Game Never Ending, created by Stewart Butterfield, Caterina Fake, et al 2002 Vancouver, BC
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Game Neverending (GNE) was an innovative massively multiplayer online game that was in development by Ludicorp, better known as the creators of Flickr, from 2002 until it was cancelled in 2004. Game Neverending was an atypical roleplaying game primarily based on social interaction and object manipulation. GNE was lighthearted and humorous; indeed there was no way to win, nor even any definition of success. Many objects could be combined to create other objects, but any given object only served a questionable amount of purpose. A sense of community and communication between players was encouraged through gamewide and location-specific chat channels, as well as the ability to leave notes for other players at any location. Another aspect of GNE's novelty was that it was being developed into a highly user-extensible game: players were intended to be able to invent new objects and create new locations. The official in-game currency was shekels, but sheets (and quires and reams) of differently colored papers also served as a de facto currency. The earliest prototype went live on the Internet in the fall of 2002 with the goal of experimenting with real time in-browser interaction, evaluating usage patterns and technical requirements and seeing how players would respond to the "tone" of the game. This was closed February 3, 2003 and eventually a new version was released as a closed beta. Ludicorp, the game's developers, received wide press coverage while they were making the game. Through the long development, it was pondered whether GNE was yet another example of vaporware. Although development of the game was later cancelled, the tools built for GNE later evolved into Flickr, a widely-hailed photo-sharing service. Occasional signs of this legacy are visible, such as the '.gne' file extension appearing in Flickr's URLs. The game was temporarily re-launched on April 1, 2008, having been ported to PHP from the original ASP by Cal Henderson and Myles Grant. It was shut down again the following day.