by Xophur Harper
When I started this assignment, I was familiar with Rune Scape as far as to say that I was aware of its existence. What I am familiar with is mobile gaming and mobile platforms, so when “Old School Rune Scape” came to mobile, I had to check it out… mostly so that I wouldn’t be the only nerd I know who’s never played Rune Scape. So I sat down one very chilly evening, poured myself a hot and steamy cup of coffee, found Babylon 5 on Amazon Prime Video, set my room lights to cyan, and started the download.
The first thing that struck me was the name of the app. When I was approached to check out “Old School” Rune Scape, I knew what to expect out of the game.. I did not expect it to be called “Old School Rune Scape” (I will call it RS for the remainder of this piece). They are very serious about it as well, NPC’s still instruct you “right click” although it is a long press that gets the job done. First, upon opening the app I went through the process of account creation. Next there is the tutorial. Simple enough, follow the instructions in the chat box to complete the tutorial. It asks how much experience you have with RS. I had no experience so I chose the associated selection. Throughout the course of the tutorial you collect items that might assist you on your way– weapons, tinder box, axes, fishing supplies, everything that a fresh faced explorer might need. Before I knew it, forty five minutes later, I was done on Tutorial Island and on my way to Lumbridge.
After arriving in Lumbridge, I headed immediately south. I remembered the first lesson from tutorial and decided to talk to someone to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. As it would turn out, the same action which allows you to talk to one NPC is a command to attack other NPCs. First, can we please take a moment to acknowledge that the default action for interacting with random characters is assault? I am wandering around this new and exciting world and the first woman I happen to pass by, I try to talk to, and then the words “Attack Woman” pop up on my screen, and due to my proximity I was unable to click away and cancel the command before my character lept into action. I, being newly born into this world, was easily dispatched by the random woman on street whom I’d attacked. I respawned back at my place of origin, where I’d just been moments ago, except this time I had a text box on my screen explaining all of the equipment I had lost and where to buy it new. In the name of journalistic integrity I had chosen my pen name as my user name. I had bought in 1000% and I was taking the whole experience very seriously. All of that ended at that moment. I logged out and began the process anew.
When asked this time during my visit to Tutorial Island, I indicated that I’d played before hoping that it would trigger some sort of time jump where I would be magically teleported to Lumbridge. I was not. None of the names I entered were accepted as available or valid user names so I ended up chosing from their list of suggested names. Lunarsnow182. I was determined at this point to get into this game so I could hate on it with all of my might. I had a great desire to pinpoint every failing of this game and put it on blast! I was, at the very least, motivated. I scoured the tutorial for anything I could have missed the first time. Admittedly, my haste in my first attempt may have been the fatal flaw that lead to my death, so with this undertaking I steeled my resolve with a fresh green hit from the bong. The tutorial was no faster the second time around, so I had plenty of time to calm down from my initial failure and enjoy my bong hit(s).
This time I entered the village of Lumbridge and wisely spoke to the Lumbridge Guide before making any other decisions. The Guide suggested that I perform a quest for the baker in the castle, so that was my first adventure. I used the opportunity to start to familiarize myself with the world. Once the quest had been completed I realized that the chef had kept the bucket and jug that I had used, so I went back to the castle and took replacement items from the kitchen. At this point I had still not yet figured out how to make money and figured that there would be some place I could sell food since I had just learned the skill of cooking. I went back to the mill to get some flour. I never did return from the mill that day. I was instead involved with an incident of cow violence which I barely escaped with my life, only to become the victim of a mugging on the road from Lumbridge to Draynor Village. However, at this point I had three hours invested in the game and decided that I would continue. How difficult is it for a homeless man to pick himself up by the bootstraps in the land of RS? I was about to find out, but not yet.. In the real world it was nearly 4 am.
The next morning I woke up and immediately started my rags to riches RS story. The previous morning I had quit smoking cigarettes so I was looking forward to the distraction from the nervous itch that crawled under my skin and wiggled between my internal organs. I had not yet learned to use the in world bank so I had been carrying all of my belongings on me at all times. When you respawn you only retain three items. None of which was useful. I did not want to end up like one of the urchins, net fishing for shrimp south of Lumbridge, so first I was determined to figure out some means of employment. I spoke with the cooking tutor in the building near the southern road into town. He said that I could take prepared food into the Bank, which makes no sense, but I got to work filling my bank account with cooked shrimp, chicken, and beef. I found the melee tutor who gave me a practice sword and shield. No more scavenging meat for me, I thought. It was at this point that I discovered my first real source of income. Goblin exterminator. I started saving all of my items in the bank and in no time at all I was flush with cash and items. Next I started crafting Leather Gloves and Bronze Swords to sell at the General Store.. I began fishing and selling fish to the fish store.. all the while, attacking goblins, bears, unicorns.. anything to level up. Finally I was ready to set out for a quest. This was a process that lasted well into the following week.
After a week of grinding I was excited to get out into the world and do some real adventuring. I located a quest on the map and began my journey across the map.. Now, I don’t want to drop any spoilers here, but let me just tell you, journeys across the map is what this game is all about. Oh, what’s that? My quest is to go to this town and talk to this person, who tells me to go pick berries in some forest or to go elsewhere to buy berries.. Of course I tried to pick the berries first, the forest and the town with the berry salesman were not adjacent on the map. “They must be imported berries” I thought to myself. The extensive amount of walking allows for many wild encounters with goblins and frogs and things. Battles that were once exciting, edge of your seat affairs now consist of two blows from my steel longsword, gathering the loot, burying the bones, and on my way. That being said, nothing happens quickly in this game. There is some sort of social aspect I do not fully grasp. I had an encounter with another player and attempted to trade with them and instead gave them all of my arrows. They said I could add them as a friend. I suppose it is the subconscious knowledge that I will probably not pursue this game beyond this assignment that prevents me from having any interest in exploring the social functionality. It took enough effort just to get leveled up so I could freely walk around the map without being attacked by thieves. I returned with my quest completed, or so I thought.. The party that had entrusted the task to me had changed their mind and wanted me to perform the quest again with a slightly different parameter. I took two steps out of the building, looked around, adjusted the cameras so that me and my tiny RS avatar were looking at each other. I opened the menu and clicked the corresponding icon to make him shrug and then I exited the app.
Will I delete the game from my phone? Probably not. I did invest a lot of time in getting to the place where I am at. I will probably use it in much the same way that I use Pokemon Go, playing on long bus rides or binge playing for a few days with weeks long gaps in between. When this game was new and on the PC platform, I could see how people would spend hours each day playing and socializing. Therefore I understand the nostalgia of going back and playing again and the novelty of bringing the game to a mobile platform. Old School Rune Scape, for a time, also fulfilled my perpetual yearning to play DnD style games, and it was refreshing to play a mobile game that didn’t follow the cookie cutter played out Age of Empires mobile game format.
On the Fun-o-meter I give it a 7 of 10.
On the Function-o-meter I give it a 10 of 10.
It’s a 10 of 10 on the Playability Scale.. You’ll be playing this for a LONG time.
An average of 9 on the Mobile Download Evaluation.