A couple of months ago, I was invited to the capital of Iceland--Reykjavik-- and headquarters of EVE Online and DUST 514 developer CCP. I was part of the press contingent that was brought up to witness the EVE Universe's Orbital Bombardment aspect, which demonstrates the most exciting form of PC-console integration so far: the real-time delivery of an offensive strike from the spaceship of a PC MMO directly onto the painted target of a console shooter. To learn more about this interesting and pioneering gameplay element and get a glimpse of its future, click here.
On the night before the event day, I wined and dined with some of the CCP team at a nearby restaurant. As the night went on, we were treated to a course of tester dishes that included Icelandic cuisine I had never tried, or thought of trying, before. The quail was easily the most memorable; it looked like a miniature chicken, smaller than my fist. As foreign as these meals seemed to me, they were nothing compared to the treats on offer during Thorrablot, the Icelandic tradition of eating all of the . . . less preferable parts of the sheep. Check out the video below to see the induction of a new member of the CCP team at this special celebration.
That the ancestors of today's Icelanders honored and ate all of the sheep is no wonder when you learn of the misfortunes these people have endured over the course of their history. Two rounds of the black death are estimated to have claimed roughly half the population (twice!) at the beginning and end of the 1400s. In 1707, a smallpox outbreak claimed around 18,000 lives. In 1783, the volcano Laki erupted and launched the land into what was dubbed the Mist Hardships. A poisonous cloud of fluorine and sulphur dioxide from the eruption killed off an estimated 80% of agricultural livestock, plunging the country into famine--which subsequently claimed another 20% of the human population.
Despite such a tragic past, Iceland has emerged as a country that is known for being highly adaptive and shockingly innovative. In 2011, it was ranked the 14th most developed country in the world in the United Nations Human Development Index and is the 4th most productive country per capita. Iceland's Nordic welfare system provides healthcare and tertiary education for its citizens and renewable energy sources are used to power 90% of Reykjavik, which is home to about two-thirds of Iceland's 320,000 residents.
Its no wonder that one of the gaming industry's most innovative developers comes from such a unique and interesting country.
To learn more about CCP and the EVE Universe, you can visit the official EVE Online and DUST 514 websites. If you are looking to join a corporation in DUST 514 or EVE, PSU has a place for you.