Skip to Content
MIT Technology Review

null
  • Neil Young

    Age:
    31

    You pick up your phone and an unfamiliar computer-generated voice threatens you. Strangers send you cryptic faxes and chilling e-mails about government conspiracy. But it’s all part of the online game Majestic, created by Neil Young. After stints as a teenage programmer in the United Kingdom and, later, at Virgin Interactive in the United States, Young helped launch Redwood City, CA-based Electronic Arts’ landmark Ultima Online role-playing game in 1997. Believing the potential of Internet games wasn’t being fully explored, he then got restless. He wanted people to play games with media they used every day: the Web, e-mail, faxes, instant messages and phone calls. When Electronic Arts launched Majestic in July 2001, thousands of players paid $9.99 a month to take part. After September 11,Majestic shut down for a week and usage declined, forcing the company to wrap up the game in April 2002.Young is now developing an adaptation of The Lord of the Rings for the Xbox, the GameCube and other systems. Once again, he’s thinking outside the box: “It’s not a running, jumping, shooting game,” he warns.