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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


to think that you've lost your cool

metal gear solid 4 is the top reason i picked up a PS3... which has been heavily delayed and is now slated for a june 12 release. with MGS4 they're including a totally separate, full-blown multiplayer game called metal gear online.

i played about ten minutes of MGS:portable ops' online multiplayer and found myself instantly overwhelmed by the more skilled veterans. i never went back.

an invite to MGO's closed beta was included with a preorder... the beta was supposed to start april 21 and has also been delayed due to server failures and, we assume, konami underestimating exactly how much bandwidth they'd need to make this thing work.

so the beta went live today and over lunch i set up my character, went through the training, and played a four-round match and - shockingly - came in first overall, something that's only happened to me probably a dozen times in fifteen years of online gaming. mostly because i haven't ever had the desire to put in the practice required, with one exception: the original quake.

in high school, i had doom and descent, but "online multiplayer" - i.e. groups of two or more playing over an internetworked WAN - didn't exist so much. the best you could hope for was peer-to-peer over dialup, and there were only a handful of folks at northwest with the savvy, willingness, phone line and a fast-enough modem to make it work.

but during the end of high school and the first year of college, i sunk hundreds of hours into quake. the game itself was a turning point in online multiplayer - one of the first FPS' with a client/server network model (one person starts a quake server and clients connect/disconnect at will). before quake, groups of players had to simultaneously start a networked game, and they had to be on a local network. quake was the first to support TCP/IP, too, which meant it would work over the public internet. servers sprang up everywhere - at onenet we had quake.one.net, a fairly popular server that i would hang out on regularly - mainly because i was already on their network, so the ping to the server was low (meaning a fast connection).

throughout the rest of college, i had other things to occupy my time and couldn't really devote energy to mastering the online games that gained popularity after quake - namely quake 2, half-life, and teamfortress classic (although i did have a brief stint with counterstrike). shortly after i wandered away from PC gaming completely for halo and missed tribes, battlefield, medal of honor and call of duty completely.

it was even less of a draw after getting married (other multiplayer experiences took precedence). i played call of duty 4 enough to level up to 22 or so, but the only time i could fire it up was later at night, and the sounds of gunfire and soldiers' shouts don't make for a pleasant, peaceful house for our family.

initially i wanted to talk about how great MGO is, even in beta - plays smoothly, no skipping or lag, gorgeous graphics and immersive audio, the much-heralded MGS4 improved control system is great... but i know as much as part of me wants to invest in becoming great, i feel - what is it? the weight of real life and priorities. the knowledge of its importance in the grand scheme and how it's not worth the time is a buzzkill, to be sure, but that doesn't make it wrong. i certainly hope MGO turns out to be a game that the moderately-skilled can still play online and enjoy (much like burnout: paradise is, and halo 3 is not).


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Blogger Bragg Says:

I think that's one of the biggest reasons I don't get into gaming. I mean, if it's made available to me I'll play, but I'm not capable of justifying the costs of becoming a gamer.

I guess things would have been very different if we had the faster dial-up connections, let alone more than a C-64 until I was deep in high school...


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