April 01, 2015

Runes of the Past

How Runescape Paved the Way for 2Q

In todays world, there are few methods of entertainment that children find interesting that do not require electricity. Gone are the days of playing in the streets until the street lights beckoned the youngsters home for dinner. Kids today live in a world of constant video stimulation and a lot of the content they view is passive, meaning that they have no part to play in the absorption of information; They are not effectively doing anything when they watch television, for example. This is part of the reason video games are so enticing to young people. They can interact with a virtual world and have adventures simply by turning on a game system. More than that, kids can connect and play with their friends wirelessly.

The Rise of Runescape
This was not always so, however. The trend of online gaming started with two brothers and a dream of a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) which became known as Runescape. Andrew and Paul Gower began development of the game in the style of a Text-based Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) game. This original Runescape did not look anything like the MMORPG games that are known today, as it was simply text on a screen. However, after a year of testing, the Gower brothers formed Jagex, a company dedicated to handling the business side of the game's development. Among the accomplishments of Jagex was the development of RuneScript, a domain-specific scripting language that is used for event handling.

In 2002, a year after the original games release, a monthly membership option was introduced, allowing players to access new items, quests and characters if they so chose. With Runescape rising in popularity, Jagex put into motion plans for some major changes to the game with the most drastic being rewriting the game engine to support fully 3D graphics and released the revamped game in 2004 as Runescape 2, allowing users to keep their profile from the previous version, which was repackaged as Runescape Classic.

With MMORPG being such a popular game style, Runescape has retained its spot at the top of the mountain as the largest free MMORPG in the world as well as the most-updated game. It has even been made an official record holder in the Guinness Book of World Records1.

Runescape continues to enjoy widespread popularity, as it is a free browser-based game with no need for any type of commitment other than the time one chooses to spend playing. The allure is great to those who have played long-term due to the transferability of their characters and progress in-game. Also, since the game has no linear story, but instead allows players to go on quests at will in any order, every game experience will be unique. It is less mainstream than it was in the early 2000's, however, as it became widely played during the heyday of trading card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon. The world of MMORPG games was forever established as a superpower of the gaming world with this project ambitiously dreamed up by two brothers.

Revolution? How?
There is something to be learned from the exploits of the Gower brothers. They had a vision and they worked at it for years until it came to fruition. Such is the case with 2Q. This brainchild of T and K has become a long-standing commitment of theirs and a testament to their tenacity. Their vision will evolve much as Runescape did, with a beta test of the game being released to a chosen 144,000. While Runescape went through several iterations and therefore had a few account transferral problems, 2Q will feature a lifetime membership. One account for life, with a one-time fee. With so many games charging a monthly fee that borders on ridiculous, 2Q will become very attractive to the pocketbook, while the game's story will stimulate the mind.

How Do I Fit In?
My involvement in 2Q intrigues me because I was raised by Christian and Catholic families. I have since decided that I do not consider myself either, but I certainly know of some of the stories of the faith and was raised with morals exemplified by The Bible. 2Q tells a well-known story from a slightly altered perspective, questioning the stories we all know and dissecting them, breaking the story of Jesus into more malleable components. It will make people think and that will draw the attention of people like me; The attention of skeptics is a hot commodity in the world of religious interpretation and open-mindedness. Religion is a very hot-button topic for some and will always warrant discussion. What 2Q aims to accomplish is to challenge people to ask themselves questions and analyze the things they think they know. Curious people will be the lifeblood of this game and it will provide an excellent avenue into expanding ones mind.

Where Will 2Q Take Me?
The use of gaming to educate and indeed facilitate open-mindedness is a brilliant marketing decision and is something that will reach a great many people. Being browser-based, the game is immediately accessible and can be played from any computer, making it a fantastic way to spend some downtime. Aside from that, 2Q offers an opportunity for some insight into the central story of a faith that has been vilified and maligned over the years. With so many negative connotations surrounding Christianity and it's many branches and forms, 2Q will facilitate a re-education on the story of Christ from a more human standpoint that will feel more relatable and entirely immersive to the player.

The journey has not been easy for T and K who have spent over seven years planning, conceptualizing and refining their vision. The Agents they have met along the way have done their best to ensure that the final product is sharp, powerful and most of all, moving. Coupling the planning and vision of T and the artistic and technological know-how of K, the project known as 2Q is a labour of love that is poised to take on all open minds and above all, expand the consciousness of others.

1 For more information, visit the Guinness page for Runescape

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