the game archaeologist

Justin Olivetti is Massively Overpowered’s resident Game Archaeologist; he never lets a good old game stay buried. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

The Game Archaeologist: The history of play-by-email games

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For most all of human history, people who wanted to play a game together usually had to be in physical proximity with each other....

The Game Archaeologist: The history of Guild Wars 2’s Super Adventure Box

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In the MMORPG genre, April Fools' Day is especially relished as a time in which developers and studios can get a bit wacky and...

The Game Archaeologist: Shenmue Online

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If you ever stumble across a Dreamcast enthusiast -- and believe me, they are everywhere -- on the forefront of their diatribe about how...

The Game Archaeologist: Tabula Rasa

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The story of Tabula Rasa begins, as so many others do, with 1997's Ultima Online. Raph Koster and Richard Garriott's online fantasy sandbox proved...

The Game Archaeologist: The legacy of Guild Wars

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Last week on The Game Archaeologist, we examined the exciting beginnings of Guild Wars, thanks to a trio of ex-Blizzard developers who wanted to...
Have you heard?!

The Game Archaeologist: The rise of Guild Wars

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In early 2005, World of Warcraft mania was rising exponentially, month over month. But even as Blizzard's MMO juggernaut barreled toward its full strength...

The Game Archaeologist: Super-early versions of MMORPG websites

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One of the absolute best things the internet ever generated has been the Internet Wayback Machine. Through this site, snapshots of millions of websites...

The Game Archaeologist: That time when MTV made a virtual world

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For the music trendy in the '80s and '90s, MTV was a huge source of fascination and audio discovery. It was the edgy channel...

The Game Archaeologist’s ultimate MMO archives v3.0

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Behind history are people and stories, some of them well-known and some of them obscure. It has been my mission in The Game Archaeologist...

Remembering the life and work of legendary MMO designer Brad ‘Aradune’ McQuaid

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When the news hit last night, it brought everything to a screeching halt in the Massively OP office: At the age of 51, veteran...

The Game Archaeologist: A brief history of Multi-User Dungeons

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You know that sinking feeling when you get into something that's way, waaaay over your head and you have no choice but to swim...

The Game Archaeologist: Funcom’s long-abandoned Midgard MMO

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There used to be a time that Funcom was deeply into the MMORPG business, bringing us titles such as Anarchy Online, Age of Conan,...

The Game Archaeologist: The day Dungeons and Dragons Online dropped the free-to-play bomb

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By 2009, the MMORPG genre had firmly established a norm for its business model. For over a decade, a monthly subscription -- usually $15...
Not this.

The Game Archaeologist: Is it worth the hassle to update graphics in older MMOs?

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"I'd play this game again if the graphics were updated." "If they re-released this game with modern graphics, it would be way more popular." "The Game...

The Game Archaeologist: Dungeons & Dragons

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Part of the holy mission of the Game Archaeologist is to ferret out the roots of history that ultimately led to MMORPGs as we...
This took some work.

The Game Archaeologist: Ironman modes and elective permadeath

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One facet of video games that's been around almost since the very beginning is difficulty levels. This allowed the player to choose how hard...

The Game Archaeologist: Sierra’s Fates of Twinion and Ruins of Cawdor

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A few years ago I regaled you with the fascinating tale of one of the very first multiplayer graphical MUDs, the absurdly named Shadow...

The Game Archaeologist: 1998’s Mankind

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In the annals of the MMO genre, the massively multiplayer RTS has had perhaps the worst go of any variations on these online games....

The Game Archaeologist: The Chronicles of Spellborn

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Hey! Hey you! Yeah, you the I'm-so-bored-with-all-of-these-MMOs gamer! You've been grousing about for years how MMOs never take risks, never innovate, and are merely...

The Game Archaeologist: Terra, SubSpace, and Sovereign

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In the MMO industry, science fiction has always taken the role of the overlooked little brother to big sister fantasy's popularity. Sure, there have...

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