The Bonerdagon. The Boss Bat. The Knob Goblin King. The Naughty Sorceress. The Clownlord Beelzebozo. No, I’m not recounting a late-night drunken conversation between Terry Gilliam and David Lynch. I am instead speaking about the greatest online game ever conceived, Kingdom of Loathing. The tagline “an adventurer is YOU!” is very apropos for this game as you embark on challenging quests in a two dimensional, black & white, partially stick figure, marginally text, mostly single-player experience that…what’s that you say? No War of Worldcraft complex multi-army warfare? No ForeverQuesting in totally immersive environments built with bleeding-edge graphics? Nah, don’t need all that. I mean, your first quest in KoL is to learn how to play the game by visiting the Toot Oriole. Get it? Toot Oriole? Tutorial? It’s funny and you know it. And really, I think KoL holds its own against those other, fancier online “games” in many respects. Let’s not be circumspect about those respects and explore them, shall we? Oh yes, we shall…
1. The online experience
Woah, Nelly, does this sucker have that and some more besides! The whole game is online. Nothing to buy, no discs to unpackage and no Windows video errors to keep you up until two in the morning trying to figure out. It takes but a few minutes to register before you’re logged in and playing, all without having to leave the keyboard or putting on clothes…so I’ve heard.
I’m sorry, but the KoL mascot is a stick figure holding a sword in one hand and a martini in the other. Eighteen render farms jacked straight into the brains of H. R. Giger and Rembrandt van Rijn couldn’t come up with anything remotely close to as geekily perfect as that. And any so-called monsters created for a “state-of-the-art, cinema-quality 3D graphics engine that constantly improves” can’t hold a candle to the wonder that is the aforementioned Clownlord Beelzebozo. I’m just sayin’.
3. Multi-player capabilities
Beating up on a room full of players who have been playing for five minutes a game you’ve spent ten years and eight versions on will only go so far, my friends. KoL absolves you of all that. Sure, you won’t be able to brag about your close knit circle of “friends” that don’t even live in the same hemisphere as you and go by names like DrkDth and KillBill666, but nobody really believes they’re real anyway. Kind of like that girlfriend from Canada you had in High School. Where was I? The point is, KoL minimizes the interaction to let you focus on good old fashioned gameplay. There are still clans you can join or, shoot, create your own, not to mention PvP mode. No really, don’t mention it. First rule of PvP and all that. Second rule too, but I’ve already said way too much.
In conclusion, I don’t really think there is anything more addictive and fun than Kingdom of Loathing that isn’t illegal in most countries and/or morally reprehensible. Seriously, I defy you to try to only play this game for five minutes. The names of the items and the combat messages alone are full of enough pop culture references and witty humor to make you randomly shoot whatever beverage you happen to be drinking out of your nose. I did mention the Clownlord Beelzebozo, right? That one still cracks me up. Anyhoo, go to Kingdom of Loathing right now. Ok…now! Then come back and whine poetic in The Lounge about how you’re getting your ass kicked by a warwelf in the Spooky Forest.