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Tycho / on Fri, May 7 2004 at 4:30 am

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Baby Versus Rhino

I don’t even need to ask if most of you field calls at all hours of the day or night from family members perplexed that their desktop is “gone.”  I assume it.

I’ve got a LAN this weekend at the venerable Ministry of Peace, and between that and E3 it it feels like bees are setting up shop in my lungs.  Perhaps for you, intense enthusiasm takes some other form.  For me, it’s bees.

Not too long ago, I attended a LAN that was fairly small but still plenty of fun.  That’s the way of LANs, when you plug machines into each other there is just a default level of fun that is created and that level tends to be fairly high.  But since everyone there pretty much gets along great, there was an element that was missing - furious anger.  I want the best for my friends, I good things to happen to them over the course of a day and I want to rejoice with them in triumph.  So if we’re playing Jailbreak and all of our guys are imprisoned, I take a full accounting of my life and can usually find some offense for which I could rightly be incarcerated.

MOP LAN parties are, in terms of barely contained rage, like a clandestine cockfight in some barn an hour outside of town.  The first time we attended one, we were forced to set up shop upstairs because the basement was full - this is already sounding like a parable.  We were outside of the continuum that composed the bulk of the party, and the signals our species produces to establish familiarity were attenuated.  The fact that we were physically situated above them, as though on a throne, as though on a gleaming starship over a wasted world was not lost on us.  The things that occur in their filthy warrens do not warrant consideration.  Indeed, those that dwell in such dark places to not merit membership in our club, a club whose only pre-requisite is humanity.

What I’m trying to tell you is that these Goddamn events are powder kegs.  We’ve switched from the longtime staple, Soldier of Fortune 2, which I think we’ve played for twelve days total now.  Unbelievably fun, if you haven’t given it a shot somebody should put that on tap at the next LAN.  Grab all the patches, and have the admin install Orange Smoothie to keep the peace.  Anyway, we’re moving over to UT2k4 for this one, CTF and Onslaught, which I already know is an absolute treat anytime bandwidth is not a consideration.  I’ll go into E3 on Monday before we fly down to the event itself, a few readers wanted me to cover something first: 

Now that one can obtain Tribes 2 for free, it was suggested that we should again throw our support behind Team Aerial Combat 2 - this is something we have no problem doing.  We played nothing but TAC2 eventually.  Probably its most striking feature is that you die instantly if you touch the ground, so your vehicles are not only transportation and weaponry, they’re life support.  You can (of course) walk freely on bases, bridges, any object is safe.  But when your team has left you swinging in the wind at some remote outpost, the isolation is a real thing you can feel with your entire body.  The game also has a robust assortment of original maps that will test your resolve, in addition to a really unique gametype called Retrieval.  In Retrieval, each team sends scouts out into the map to find the Artifact, which is placed at random.  Once visually acquired and marked with a beacon, one player drives out a Jericho to obtain it and bring it back while under heavy assault from enemy vehicles.  There are many reasons to like it, but in particular I like the naval feeling of the air combat as well as the fact that the huge transports have been toughened up and see heavy use over the course of actual games.  In base Tribes 2, those things were essentially futuristic pinatas. 

(CW)TB out.

life on other planets is difficult

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