This month saw the launch of what is apparently the first game to be developed within another game.
"Tringo," a cross between "Tetris" and bingo, was created by New Zealander Nathan Keir in "Second Life," an online game where players have much freedom to create virtual objects with complex workings.
The game is now being distributed by Crave Entertainment as "GBA Tringo" for the Game Boy Advance portable game player, making the jump from the virtual world to the real one.
Frustrated by the random aspect of bingo, Keir created "Tringo" in late 2004 as a more skill-based alternative.
The game quickly became a craze in "Second Life." Players bought copies of the game from Keir for around $50 each and set up Tringo halls and Tringo arenas, where players would go to compete for prizes in Linden dollars, the currency of "Second Life."
Just a few months after its launch, "Tringo" games accounted for a quarter of Second Life's economy, according to Sean Ryan, who obtained the real-world license to the game from Keir.
Ryan, a former executive at game company Sega, shopped Tringo around, resulting in the deal with Crave Entertainment. One snag: the buyer's lawyers raised concerns when they noticed that two people took credit for the game — Keir and a certain Kermitt Quirk.
Ryan had to explain to them that Quirk is the name of Keir's persona, or avatar, in "Second Life."
"They looked at me like I'd lost my mind," Ryan said.