Meridian 59 And The Open Source Adventure

Meridian 59 has had a strange and wonderful life, and it seems it will happily live out its twilight years in the loving hands of the open source community.

Seeing its first release in 1995 and beating Ultima Online to market by about a year, Meridian 59 is considered by many to be the first 3D MMORPG. The game was developed by Andrew and Chris Kirmse, and was shuffled between companies several times before finally landing back on their doorstep in 2010. They’ve since allowed it to be run by the strong online community that has evolved – and grown – around the game.

Meridian 59 is renowned for that loyal fan base, and the community that exists to this day truly believes that it’s the most personal MMO experience available. A group of fans even went as far as funding a booth for the game at PAX Prime in 2011.

Knowing that fans like this still exist for a game that’s old enough to drive a car in America should make the transition to open source relatively painless – it seems unlikely that the community would allow the game to devolve into a lawless wasteland. According to the announcement post, the game will continue to be hosted through donations on the same two, small servers that have run the game for several years now.

Meridian 59 has existed in some form or another since its inception, so it will be interesting to see not only how long the game will continue, but what changes we will see from the community. Again, their fervent love for the game has kept it alive this long, so it’s not unfathomable that they’ll implement things that the current support team hasn’t had time to: for example, selling items in-game or any other feature offered by modern MMO games.

In any event, it’s an exciting development that will hopefully breathe new life into a title with an important role in the history of video games.