(or When too much of a good thing can be a bad thing)
29 September 2002
Something has been bugging me for a while now and it has to do with the idea of the "Gaming Community". When I first started playing computer games, they were single player adventures (text-based games running off a mainframe). Then came PC games like Blake Stone and Wolfenstein 3D....but they were still single-player games. A little game called Doom changed all that. The wonderful world of multiplayer mayhem came alive. You could link up with other human beings and test your skills against something other than the weak computer AI of those early games. We didn't have a real network at work then, so we just used a serial cable for some head-to-head action. When we got our first network, we were blown away how addictive multiplayer gaming could be. However, it wasn't really until Quake debuted that the idea of team-based multiplayer gaming gained serious momentum...and then just exploded.
It was the classic game Quake that introduced me to the world of "clans" - teams of like-minded individuals working as a unit. When QuakeWorld came out, I settled with a group of friends that I still hang with today. From my experience, this team/clan "Golden Age" peaked with the LMCTF mod for Quake 2. At one point, we had 5 or 6 divisions in our clan - each with 10-12 players. We probably played together for at least 8 months as this massive army. Ah, those were the "good old days" ;-)
With the advent of Roger Wilco, I was finally able to put voices to those names. LAN parties gave you a chance to hangout (and talk trash) with them in person. In general, our team stuck together through Tribes and Unreal Tournament. But recently, some of that camaraderie has disappeared and it got me wondering why.
For us, we started slowly losing people after the LMCTF days, but the real splintering of our clan began in earnest with Tribes 2. After being totally hooked on the team dynamics of Tribes 1, we were expecting major things with Tribes 2...and were greatly disappointed. People started looking elsewhere for a good time.