It's been called one of "the internet's forgotten games
," and yet there are those who will never forget the impact that The Realm Online
had in their gaming lives. For some gamers in the mid-'90s, it was the very first taste of a graphical MMO. Though it was little more than two-dimensional cartoon graphics added to the then-standard MUD setup, The Realm Online
nevertheless helped to forge a path to the brave new world of MMOs.
, as it was originally called, was a project of Sierra On-Line
. Development on the title began in late 1995, with a 1996 beta and launch
following soon after. As with other early graphical MMOs, Sierra had little experience or comparisons to draw from while making The Realm
but somehow made it work anyway. The resulting game featured a strong emphasis on roleplay, trade, and turn-based combat, although a robust questing experience this was not.
Sierra On-Line never fully got behind The Realm
, eventually selling it off to Codemasters
in the early 2000s, which then turned around and handed off the title to its current operator, Norseman Games
. To date, it's one of the longest continuously operating graphical MMOs in existence and can still be enjoyed by today's gamers.
We reached out to one of the lead developers on The Realm Online
, Stephen Nichols
, who agreed to an interview on the condition that we give him a very big horn in a tent. Just kidding; the horn is from his private stock. Let's get to it!