All posts tagged dark

  • CNET story: ‘The Man Who Virtually Has It All’, March 2013

    A feature story for CNET Australia; excerpt below.

    The man who virtually has it all

    A 30 year-old Sydneysider has amassed a small fortune by trading virtual items for real cash in the online game Entropia Universe. What next, though?

    Zachurn "Deathifier" Emegen in Entropia Universe, pictured as part of 'The Man Who Virtually Has It All' story for CNET Australia, March 2013

    In game, the nearest moon to Planet Calypso sits huge in the sky, framed against a blanket of twinkling stars and space clouds. Surrounding mountains tower above and oddly bendy palm trees sway in a gentle breeze. It is beside the teleporter located at Camp Icarus, Planet Calypso’s seaside outpost for new players, that I met with Zachurn “Deathifier” Emegen, leader of the Dark Knights society and one of the wealthiest men ever to play Entropia Universe.

    With a few quick mouse gestures, Deathifier — a tall, handsome avatar clad in shiny red armour — had spawned a Quad-Wing Interceptor, an impressive and expensive-looking aircraft. He then added me to the vehicle’s guest list and invited me to take a seat inside. Our destination? Treasure Island.

    Deathifier is the owner of the 25-square-kilometre plot of in-game land called Treasure Island. He purchased it for US$26,500 in December 2004 and set a Guinness World Record for the largest amount spent on a virtual item. We had to take the long air route, though, because Entropia Universe game developer MindArk had, without notice, disabled the teleporter that allows new players to travel between Camp Icarus and Treasure Island with ease.

    My pilot wasn’t pleased about this unexpected change: he’s reliant on hunting tourism for much of his income, and if players can’t easily get there via teleporter, he’s missing out on potential Project Entropia Dollars (PED), the in-game currency that’s tied to the United States dollar at a fixed exchange rate of 10-to-one. (Treasure Island cost 265,000 PED in 2004.)

    In real life, outside of this vast virtual planet and its two continents, Deathifier is David Storey, a 30-year-old Sydneysider who has been playing Entropia Universe for almost 10 years. Throughout that decade, behind the screen, in-game investments and earnings have comprised the bulk of Storey’s income. With help from a handful of silent partners, whose identities he has never revealed, Storey has invested over US$1 million into the game. The $26,500 Treasure Island purchase broke even in its first year, thanks to Storey’s tireless development, salesmanship and marketing, both online and off.

    At first, this is a strange concept to get one’s head around. This man makes a good living by spending his work week inside a computer game, a space more readily associated with fun and entertainment than commerce and profit. While Storey piloted the Quad-Wing Interceptor south-west across vast oceans and jagged mountain ranges toward Treasure Island, my avatar sat in the gunner’s seat — the aircraft is armed and able to shoot down opposing vehicles if necessary — while we spoke over Skype.

    I asked him whether it’s been difficult to separate the fun from the business side of the game. “They’ve always been intertwined,” Storey replied. “At some points, it’s been more for fun; at others, more for business. More recently, I’ve transitioned more toward business, because the fun elements have declined, so to speak. The core gameplay hasn’t changed in 10 years.”

    To read the full story, visit CNET.

  • Mess+Noise EP review: The Jezabels – ‘Dark Storm’, December 2010

    An EP review for Mess+Noise. Excerpt below.

    The JezabelsDark Storm

    The press release seems to want me to mention something about their age, so here goes: Sydney quartet The Jezabels are aged between 23 (singer) Hayley Mary) and 25 (drummer Nik Kaloper). Together, they write soaring, dramatic pop, so here’s where I’m meant to make some kind of comment on their maturity, and how incredible it is these young musicians are performing deep, complex, Important Music. This EP is apparently the “third and final release in a trilogy that began with 2009’s The Man Is Dead…” Alright then, moving on.

    The strangest thing about this band is that the instrumentation is essentially a blank canvas for Mary, whose voice is so urgent and alluring that you’re half-tempted to take a cold shower immediately after the disc ends. Her every yelp and note sticks in the mind, and endures; as for the instrumentation, there’s little to write home about. The band’s musical point of difference is the absence of a bass; keyboardist Heather Shannon fills out the bottom end by playing slow, deliberate chord progressions. Guitarist Sam Lockwood favours clean, feeble tones for the most part. In ‘A Little Piece’, his use of an ebow strives for that mournful, desolate soundscape feel, amid bursts of Foals-like noodling. Lockwood’s best asset as a player is knowing when to dial it back. Indeed, much of Dark Storm is characterised by a sense of space, which swells to crescendo during each chorus.

    Full review at Mess+Noise. More of The Jezabels on MySpace. The music video their song ‘Mace Spray‘ is embedded below.