I came late to the MMORPG party. In fact, my first MMO wasn’t an RPG at all. Before I ever set foot into Britannia, and years before I had even heard of Azeroth, a friend of mine pointed me to this awesome game in the summer of 2001. It was like Privateer, just with many people around! This sounded awesome. We all had loved Privateer when it first came out (being too young and having missed Elite, which I heard was basically Privateer, just cooler). So I went and downloaded the game client for Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative.
It was a nice game. However, the “many people around” never really materialized. At least where and when I was playing. The most vivid memories I have are from undocking, licking rocks until my cargo bay was full, and docking again. It sounds like mining in EVE, but you actually maneuvered your ships yourself. Several times, I crashed my poor starter ship into the space station trying to dock. The “fly yourself” added some kind of entertainment, but in the end, mining got boring, I never really got around to do anything else (like killing stuff), and my friends stopped playing. And that was that. Sadly, the screenshots I had got lost in The Great Data Loss of 2003(tm), but Google of course has quite a few. I’ll refrain from copying any to this post because I’d rather stay clear of convoluted copyright issues.
But I always had a weak spot in my heart for the game, and checked on it every year or so. At some point, I realized there was a successor in the making, called Jumpgate: Evolution. I was intrigued, and decided I’d definitely give it a shot when available.
Well, over time, it looked more like an “if available, ever”. There were few news, and those that came out weren’t good. People were laid off, how many nobody could (or wanted to) say. No release dates were shifted, but that was simply because there never had been a release date to start with.
When I checked on the game two days ago, I found out that jumpgateevolution.com was offline. No server reachable. Is that the end? It would be sad. It sounded like a fun game. Different from what is on the market for the most part, like a small brother to EVE, with real flying. It was one of the things I always found off-putting when I tried EVE: if I buy a humongous freighter, I want to fly the thing. I want to have the feeling of sitting on my front porch and flying my house around.
I still have a joystick sitting somewhere in a crate. I wonder whether I should dust it off and try and find out how the original Jumpgate is doing these days. I’m not holding my breath though.