If the operating system on the PC I used in the ‘90s was anything like the one in Andrew Morrish’s OS/RPG Kingsway, I would have gotten a lot more “work” done back then.
Out this week on Steam for $9.99, Kingsway is a role-playing game that takes place on the desktop of a retro computer operating system. Your character sheet is a window, with statistics and slots for adding equipment. Your inventory is a window, filled with potions, weapons, armor and magical artifacts. Traveling from point-to-point on the world map (also a window) involves a progress bar. Random monster encounters are moving pop-ups. Quests are delivered by email alerts, and the soundtrack is a series of really catchy electronic tunes housed in a primitive media player.
The idea is for your player, created from a selection of standard fantasy archetypes (warrior, wizard, rogue, beastperson) is attempting to make it to the king’s castle, far to the east. Traveling from point to point, the player character must brave fantastic beasts and perilous traps while completing quests and dealing with other random events (NPCs in need of aid and such). Overcoming obstacles and completing goals rewards experience levels, which leads to stronger weapons and armor and more powerful spells and abilities.
It’s delightful, in a frustrating sort of way. Like any role-playing game, the player is at the mercy of random number generation. Perhaps the path from point A to B is relatively safe, or patrolled by a single, easily-dispatched low-level creature. Or maybe it’s a parade of difficult battles that will surely result in your doom.
Death is permanent in Kingsway. When your character falls, you start over with a new one in a new procedurally-generated continent. The saving grace is that each death generates crystals, which can be used to purchased items or equipment to help make the next journey a bit easier. Or change the color of the desktop. It’s up to you.
I played Kingsway for a little over a half an hour on Facebook earlier today, and while I didn’t get very far, I had a great time. Check out the stream archive below to see the operating system RPG in action.