Clever MMORPG Has A Growing Fanbase

By October 30, 2006

The doodled stick figures of MMORPG (Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) Kingdom of Loathing may seem like a step backward in gaming graphics, but that certainly hasn’t stopped the thinking man’s video game from becoming a cult hit. First launched in 2003, the intentionally humorous game now has 140,000 regular users; creator Zack “Jick” Johnson has even quit his day job and hired a staff to keep it up on the technical back end.

Players engage in single-player play via battling monsters ranging from ninja snowmen to “sk8 gnomes,” but can also elect to interact with each other through what’s known as player versus player competition and by trading goods and services in the in-game economy—game currency can be bought on the sly on eBay and players can create stores in the Mall of Loathing to sell items to other players. But what really sets this game apart from the others is its clever use of humor and pop culture winks and nods that include everything from Charles in Charge and Twin Peaks to “Stairway to Heaven” and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; players like the game’s smart sense of humor and that they must be “in the know” to excel. And if that wasn’t “highbrow” enough for a videogame, players must also pass an English grammar and spelling test before they can use the game’s integrated chat system.

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