I've spent three weeks trying to celebrate SWG's own personal Doomsday by perfecting my rendition of John Belushi's soul jive dance in Blues Brothers, which is basically what you should expect to see during the last gasp of an MMO. In the meditative stillness of an empty-as-hell content vacuum that is an MMO in its dying stages, the best you can do is dance. You take everything you learned in that Fresher's Week of a tutorial, then realise that everything you learned there is about as useful as an extensive knowledge of backyard wrestling when you're stuck on the lower decks of the Titanic. Hell with it, I'll dance on my sinking ship. Tell me there isn't a fine metaphor in that about tragedy, or loss, or the inevitable end of all of it.
Stuck in a chair.
It's just not often in games that you find yourself in a situation where a product is about to get wiped from the face of the planet. That's partly why I started this feature in the first place. For every person who longs for those halcyon days of early Sonic, and for every person who weeps for their lost childhood like an Arabic widow when they see a ZX Spectrum gathering dust in Pop's Crap Emporium, at least the objects of their affection still exist in this world, even with the fans ululating over it like it represents some form of cultural demise.
MMOs don't get so lucky. Someone in marketing might suggest something about maybe, sort of going free-to-play to the skeleton crew still working on an early 2000s MMO like Dark Age of Camelot, but when MMOs die you're not going to find any part of it floating around on eBay for a quid.
That's the thing, MMOs die. MMOs die all the bloody time. And if you're lucky, in return you'll get the kind of stuff your Mother-in-Law leaves you in the dregs of her will – all of the years of forgotten photo albums, but in this case they're all yours that have been accumulated after half a decade of screenshotting your way through levels. Our very own Andy Cole stopped programming for long enough to send me some of his early screens without breaking the website, and it shows us what SWG looks like when it's not on a ventilator: it's roughly 78 per cent dancing. It's alive. It shows a population that's interacting.