Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Other Egypt

When people think of Egypt, they usually picture pyramids and pharaohs, right? But with the last couple of week's worth of newsworthy happenings from modern Egypt, people are thinking more about rebellion and the ousting of a leader.

When I think of Egypt, I first think about a game I've played off and on for several years called A Tale in the Desert (for more info: It's an online game that falls in the 'massive multiplayer' category, though there are roughly 1000 to 1200 playing now (well, maybe a bit less, the most current tale is smaller than usual) rather than hundreds of thousands. There's no killing, but there is definitely conflict. There are pyramids, there's a pharaoh, there are rebellions, several degrees of conflict, and yes, every once in a while, a leader (of sorts) is ousted.

I love this game for so many reasons. You start out with very little and knowing how to do little more than shape mud into bricks. As you learn more and acquire skills, you can do more things, take on more tests, and advance within the game. Tests range from scavenger hunts to being elected into power (power = being able to ban other players), building huge obelisks and creating puzzles for others to play.

Every 'tale' (tales last about 18 months to 2 years, at the end of each tale all is wiped clean and a new tale begins) has its drama. This one is no different, and to coincide with the 'real' Egypt's disquiet, the virtual Egypt had some bannings, public lynching (of sorts), and lots of nasty words. The irony made me giggle, as well as appreciate that the Egypt I frequent was virtual (and by choice). Overall, the game is a kick in the pants, and I've met some really wonderful people while playing. No other MMORPG I've played has the sense of community nailed the way A Tale in the Desert does... I've written a couple of forum articles about this game in the past, as I strongly believe other games could really take a few lessons from this little known game.

If you're ever tempted to log in and give it a shot, do say hello... I go by Ketta.

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