I love KOL. That’s Kingdom of Loathing to the uninitiated.
Kingdom of Loathing is a brilliant online game you can play for free. It’s turn-based, and your turns-per-day are limited, so it’s pretty hard to lose your *entire* day to KOL (though, I suppose it can be done if you’re a pretty hardcore player). What makes it brilliant? Two things: the writing and the graphics. It’s loaded with pop culture references and the entire KOL world is rendered in static stick-figure form. Everything looks like something I might have drawn on the back of a test paper in the 6th grade – only way, way more awesome. 🙂
You start the game by creating character for yourself. You can be a male or female character in one of six classes: Seal Clubber, Turtle Tamer, Pastamancer, Sauceror, Disco Bandit, or Accordian Thief. Once you’ve got a character all set up, you can get started “Adventuring” in the Kingdom. You very quickly garner the attention of the Council of Loathing (the ruling body of the Kingdom, and they start giving you jobs to do – they start small, but build up in scale and importance.
Unlike a lot of online games, you don’t have any kind of direct interaction with other players. You can choose to join (or start) a “clan” which can have a number of benefits. You can also interact with other players by engaging in PvP (Player vs. Player) action – including toilet papering each others’ camp sites – but only after smashing the “Hippy Stone” to indicate that you’re NOT peaceful and you DO want to fight.
The real appeal of KOL for me is the obsessive-compulsive, collect-the-whole-set mentality that it inspires. If you’re the type of person that finds a sense of satisfaction in putting the last Indiana Jones movie (now you’ve got them ALL!) on the DVD shelf, then this game might well be for you. There are hordes of things to collect – outfits, tattoos, trophies… I’m currently working on collecting all of the second series of tiny plastic figurines.
There’s even a whole economy built up within the game. Only, you don’t use money. There’s no money in KOL. The currency of the land is… meat. Yup, you buy all your stuff in meat. (Meat is valueless outside the game, so you can’t fork out $20 and get a couple million meat or exchange your multi-million meat stash for a couple of real-world bucks. I *have* seen eBay auctions for KOL items, but that’s definitely the exception, I think.)
Anyhow, it’s a load of fun. If you’re interested, check it out at http://www.kingdomofloathing.com, or the link on my sidebar. Happy Adventuring!