No, I'm not kidding. I don't think you can even make this kind of stuff up. A dude out there actually went out and made an honest-to-god MMO version of Asteroids. In case you're too old to remember the classic, Atari released the original version of Asteroids back in 1979 and is widely regarded as one of the most popular and influential games of the Golden Age of Arcade Games. How popular? Really popular. They managed to sell over 70, 000 arcade cabinets.
Like every other game from the era, the idea behind Asteroids was simple. Asteroids wanted you to accumulate the highest points possible in a round by destroying asteroids and flying saucers. Needless to say, mmoAsteroids kind of took that idea to a higher level and turned it from a solitary experience into a massive, free-for-all blast 'em up that will have you engaged in much more than that. In fact, it looks like if the creator had his way, we'll be seeing what may well be the best marriage of nostalgia and modern-day innovation yet.
Imagine being able to go on MMO style quests with your friends, working together to battle through huge shared worlds which resemble those old shoot-em-ups like RType or Gradius, destroying each gun of a massive enemy ship before taking out the power-cell in its centre.
Or imagine all working together in teams to pilot a large mecha ship (similar but more advanced than the one in the current game) all the way to the opposing teams base, avoiding the automatic gun turrets that they placed there earlier and their line of defensive players, to drop some explosive charges right on the core part of their base.
That's the excerpt from the introduction on the mmoAsteroids page. It's an inviting prospect, but one marred by the fact that the developer is in serious need of a publisher or a willing investor. (If any of you are secret millionaires, this is probably the ideal time to pipe up and make an anonymous donation).
Currently, the game is still deemed a pre-alpha tech demo but it's definitely a solid-looking one. When I first checked it out about a month ago, it had largely been your basic free-for-all in an Atari-flavored environment. Now, there are quests! Rudimentary quests but quests, nonetheless – the building blocks of the genre. When you first begin the game as a tiny triangular ship, you're automatically shuffled into one of the two factions (Red or Blue, naturally). After that, the game will initiate the introductory sequence to bring you up to speed on things like movement, shooting and the importance of getting ore to the nearest refinery.
What makes this whole thing rather neat is the fact that this is going to happen in concurrence with the rest of the game world. You won't be protected even during those first few minutes of your life in mmoAsteroids. If you make the mistake of crossing paths with a firefight, you will die horribly. If you stumble into too many UFOs, you will die. If you run your ship repeatedly into an asteroid, you will – you get the picture. Fortunately, you'll respawn mere moments later with a hit to your experience points but the potential to take revenge.
But enough ranting for me. Why don't you check out the game here?