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I'll never, ever forget the day my mate had a nosebleed because of RuneScape.
The year was 2007, or thereabouts. Year 8 English class on a rainy Wednesday evening. My friends and I, like so many kids around the world, were obsessed with Jagex's MMORPG. I'm sure most of us were initially drawn to it because it was free, in the same way that games like Fortnite and Call Of Duty: Warzone pulled such huge crowds. But like those battle royales, we stayed with RuneScape in the end because we loved it.
A combination of a crappy PC at home, crappy internet, and the fact I had to share computer time in the evening with two sisters meant that I didn't get to spend as much time exploring Gielinor with my friends as I would have liked... but I lived for those moments when I was able to log in and hang out with friends.
They were much further along than me most of time, but that didn't really matter. Spending our nights cutting around questing and getting into scrapes was essential, because 99% of the conversation at school the next day would be dedicated by what had happened the night before in RuneScape. It didn't really bother us that the game itself, at least back then, was pretty clunky and seriously grindy. More than anything, it was a way for us to hang out and have fun.
Which brings me back to that fateful English class. A friend was getting absolutely rinsed because the RuneScape girlfriend he insisted he'd met that weekend hadn't shown up the night before like he'd promised. The conversation quickly moved, as it always did, to whoever was doing the best. Who had the most gold, the highest woodcutting, that kind of thing. It was pathetic, yes, but if you played RuneScape in 2007 and didn't flex about your 99 fishing then did you even play the game?
One of the kids in class, someone we didn't really speak to much, leaned across from his desk and casually mentioned he had a special account full of abby (abyssal) whips, and that because he'd "completed" RuneScape, he didn't need them anymore. We were pretty quick to call bullshit on this, but he doubled down on the lie. Insisted. He tore a small piece of paper from his English book and scribbled down the details of the alleged account before slipping it to my best friend - the one who had spent the most time in RuneScape and took the game the most seriously.
For the rest of the day at school in the lead-up until home-time, my mate got more and more excited by the idea of a free account full of abby whips. He started to genuinely convince himself it was the real deal, and told us all day about his plan to log in, transfer them to his own account, and sell them on for massive profit. I might even have been a little jealous in the end. But then we got to his (I lived just around the corner), and it all went wrong.
With shaking hands he booted up the computer in the corner of his parents' living room. He entered the account details provided to us by the kid in our English class. He was in! The account was real! He opened the inventory, expecting to see row after row of rare and valuable weaponry. It was completely empty.
Even though we'd been expecting this, I could sense the rage bubbling under the surface of the friend sat next to me as his eyes scanned and re-scanned the bare inventory, as if expecting to find some secret clue that he'd missed. Then a message. A message from the kind in our class, sent directly to the account he'd given us. It read simply: "You silly tw*t".
And that was the moment I learned it was possible to get so angry that your nose bled, as my friend's anger erupted in the form of a spray of scarlet from his face. I went straight home and relayed this story to everyone, obviously.
The piss-taking in class the next morning was merciless, but even my friend was able to see the funny side of it... after lobbing a ruler right at the back at the head of the joker who'd given him the joke account, obviously. They became a pretty integral part of our group not long after that. It's nearly 20 years later and we still bring it up at the pub whenever we start reminiscing about RuneScape and the good times we had.
RuneScape has changed a lot over the years. In some ways for the better, in some ways... not so good. I've jumped in and out again a few times since our Year 8 heyday, but have never been as invested in it as I was with my friends at 13. But that's okay. The game is still going from strength to strength, and still finding new ways to surprise, entertain, and delight players.
For me and my friends, 2007 was peak RuneScape. For others it might be 2001, 2010, or even right now, this very minute. As far as I'm concerned, though, RuneScape was only ever as good as the friends you played with. Like Among Us, Super Smash Bros. Melee, or any of the best multiplayer games, the moments that stay with you the longest are the ones that come from the kind of dumbass gameplay and chat you can only have with your friends, whether you met them in-game or were playing with those you already knew.
For that reason alone, I can say with confidence that RuneScape will always be one of the funniest games I've ever played in my life, and I can't thank Jagex enough for those memories.
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