Every time a player pulls this sword from the stone, it gets heavier

A sword that you can pull out to be crowned king
(Image credit: Majorariatto)

Here's a simple yet intriguing concept for a game. There's a sword in a stone. Pull the sword out of the stone and you are crowned king. The sword is then returned to the stone, and the next player to pull it out is crowned king. Easy.

But there's a cruel twist in this free game on Steam, which is called in full: "The one who pulls out the sword will be crowned king." Each time a player pulls the sword out and is crowned king, it becomes slightly more difficult for the next player to pull the sword out. With each successful pull, the sword gets longer and heavier. The game launched yesterday, and this morning I tried to pull the sword out (you click and drag… and drag, and drag, and drag). After a full minute of pulling, I'd managed to raise the sword only about a centimeter.

The difficulty level at that point was listed at around 5,800, and there were already more than 100 past kings. While I was pulling, two new people became kings, but I gave up long before I could myself be crowned. It felt like it would have taken all day.

Since then, things have only gotten harder for aspiring kings. Currently, the difficulty level is listed at 10,000, which appears to be the max. But players are still doggedly pulling on that sword. Just sitting at the menu screen, I saw someone new being crowned king. If no one pulls out the sword after a while, the difficulty will slowly drop back down, but as soon as someone is crowned king the sword will start getting heavier and longer again.

If you don't want competition, you can also play in offline mode, where the weight and length of the sword is fixed but it's still pretty darn difficult to pull out. Basically you have to click and hold and move your mouse straight up, and up and up, and once you can't move your mouse up any further you have to reposition it back at the bottom of your mousepad without letting the cursor leave the sword—or it immediately and heartbreakingly drops back into the stone.

Above is my latest attempt in offline mode. I don't think I have the willpower or fingerpower to be king, even an offline king. How about you?

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.