. When the game loses all of it’s health the server shuts itself down and the game dies. The game is extinct.

I heard about Glitchhiker at a session at GDC, where one of the designers described their project. He described how people seemed to build a genuine emotional connection to the game. Some people refused to play the game. They were scared of the prospect of potentially harming the game, and were unwilling to take on the responsibility. Some players who failed to collect 100 coins were genuinely upset to the point of tears at having played a part in the game’s demise.

Glitchhiker died after just 6 hours of play.

You can find out more about it here.