Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Island of Kesmai

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Developer(s)  Kesmai
Genre(s)  Fantasy MUD
Publishers  AOL, GameStorm
Release  1985
Mode  Multiplayer video game
Island of Kesmai The Game Archaeologist discovers the Island of Kesmai
Similar  GameStorm games, MUD games

Island of Kesmai was an early commercial online game in the MUD genre, innovative in its use of roguelike pseudo-graphics. It is considered a major forerunner of modern MMORPGs.


Island of Kesmai The Game Archaeologist discovers the Island of Kesmai

Launch date

Island of Kesmai The Game Archaeologist discovers the Island of Kesmai

In the summer of 1980 University of Virginia classmates John Taylor and Kelton Flinn wrote Dungeons of Kesmai, a six player game inspired by Dungeons & Dragons which used Roguelike ASCII graphics. They founded the Kesmai company in 1982 and in 1985 an enhanced version of Dungeons of Kesmai, Island of Kesmai, was launched on CompuServe. Later, its 2-D graphical descendant Legends of Kesmai was launched on AOL in 1996. The games were retired commercially in 2000.

Price to play

Island of Kesmai httpsiytimgcomvigZgEtoOBr0khqdefaultjpg

The game was available on CompuServe for no additional charge. However, CompuServe cost $6 per hour for 300 baud or $12 per hour for 1200 baud access rates. The game processed one command every 10 seconds, which equates to 123 cents per command.

Game characteristics

Island of Kesmai FileMap of Kesmaipng Lands of Kes Wiki

After logging into Compuserve and selecting to play Island of Kesmai, the user was allowed to create a character. After creating a character, the next step was to enter the chat room. From the chat room, the user could enter the virtual world.

Island of Kesmai Legends of Kesmai YouTube

The game interface was two dimensional and scrolled unless you downloaded and installed a GUI. The interface has often been called roguelike in that it borrowed features of game-play from a game called Rogue. The game used a Dungeons and Dragons-like turn-based play. Players moved in tiles on a grid utilizing short commands or key presses. Items could be found on the floor of the dungeon as symbols — as could mobs to fight.

Island of Kesmai Legends of Kesmai Serpent Hunt YouTube

One of the notable game play systems was the ability to perform quests for various rewards. These choreographed progressions represented some of the first online questing systems which would become a significant aspect of the wildly popular future MMORPGs such as EverQuest and World of Warcraft.

Legends of Kesmai

Legends of Kesmai (LOK) was among the first successful graphical multi-player online role-playing games. It was based on a slightly stripped down version of Island of Kesmai with 2D sprites replacing IoK's roguelike pseudo-graphics, and was available for play at America Online and GameStorm. Prior to that, Kesmai corporation ran a long open beta for the game, as well as hosting the game for a short period of time in the mid 90's. In 1999 Electronic Arts bought Kesmai and in 2000 closed the business.


Island of Kesmai Wikipedia

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